Ayurveda Aur Hum

Ayurveda Aur Hum

Tridoshas – The Three Body Humors

Ayurveda recognizes three basic types of energy, or functional principles that are present in everyone and everything. These are vata, pitta and kapha. These principles can be related to the basic biology and physiology of the human body concerning energy and the five basic elements of life.[i]

Importance of Energy to living beings

Energy is important as it creates movement, enabling fluids and nutrients to reach the body cells in order to function effectively. Energy is also required to digest the nutrients in the cells, to lubricate and maintain the structural integrity of the cell.

  • Vata is the energy of movement
  • Pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism and all the chemical transformations that occur in the body
  • Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structural integrity of the body.

All people have a combination of qualities of all three doshas, but usually one dosha is dominant or primary, one is secondary and the third is usually less prominent. The cause of disease in Indian Ayurveda is perceived as a lack of proper cell function due to an excess or imbalance of vata, pitta or kapha dosha.1

Tridoshas & human body

The five basic elements of life i.e. Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, are present in the human body as the three basic humors, known as the tridoshas – vata, pitta & kapha. Vata dosha is derived from the elements of Space and Air. Pitta dosha is derived from the elements of Fire and Water. And finally kapha dosha is derived from the elements of the Earth and Water.[ii]

These tridosha are responsible for the physical and mental growth and development of natural urges and the individual choices in foods, their flavours, temperatures, tastes etc. They govern the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue and elimination of waste products from the body. These are also responsible for emotional urges, such as fear, anger and greed along with the higher order of human emotions such as love, compassion and understanding. Thus, the tridosha are the foundation of the mind and body balanced existence of man.2

Vata dosha: Energy associated with movements in the body

Vata dosha governs breathing, blinking, tissue and muscle movement, heartbeat, transmission of nerve impulses and all movements inside the cell and cell walls. When balanced, vata promotes creativity and flexibility. When imbalanced, vata produces fear and anxiety. The large intestine, pelvic cavity (area between your upper legs and lower abdomen), bones, skin, ears and thighs are the sites of vata. If the body develops an excess of vata, it accumulates in these areas.1,2

Pitta dosha: associated with body’s metabolism (chemical processes in the body)

Pitta dosha governs digestion, absorption, nutrition, assimilation and metabolism of body temperature and all other chemical transformations in the body. When balanced, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. When imbalanced, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy. The small intestine, stomach, blood, fat, eyes, sweat glands and skin are the sites of pitta.1,2

Kapha dosha: associated with the formation of body’s structure

Kapha dosha builds the bones, muscles, tendons and also provides the “glue” or cohesive force that holds the body cells together. Kapha supplies the water to all the systems and parts of the body. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin and regulates immunity. When balanced, kapha expresses itself as love, calmness and forgiveness. When imbalanced, it leads to attachment, greed and envy. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, nose, mouth. stomach, joints, cell and liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. The chest is primarily the site of kapha.1,2

A balance among the tridosha is necessary for health. Any kind of imbalance in the tridoshas can trigger emotions like fear, anger, anxiety and affect the body’s natural immune system, giving rise to diseases.2


  1. Lad V. Ayurveda, A Brief Introduction and Guide. Institute TA, editor. Albuquerque. 2003.
  2. Lad V. Ayurveda: The science of self-healing: A practical guide. Lotus press; 1984.
  3. Title: The Holistic Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine . Author(s): R.H. Singh. ISBN: 8170841326