Deeper Into The Doshas

Deeper Into The Doshas

According to the Ayurvedic philosophy by V. D Lad, the universal life force manifests as three different energies, or doshas, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We’re all made up of a unique combination of these three forces. Though everyone has some of each, most people tend to have an abundance of one or two of the doshas. This unique combination is determined at the moment of conception and is your own personal blueprint, or Prakriti (nature). As you move through life, the proportion of each of the three doshas constantly fluctuates according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. As they move into and out of balance, the doshas can affect your health, energy level, and general mood.

The Five Elements:Building Blocks of Nature
The concept of the five elements is one of the most fundamental in Ayurvedic science. These five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) exist in all matter, both organic and inorganic. As man is a microcosm of nature, the five elements also exist within each individual. Our psychological tendencies, as well as our five senses and the various aspects of our body’s functioning, are all directly related to the five elements.
According to Ayurveda, the five elements manifest sequentially, beginning with space, from the pure, unified, un manifested cosmic consciousness that is the source of all.

Sometimes referred to as “ether,” space is empty, light, subtle, all-pervading, omnipresent, and all-enclosing. It is universal, non-moving, and formless. We need space in order to live, move, grow, and communicate. Space in the body includes the mouth, nose, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, abdomen, and thorax. Psychologically, space gives freedom, peace, and expansion of consciousness and is responsible for love and compassion as well as feelings of separation, isolation, emptiness, insecurity, anxiety, and fear.

Air is dry, light, clear, and mobile. The principle of movement, air expresses itself in the movements of the muscles, the pulsations of the heart, the expansion and contraction of the lungs. Sensory and neural impulses move to and from the brain under the influence of the air principle, which is also responsible for breathing, ingestion, the movement of the intestines, and elimination. The flow of thought, desire, and will are governed by the air principle, which gives us happiness, freshness, joy, and excitement. It is, along with space, also responsible for fear, anxiety,
insecurity, and nervousness.


Fire is hot, dry, sharp, penetrating, and luminous. When the air begins to move,  it produces friction, which generates heat or fire.  In our solar system, the sun is the source of fire and light. In the body, our biological “fire” in the solar plexus regulates body temperature and metabolism: digestion, absorption, and assimilation. Fire is associated with light and with vision. Fire is intelligence. It is necessary for transformation,  attention,  comprehension, appreciation, recognition, and understanding. Fire is also responsible for anger, hatred, envy, criticism, ambition, and competitiveness.


Water is fluid, heavy, soft, viscous, cold, dense, and cohesive. Water is associated with the sense of taste; without moisture, the tongue cannot taste anything. Water exists in the body as plasma, cytoplasm, serum, saliva, nasal secretion, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and sweat. It is necessary for nutrition and to maintain life; without it, our cells could not survive. Water is contentment,  love, and compassion. It creates thirst, edema, and obesity.


Earth is heavy, hard, rough, firm, dense,  slow-moving,  and bulky—the most solid of the five elements. It is neither hot nor cold. It gives strength, structure, and stamina to the body. All the body’s solid structures (bones, cartilage, nails, teeth, hair, skin) are derived from the earth element. Earth is associated with the sense of smell. It promotes forgiveness, support, growth. It also creates attachment, greed, and depression.

Therefore, both in our outer environment and within us, the proportion and balance of these elements are forever shifting, changing with the seasons, the weather, the time of day, and the stage of one’s life. For health, and often for sheer survival, we have to continuously accommodate ourselves to these changes, through what we eat, what we wear, where we live, and so on. This is a balancing act,  playing elements against each other.  We use solid earth to build homes, to protect ourselves against changes in the air, heat (fire), and water. We use fire to prepare food (made of water and earth).