Ketav's Ayush Panchkarma India

The Body Constitution

Every living and non living entity in this universe is composed of five basic components called panchmahabutas. These are Ether (sky), Air, Water, Fire and Earth. In living individuals they combine in various permutations and combinations to form Tri Doshas which form the structural and functional units of life. The human body is also composed of these three Doshas– Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When they stay in a state of balance in the human body, a condition of normal health prevails. On the other hand if the state of balance is disturbed quantitatively as well as qualitatively, the result is a manifestation of disease.

The quality and quantity of Doshas in a human body is decided at the time of fertilization and is individual specific and is called the Prakriti or Body type of that individual.

VATA

The word Vata in Sanskrit means Air. Lightness, movement, dryness, coldness are the qualities of air and similar are the qualities of vata. Vata is responsible for all the movements involved in the body; whether it is the movement of the limbs, beating of the heart or transmission of nerve impulse.

The vata principle in the body can be compared with the entire Nervous system, movement of the limbs in locomotor’s system, beating of heart and circulation of blood and lymph in cardiovascular system, movement of food in alimentary canal in the digestive system, movement of air in respiratory system, production of voice and movement of menstrual blood and fetus thru the uterine cavity, urine thru the renal passage and the peristalsis of intestine to evacuate bowels.

Vata dosha is also responsible for mental functions like intuition, imagination, resilience, sensitivity, spontaneity, indecisiveness and emotions like exhilaration, fear, insecurity and doubt. In lay terms, Vata represents the biological principles of air and space.

PITTA

The word Pitta in Sanskrit stands for fire which has the following? properties — Hot, light, movement,? moist, sharp and penetration. Pitta has similar qualities and is responsible for digestion, absorption, assimilation, metabolism, immunity, visual perception, aura over skin, temperature regulation and intelligence.

Pitta dosha is responsible for mental functions like intelligence, confidence, enterprise, organization, and emotions like joy, excitement, courage, anger, jealousy, and hatred. Pitta may be described as the biological principle of fire and water.

KAPHA

The word Kapha in Sanskrit stands for water and is the characterized with the property of moistness, oiliness,? heaviness, coldness and smoothness. Similarly Kapha in the body provides stability to the joints and bones by providing lubrication and strengthening the muscles. Kapha acts as a shock absorber for heart, lungs, brain and other vital organs. It also moistens the food in the stomach and prepares it for digestion.

?Kapha dosha is also responsible for mental functions like memory, tranquility, faith, forgiveness, devotion, and emotions like love, affection, calmness, patience, sympathy, attachment, greed and lethargy. Those with predominant Kapha re more susceptible to weight gain.

Kapha is the biological principle of water and earth.

Of all the three governing factors, Vata is fundamentally the most important. It coordinates both Pitta and Kapha. Vata governs all the general physical processes. Imbalances in Vata are therefore more serious in nature. Kapha provides the material foundation and support for both Vata and Pitta.

LOCATIONS OF VATA, PITTA AND KAPHA

The structures and functions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are spread throughout the body, but, in general Kapha is more predominant in the area above the heart level. Important locations of Kapha are chest, throat, head, nose, sinuses, tongue, stomach, lymph and fat tissues. Within the digestive system, the primary location of Kapha is the stomach.

Pitta is generally more predominant in the area between the heart and the umbilicus. Important locations of Pitta are the small intestine, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, blood and organs of vision. Within the digestive system, the primary location of Pitta is the small intestine.

Vata is generally more predominant in the areas below the umbilicus level. Important locations of Vata are the colon, thighs, hips, bones, ears, and organs of touch. Within the digestive system, the primary location of Vata is the colon.

The predominance of a single or more dosha depicts the Prakriti or body type of an individual. At the time of conception the body type of parents, the time (hour of the day and season) and the qualities of semen and ovum decide the body type of an individual.

From the descriptions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha it is obvious that every person’s physiology and psychology is made up of these three governing factors or doshas. But the strength or the predominance of these is different in every individual. Some people have predominant Pitta or predominant Vata structures and functions with relatively less of Pitta and Kapha. These people are said to have a Vata body type or more precisely they have a Vata predominant psycho physiological constitution. They show physical, mental and emotional attributes which are characteristic of Vata. Similarly some people have predominant Pitta or predominant Kapha and relatively less of the other two governing factors. Accordingly they are said to have a Pitta or Kapha body type ore more precisely they have Pitta or Kapha predominant psycho physiological constitution. Correspondingly they show physical, mental, and emotional attributes which are characteristic of Pitta or Kapha. The words body type, constitution, “personality,” and the Sanskrit work Prakriti, are synonymous.

Traditionally their are seven different body-types in Ayurveda. The Dosha is determined at time of conception and does never change! Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha and Vata-Pitta-Kapha.

VATA

  • Is generally thin and doesn’t gain weight easily.

  • Is quick and active.

  • Has dry skin more so in winter.

  • Cold Hands and feet.

  • The energy fluctuates and comes in bursts.

  • Tends to have gas or constipation

  • Has usually difficulty falling asleep or having a sound night’s sleep.

  • Is uncomfortable in cold weather.

  • Is lively and enthusiastic.

  • Has difficulty memorizing things and remembering them later.

  • Not good at making decisions.

  • Is anxious or worrisome by nature.

  • Is talkative and talks quickly.

  • Is usually emotional and moods fluctuate easy.

  • The mind is restless, but very imaginative.

  • Has irregular eating and sleeping habits.

    Tips for balancing Vata

  • Emphasize a diet which is Vata-pacifying

  • Drink warming herb teas and warm fluids

  • Avoid alcohol and coffee

  • Rest adequately

  • Use sesame oil for a whole body massage in the morning

  • Take a warm bath or shower

  • Avoid over stimulation

  • Keep warm

  • Do calming exercise like walking, Tai Chi and Yoga

PITTA

  • Doesn’t tolerate hot weather well

  • Sweat easily

  • Can’t tolerate delaying or skipping a meal

  • Has fine, straight, light, blond, red graying early hair or balding

  • Has good appetite and likes big meals

  • Has regular bowel movements rather on the loose side.

  • Likes cold drinks and foods

  • Feels hot easily

  • Can’t tolerate spicy, hot foods easy

  • Is efficient, organized and accurate

  • Has strong will and tends to be stubborn

  • Is impatient by nature

  • Tends to become irritable or angry quite easily

  • Tries to be meticulous and to be a perfectionist

  • Is critical of self and others

Tips for balancing Pitta

  • Emphasize Pitt-pacifying diet

  • Eat whenever hungry

  • Eliminate aggravated Pitta by a gentle laxative treatment

  • Avoid exertion

  • Avoid overexposure to heat and sun

  • Stay in a cooling environment

  • Relax in natural surroundings

  • Do cooling exercises like swimming or walking in cooler weather

KAPHA

  • Can gain weight easily, loosing weight is difficult

  • Can skip meals easily

  • Tend to have congestion, mucus or sinus problems

  • Has a deep sleep

  • Has thick, oily, dark, or wavy hair

  • Has smooth and soft skin with pale complexion

  • Has a large body frame with a heavy bone structure

  • Has a slow digestion and feels full after eating

  • Has a steady energy level and strong stamina

  • Is sensitive to cool and damp weather

  • Tends to be slow, methodical and relaxed

  • Needs at least 10 hrs sleep

  • Is calm and composed by nature

  • Learns slower with good memory

  • Works slow and consistent

  • Does not like responsibility

Tips for balancing Kapha

  • Emphasize a diet which is Kapha-pacifying

  • Reduce sugars and sweets

  • Drink warming fluids

  • Keep warm

  • Avoid cold and damp

  • Stimulate with a full body dry massage

  • Accept motivating challenges

  • Do vigorous exercises like aerobic, tennis, Ashtanga Yoga etc. regular

The Mental Constitution

The state of the mind is a very important aspect of a person. The ‘rishis’ (sages) understood that everything in this world has got three principal modes. The tendency to act, rest and balance is within all living entities.? Rajas, Tamas and Satva (together known as the tri-gunas) are the three modes of the universe inherent in every particle, without which we can’t exist. Generally these three modes are applied to understanding the mind, since the mind is the more subtle aspect of our body.

The three modes are not permanent. They? are changeable according to our association and action. One can change the modes of mind through constant practice. We can evolve from rajas or tamas to satwa, the balance and harmony, through acute self awareness, humility and diligence. A well balanced male should have 70% satva, 20% rajas and 10% tamas. A well balanced female should have 70% satva, 10% rajas and 20% tamas. While a true guru would be 100% satvic.

To determine your current predominant mental state look at the following:

Concentration

Memory

Will power

Honesty

Peace of mind

Creativity

Spiritual study

Mantra/Prayer

Meditation

Selfless service

Relationships

Anger

Fear

Desire

Pride

Depression

Love

Violent Behaviour

Attachment

Forgiveness

Diet

Addictive behaviour

Sensory impression

Sleep requirement

Sexual activity

Control of senses

Speech

Cleanliness

Work

Very clear

Good

Good

Strong

Always

Generally

High

Daily

Daily

Daily

Often

Harmonious

Rarely

Rarely

Little

Modes

Never

Universal

Never

Detached

Forgive easily

Vegetarian

Never

Calm

Little

Controlled

Good

Peaceful

High

Selfless

Hyperactive

Moderate

Moderate

Variable

Mostly

Occasionally

Moderate

Occasionally

Occasionally

Occasionally

Occasionally

Passionate

sometimes

Sometimes

some

some ego

Sometimes

Personal

Sometimes

Occasionally

With effort

some meat

occasionally

mixed

moderate

intense

moderate

agitated

moderate

reward centered

Cloudy

Poor

Poor

Weak

Rarely

Rarely

Low

Never

Never

Never

Rarely

Disturbed

Frequently

Frequently

Uncontrollable

Vain

Frequently

Lacking in love

Frequently

Attached

grudges

frequent meat

frequently

disturbed

excessive

uncontrollable

low

dull

low

aimless

Satva

is characterized by balance and harmony. It is the state of harmony, indiscrimination, stability of mind, efficiency of handling matters without partiality and selfishness, emotional stability and detachment.

Satvic people tend to have an inherent instinct for cleanliness and possess an? effortless wisdom reflected in their action. they don’t tend to worry, be anxious or panic. They do things in a systematic, intelligent and peaceful way.

Satva is the peaceful, calm state of mind exemplified by the world’s saintly people. When satva declines we resort to rajas or tamas, depending upon the person’s activities.

Rajas

is the inherent tendency to be active. This is essential to get things done. When in excess, Rajas results in hyperactivity, aggression, passion, severe attachment, agitation and regrettable actions. When unbalanced rajas is considered a disturbing influence on the mind.

Rajasic people tend to be power hungry and dissatisfied with what positions or possessions they obtain, they are constantly striving for more often? at the cost of those around them. They have a brave yet jealous and cruel character.

Tajas

presents as inertia. Rest or sleep is impossible without this quality. It provides grounding and stability. Its increase results in inertia, laziness, apathy, ignorance and depression. Excessive tamas is darkness.

Tamasic people tend to avoid work, with a penchant for uncontrolled sense of gratification and wasting time. They avoid cleanliness and are not health conscious.