In Aryuvedic medicine, treatments are based on an individual’s dosha. A dosha refers to the combined personality and body type of a person.
For example, people whose primary dosha is vata tend to be thinner, taller, and prone to getting cold easily; personality-wise they tend to be creative, changeable, and extroverted.
With only three main doshas, almost no one has the characteristics of only one dosha; most people have one dominant dosha with multiple characteristics of one or both of the other two doshas.
The dominant dosha is referred to as the “primary dosha” in Aryuveda.
The Three Doshas
The three doshas, in no particular order, are:
As already mentioned, people whose primary dosha is vata tend to be physically slim, psychologically creative, changeable, and extroverted.
Physical problems for vata people include constipation, dry or rough skin, brittle hair, and insomnia; psychological problems for vata people include excessive worrying, an inability to “slow down”, and a short attention span.
People whose primary dosha is pitta tend to be of medium build, fair-skinned, and prefer cooler environments. Psychological characteristics of pittas include ambition, intensity, self-confidence, and a sense of purpose.
Pittas are more likely to suffer from acne, heartburn, constant thirst, and problems associated with inflammation. Psychologically, pittas suffer from a short temper, impatience, and obsessiveness, leading pittas to overworking.
Kapha people tend to be large-framed or heavy, with a strong constitution, thick hair, with a tendency to have oily hair or skin. Personality traits include a certain calm, easy-going manner; kaphas are slow to anger and also slow to change.
Physically, kaphas suffer from easily gaining weight, respiratory problems associated with excessive mucous, and oversleeping. Psychologically, kaphas can suffer from a lack of motivation, an unwillingness to change, and a tendency to cling to comfortable situations or relationships.
Discovering Your Primary Dosha
You may already see yourself in one of the three primary doshas listed above.
However, if you’re still not sure what your primary dosha is, you can ask an Aryuvedic practitioner to help you determine your dominant dosha.
Alternatively, any good book on Aryuveda will include a few simple questions to help you determine your dosha.
By taking one of these dosha quizzes, you will probably discover that you are a combination of two main doshas – one dominant dosha, and one secondary dosha. For example, you might be Pitta-Vata, or a person whose primary dosha is pitta, with many characteristics of vata.
Understanding your primary dosha is a great way to look at your physical and psychological health from a new perspective.