As per Ayurveda, just like every matter of universe human body is also made up of five basic elements. (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether). These five elements combine in various ratios at the time of birth of an individual to form three physical energies (Vata-Pitta-Kapha) in the body. Combination of these three various bio-energies in one’s body decides PRAKRITI of an individual. The word ‘Prakriti’ means ‘nature’ and this reflects the natural state of human beings at an anatomical, physiological and psychological level. In Ayurveda, no two people are alike. Every person is born with a definite genetic constitution. Prakriti is established at the time of fusion of sperm and ovum. Prakriti remains same throughout the lifetime of an individual.
As mentioned above, Prakriti of an individual is nothing but mix of three life energies called as Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the body. The terms Vata, Pitta and Kapha or life energies are also popularly called as Three Doshas in Ayurveda terminology. However we will continue using word “life energies” rather than “doshas”. Each type of life energy (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) has different purpose and function in our body. Balance between these three life energies is necessary for healthy condition.
Vata means that which moves things. It is sometimes translated as wind. Vata energy comprises primarily of air with ether / space being a secondary element. It is the moving force behind the other two life energies (pitta and kapha) which are considered incapable of movement without it. It is responsible for all of the body’s activities and sensations. It is responsible for the movement of air in and out of the lungs, blood through the circulatory system, food through the digestive system, and thoughts through the mind. It promotes mental balance and comprehension in the body.
Pitta means that which digests things. It is primarily fire with water as a secondary element. It is responsible for all chemical and metabolic transformations in the body as well as for heat production. Pitta energy governs our ability to digest ideas and impressions and to perceive the nature of reality. It stimulates the intellect and kindles the capacity for enthusiasm.
Kapha means that which holds things together. It’s primary element is water with earth as a secondary element. It gives strength and stability, both physical and psychological. Kapha energy governs human emotions such as love, compassion, forgiveness, loyalty and patience. Kapha energy can bestow resistance against disease and can support the healing process.
Prakriti of person is formed at the time of formation of embryo itself. Prakriti of an individual remains same throughout the life of the person. There are seven basic constitutions or prakrities according to Ayurveda. These are:
1. Vata predominant prakriti,
2. Pitta dominant prakriti,
3. Kapha dominant prakriti,
4. Vata-Pitta dominant prakriti,
5. Pitta-Kapha dominant prakriti,
6. Kapha-Vata dominant prakriti.
7. Vata-Pitta-Kapha equal dominant prakriti.
A Vata body type will also have Pitta and Kapha doshas, but Vata is what governs the personality traits, characteristics, behavior, actions and even diseases for that particular individual since it’s his/her predominant Dosha. Likewise for other Prakritis or body types. Amongst the 3- Dosha(s), one Dosha will be always be dominant in our body , and this is what influences our choices, likes and dis-likes.
Prakriti of sperm
Prakriti of Ovum
Prakriti of uterine cavity
Diet of pregnant mother
Time/season of conception
Role of Panchmahabhuta (air, water, fire, earth, ether)
As per Ayurveda, if there is imbalance in Prakriti of an individual, it creates imbalance in body. As we read above that every human being has his own mix of these three life energies i.e Vata, Pitta and Kapha and depending on mix of these three life energies in an individual, his Prakriti is determined. This balance of Vata-Pitta-Kapha of the person at the time of his birth is the natural order. When this balance in life energy gets disturbed because of any reason (wring food habit or lifestyle etc), it creates imbalance in original Prakriti of the individual and this imbalance creates health issues.
Ayurveda tries to correct this imbalance to original Prakriti of that individual thereby restoring the body to state of health again. It’s important to know Prakriti of an individual as complete medication in Ayurveda is dependent on Prakriti of the person. Prakriti of an individual tells us about susceptibility of an individual to develop a particular disease in his lifetime. In Ayurveda medicine, one size prescription does not fit all. This means that Ayurvedic treatments are tailored to each person’s unique constitution or Prakriti. Knowledge of Prakriti is invaluable in the treatment of disease. The initial diagnosis of an Ayurvedic Physician lies in determining the Prakriti) of an individual. In sharp contrast, conventional medicine fumbles in the dark, often prescribing the same “magic bullet” for patients who exhibit similar symptoms. This hit and miss approach may on one hand work for some, on the other hand may cause no noticeable change in others, or thirdly, may make matters worse.
By observing the Prakriti, diagnosis of a particular disease becomes more simple, as it not only provides an idea about the vitiated Dosha or life energy but also provides the treatment principles for that person.
For the individual, basic knowledge of the Prakriti is a vital tool in helping one determine the most auspicious lifestyle factors that will ensure wellness and longevity – appropriate foods habits, herbs, exercise regimes, medicines, therapies and even suitable professions. The kind of food you want to eat , the type of movies you like to watch , all these things are pre-dominantly assigned by your elemental composition of dosha(s).