In Ayurveda terms, the word dosha refers to your state of balance. We are all comprised of the elements that naturally exist in our vast external universe. Space, air, fire, water, and earth, are also found in our internal make up. When these 5 elements are in balance, we experience optimal health. It is when they have accumulated or depleted that we experience a varying spectrum of symptoms. 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.
We need space in our lives to live, move, grow, and communicate. Psychologically space gives freedom, peace, and expansion of consciousness. We need air in our lives to breath, digest and eliminate. The flow of thought, desire, and will are governed by air which gives happiness, freshness, joy and excitement. Fire is radiant energy. It regulates temperature, metabolism, digestion and assimilation, which is necessary for transformation, attention, comprehension, and understanding. Water is essential fluid, heavy, soft and cohesive, and is associated with the sense of taste. Without moisture the tongue cannot taste anything, and without it our cells would not survive. Earth is heavy, dense and slow moving. It gives strength, structure and stamina to the body, as well as support, groundedness, and growth. It is essential to have a balanced amount of all the elements which have a tendency to change on a daily basis, depending on the surrounding environment, lifestyle choices, diet, emotions, and more.
These five great elements combine into three basic energies which are present in everything and everybody. Space and air constitute VATA. Fire and water combine to make PITTA. Water and earth combine to make KAPHA. Vata-pitta-kapha are present in every cell, tissue and organ, and when they are in balance, they create health. When they are out of balance they create disease. All people have all of these three doshas but one of them is usually primary, then secondary, and the third least prominent. Therefor each person has a particular pattern of energy, an individual combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics that make up his or her constitution.
Health is order. Disease is disorder. How you choose to live your life will affect the increase or decrease of the doshas. Disorder occurs when the doshas are not in harmony with one another. Wise daily decisions can quickly be made to reestablish order. The goal in Ayurveda is to maintain a healthy balance by tuning into the body, mind and spirit, on a daily basis, and respond accordingly.