You are on page 1of 34



Discover Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the oldest surviving complete medical system in the world. Derived from its ancient Sanskrit roots - ayus' (life) and ved' (knowledge) and offering a rich, comprehensive outlook to a healthy life, its origins go back nearly 5000 years. To when it was expounded and practiced by the same spiritual rishis, who laid the foundations of the Vedic civilisation in India, by organising the fundamentals of life into proper systems. The main source of knowledge in this field therefore remain the Vedas, the divine books of knowledge they propounded, and more specifically the fourth of the series, namely Atharvaveda that dates back to around 1000 BC. Of the few other treatises on Ayurveda that have survived from around the same time, the most famous are Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita which concentrate on internal medicine and surgery respectively. The Astanga Hridayam is a more concise compilation of earlier texts that was created about a thousand years ago. These between them forming a greater part of the knowledge base on Ayurveda as it is practiced today. The art of Ayurveda had spread around in the 6th century BC to Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea and Sri Lanka, carried over by the Buddhist monks travelling to those lands. Although not much of it survives in original form, its effects can be seen in the various new age concepts that have originated from there. No philosophy has had greater influence on Ayurveda than Sankhayas philosophy of creation and manifestation. Which professes that behind all creation there is a state of pure existence or awareness, which is beyond time and space, has no beginning or end, and no qualities. Within pure existence, there arises a desire to experience itself, which results in disequilibrium and causes the manifestation of the primordial physical energy. And the two unite to make the "dance of creation" come alive. Imponderable, indescribable and extremely subtle, this primordial energy which and all that flows

from it existing only in pure existence is the creative force of all action, a source of form that has qualities. Matter and energy are so closely related that when energy takes form, we tend to think of it in terms of matter only. And much modified, it ultimately leads to the manifestation of our familiar mental and physical worlds. It also gives rise to cosmic consciousness, which is the universal order that prevades all life. Individual intelligence, as distinct from the everyday intellectual mind, is derived from and is part of this consciousness. It is the inner wisdom, the part of individuality that remains unswayed by the demands of daily life, or by Ahamkara, the sense of `I-ness. A Sanskrit word with no exact translation, Ahamkara, is a concept not quite understood by everyone as it is often misleadingly equated to `ego. Embracing much more than just that, it is in essence that part of me which knows which parts of the universal creation are me. Since I am not separate from the universal consciousness, but I has an identity that differentiates and defines the boundaries of `me. All creations therefore have Ahamkara, not just human beings. There arises from Ahamkara a two-fold creation. The first is Satwa, the subjective world, which is able to perceive and manipulate matter. It comprises the subtle body (the mind), the capacity of the five sense organs to hear, feel, see, taste and smell, and for the five organs of action to speak, grasp, move, procreate and excrete. The mind and the subtle organs providing the bridge between the body, the Ahamkara and the inner wisdom, which three together is considered the essential nature of humans. The second is Tamas, the objective world of the five elements of sound, touch, vision, taste and smell the five subtle elements that give rise to the dense elements of ether or space, air, fire, water and the earth from which all matter of the physical world is derived. And it is Rajas, the force or the energy of movement, which brings together parts of these two worlds. Dense Element Subtle Sense Organ Motor Organ Function Element Space Sound Ears Vocal Chords Speaking Air Touch Skin Hands Grasping Fire Sight Eyes Feet Moving Water Taste Tongue Genitals Procreating Earth Smell Nose Anus Excreting It is worth noting that even at the stage of the dense elements the philosophy of creation which according to Sankaya is now and in the present, without any past and any future is still dealing with aspects of existence beyond our simple physical realms. The point of contention being that we are the first and foremost spirit experiencing existence. To use Ayurveda in daily life, one has neither to accept nor even understand this philosophy. But it does provide a deeper insight into how Ayurveda works towards betterment of your health.

Ayurveda thus offers a unique blend of science and philosophy that balances the physical, mental,

emotional and spiritual components necessary for holistic health.

Principles of Ayurveda Introduction

According to ayurvedic philosophy an individual bundle of `spirit, desirious of expressing itself, uses subjective consciousness or Satwa to manifest sense organs and a mind. Spirit and mind then project themselves into a physical body, created from the five (Pancha) great (maha) eternal elements (bhutas) together called the Panchamahabhutas which arise from Tamas. The sense organs then using Rajas to project from the body into the external world to experience their objects. The body becoming the minds vehicle, its physical instrument for sense gratification. The Bhutas combine into "tridoshas" or bioenergetic forces that govern and determine our health or physical condition. While the three gunas (Rajas or activity, Tamas or inertia and Satwa, which balances the first two) or psychic forces determine our mental and spiritual health. Ayurveda is thus a holistic system of health care that teaches us to balance these energies in order to achieve optimum health and well being.

The Panchamahabhutas
According to Ayurveda everything in life is composed of the Panchamahabhutas Akash (Space), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire) and Prithvi (Earth). Omnipresent, they are mixed in an infinite variety of relative proportions such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. Although each element has a range of attributes, only some get evident in particular situations. Constantly changing and interacting with each other, they create a situation of dynamic flux that keeps the world going. Within a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes regulating the cell. While the air element predominates the gases therein. The space occupied by the cell denoting the last of the elements. In the case of a complex, multi-cellular organism as a human being for instance, akash corresponds to spaces within the body (mouth, nostrils, abdomen etc.); vayu denotes the movement (essentially muscular); agni controls the functioning of enzymes (intelligence, digestive system, metabolism); jal is in all body fluids (as plasma, saliva, digestive juices); and prithvi manifests itself in the solid structure of the body (bones, teeth, flesh, hair et al). The Panchmahabhutas therefore serve as the foundation of all diagnosis & treatment modalities in Ayurveda and has served as a most valuable theory for physicians to detect and treat illness of the body and mind successfully. Panch Mahabhutas Sense Organs Sensory Faculty Properties *Creates natural void in the body * No distinct taste Space Ears Hearing Actions Produces softness, lightness and porosity

*Light, clear and dry. *Governs inhalation, exhalation, opening and closing of eyelids, extension and contraction of joints, locomotion and other motor functions. *slightly bitter taste *Rough & bright eyes *Controls temperature and luster of body colour. *Pungent taste *Heavy, immobile, compact & rough.

Creates dryness, lightness and emaciation.




Helps in digestion, maturation, improves eye sight







*Increases firmness & strength of the *Controls organs as body teeth, nails, flesh, skin, tendons & *Acts as a muscles. nutrient, emollient and *Sweet taste. purgative *Cold, heavy fluid *Slimy, fat and sweat by nature *Sweet & astringent, sour & saline taste. *Imparts glossiness. *Enhances fluid content & purgative *Acts as nutrient, emollient and purgative.




The Tridoshas
The Tridoshas (tri meaning three and doshas being the basic physical energies) are the primary and essential factors of the human body that govern our entire physical structure and function. Derived from the Panchmahabhutas, each dosha which like the elements cannot be detected with our senses but their qualities can be is a combination of any two of the five bhutas with the predominance of one. Called Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Sanskrit, these three are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes within the body and mind dynamic forces that determine growth and decay. Every physical characteristic, mental capacity and the emotional tendency of a human being can therefore be explained in terms of the tridoshas.

Most of the physical phenomena ascribed to the nervous system by modern physiology for example, can be identified with Vata. Just as the entire chemical process operating in the human body can be attributed to Pitta, including enzymes, hormones and the complete nutritional system. And the activities of the skeletal and the anabolic system, actually the entire physical volume of an organism, can be considered as Kapha.

Vata (Air and Space) Light Cold Dry Rough Subtle Mobile Clear Dispersing Erratic Astringent

Pitta (Fire and Water) Light Hot Oily Sharp Liquid Sour Pungent

Kapha (Water and Earth) Heavy Cold Oily Slow Slimy Dense Soft

Each dosha thus shares a quality with another (although there remain slight differences in the nature of shared quality), the third having just the opposite quality. Also, each has an inherent ability to regulate and balance itself, coming from the antagonistic qualities that arise from the doshas constituent elements. When the doshas are in balance i.e. in a state of equilibrium, we remain healthy. As Charaka, the great ayurvedic sage, explained: "Vata, pitta and kapha maintain the integrity of the living human organism in their normal state and combine so as to make the man a complete being with his indriyas (sense organs) possessed of strength, good complexion and assured of longevity." It is only when that there is imbalance within the three that disease is caused. And since it is the strongest dosha in the constitution that usually has the greatest tendency to increase, one is most susceptible to illnesses associated with an increase of the same. It is important to realise that these three are forces and not substances. Kapha is not mucus; it is the force that causes mucus to arise. Similarly pitta is not bile; but that which causes bile to be produced. And they are called doshas literally meaning `faults or `out of whack- as they indicate the fault lines along which the system can become imbalanced. It is equally important to understand that the three doshas within any person keep changing constantly, due to the doshic qualities of specific lifestyle and environment, such as time and season. And that these three are not separate energies but different aspects of the same energy, present together in an infinite variety of combinations, wherein their qualities overlap and

interrelate. Ayurveda however considers only three types of constitution in monotypes just one dosha predominates, in duo types two have near similar strength, and in the very rarely found third type all three are equally powerful. Within this broad classification, there are in the first category various sub-types that are listed below for easier reference.

The Trigunas
Just as the doshas are the essential components of the body, the three gunas - Satwa, Rajas and Tamas - are the three essential components or energies of the mind. Ayurveda provides a distinct description of people on the basis of their Manasa (psychological) Prakriti (constitution). Genetically determined, these psychological characteristics are dependent on the relative dominance of the three gunas. While all individuals have mixed amounts of the three, the predominant guna determines an individual's mansa prakriti. In equilibrium, the three gunas preserve the mind (and indirectly the body), maintaining it in a healthy state. Any disturbance in this equilibrium results in various types of mental disorders. Satwa, characterised by lightness, consciousness, pleasure and clarity, is pure, free from disease and cannot be disturbed in any way. It activates the senses and is responsible for the perception of knowledge. Rajas, the most active of the gunas, has motion and stimulation as its characteristics. All desires, wishes, ambitions and fickle-mindedness are a result of the same. While Tamas is characterised by heaviness and resistance. It produces disturbances in the process of perception and activities of the mind. Delusion, false knowledge, laziness, apathy, sleep and drowsiness are due to it. Rajas and Tamas, as with the doshas, can be unbalanced by stress and negative desires as kama (lust), irshya (malice), moha (delusion and halucination), lobha (greed), chinta (anxiety), bhaya (fear) and krodha (anger). Each of these three properties is also comprised of sub-types and the particular sub-type to which one belongs to determine the qualities of that individual. Satwika individuals are usually noble and spiritual in character, their nature determined as much by body type as their star constellation, having an element of kapha in their constitution. Satwika Subtype Qualities


Free from passion, anger, greed, ignorance or jealousy, possessing knowledge and the power of discrimination.


Excellent memory, purity, love and self -control, excellent intellectual frame of mind, free from pride, ego, ignorance, greed or anger. Possessing the power of understanding and retention. Devotion to sacred books, study rituals and oblations. Devotion to virtuous acts, farsightedness and courage. Authoritative behaviour and speech. Able to perform sacred rituals. Free from mean and conflicting desires and acts. Having initiative, excellent memory and leadership. Free from emotional binds, hatred, ignorance and envy. The capacity for timely action. Free from mean acts. Exhibition of emotion in proper place. Observance of religious rights. Courage, patience, and hatred of impure thoughts. Liking for virtuous acts and purity. Pleasure in recreation. Possession of wealth, attendants and luxuries. Expertise in poetry, stories and epics. Fondness for dancing singing and music. Takes pleasure in perfumes, garlands and flowers. Full of passion.






Pitta dominated Rajasikas, intellectually oriented but vulnerable to temptations, are very human in their character and approach to life. Rajasika Subtype Qualities


Indulgence in self-praise, bravery, cruelty, envy and ruthlessness. Terrifying appearance.


Excessive sleep and indolence. Envious disposition. Constant anger, intolerance, and cruel behaviour. Gluttonous habits. Unclean habits. Cowardly, with a terrifying disposition. Gluttonous habits. Fondness for the opposite sex. Abnormal diet and regimen. Sharp reactions. Excessive indolance. Frequent fearful disposition. Brave or cowardly attitude depending on situations. Excessive desire for food. Envious character. Excessive greediness and actions without discrimination. Full of passion. Unsteadiness, ruthlessness, and excessive attitude for food.





A dominant Vata ensures that Tamasika individuals are the most down to earth, concerned about fundamental questions of practical existence, specially when confronted by more spiritual and less physical issues. Tamasika Subtype Qualities


Lack of intelligence, forbidding dispositions, envious nature. Excessive sexual indulgence and sleep.


Unsteadiness, constant passion, and cowardice. Excessive desire for water intake. Indolence. Excessive indulgence in food. Deficiency of intellectual faculties.


Being the biological fire that governs metabolism, agni encompasses all the changes in the body and mind from the dense to the more subtle. Such changes include the digestion and absorption of food, cellular transformations, assimilation of sensory perceptions and mental and emotional experiences. Agni therefore covers whole sequences of chemical interactions and changes in the body and mind. Digestive abilities being related to the strength of agni. Agni and pitta are closely connected. While both are hot and light, agni is subtle and dry. The heat energy to help digestion contained by pitta is agni. Pitta is therefore the container and agni the content. Agni is acidic in nature and stimulates digestion. It is subtly related to the movement of vata. In every tissue and cell agni is present and is necessary for maintaining the nutrition and auto-immune mechanism. By destroying micro-organisms, foreign bacteria and toxins in the stomach and the intestines. A balanced agni therefore is vital for health. The strength of the body to resist disease and also its physical strength are directly related to its heat energy determining the metabolic processes of the body. Disturbances to Agni are usually the chief causes of disease. As per Ayurveda there are thirteen types of Agni in the body and mind according to the conversion and the transformation made. The most important of them is the Jatharagni, the gastric fire, responsible for digesting food eaten by correlating hydrochloric acid in the stomach and the digestive enzymes and juices secreted into the stomach, duodenum and the small intestines. If digestive agni is low and the capacity is impaired, one may experience pain, discomfort, feeling of heaviness or gases gurgling, constipation or loose stools.

The Dhatus

The Sapta (seven) Dhatus (tissues) elements form the pillars of the body that form the means of nourishment and growth while providing support to the body as well as the mind. Rasa (fluid) Dhatu Derived from the digested food, it nourishes each and every tissue and cell of the body and is analogous to the plasma. Rakta (blood) Dhatu Regarded as the basic of life, it is analogous to the circulating blood cells. It not only nourishes the body tissues, but provides physical strength and colour to the body. Masma Dhatu The muscle tissue, its main function is to provide physical strength and support for the meda dhatu. Meda (fat) Dhatu Consists of adipose tissue providing support to ashti dhatu. It also lubricates the body. Ashti Dhatu Comprising of bone tissues, including cartilages, its main function is to give support to the majja dhatu and provide support to the masma dhatu. Majja Dhatu Denoting the yellow and red bone marrow tissue, its main function is to fill up the ashti and to oleate the body. Shukra Dhatu The main aim of this reproductive tissue is to help reproduction and strengthen the body. Since the dhatus support and derive energy from each other, affecting one can influence others. For instance, interference in the manufacture of the plasma affects the quality of the blood, which in turn effects the muscle. Each tissue type has its own agni, which determines metabolic changes in the tissues. And forms by-products, which are either used in the body or excreted. Menstural periods for example are a by-product of rasa. The tissues are also governed by the three doshas, and any imbalance in them also causes imbalances in dhatus. Heavy periods therefore can also be caused by the effects of the excess of Kapha on plasma.

The Malas
Malas are the various waste products of the dhatus produced during the normal metabolical process. The three primary malas being Purisa (faeces), Mutra (urine) and Sweda (sweat). Ayurveda clearly states that only a balanced condition of doshas, dhatus and malas is arogya (good health or disease free condition) and their imbalance is the cause of ill health or disease. Purisa is the waste left back after nutrients of digested food have been absorbed in the small intestine. While water and salt absorbed in the large intestine, the residue now converted into solid faeces, leaves the body. The consistency of the faeces depending both on gastrointestinal mobility and nature of diet. The tridoshas must be in balance to ensure normal evacuation. Pitta and kapha help digestion and vata governs the mobility throughout the process. Any discrepancy or imbalance between these can lead to various symptoms of abdominal heaviness or pain, flatulance, constipation or diarrohea. It may also give rise to diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, asthama, bronchitis as well as stomach ulcers and irritable bowels. Mutra is derived during the course of biological processes within the human body. The first stage of urine formation begins in the large intestine where fluids are absorbed into the system. The entire urinary system (kidneys, uterus, bladder and urethra) takes part in the formation and elimination of urine, regulating the fluid balance in our body and also maintaining blood pressure. Any imbalance of increased or decreased urine, may result in disorders as kidney stones urinary infections, cystitis, abdominal pain and bladder disorders. Sweda is the third primary mala, and it occurs as a waste product during the synthesis of meda dhatu (fatty tissue). Eliminated through skin pores, it controls body temperature and helps to regulate the electrolytic balance. The channels responsible for bringing the sweat to skin surface

are known as sweda vaha srotas. It is essential that normal formation and flow of sweat takes place as otherwise it may lead to skin infections, itching/burning sensation over the body, loss of fluid balance and reduced body temperature.

In order to keep the tridoshas in a state of healthy equlibrium and digestion & metabolism (agni) in proper order, Ayurveda prescribes for each individual a specific daily routine (dina day & acharya behaviour). The various stages to this daily routine, influenced by the specifics of your prakriti, that will enable you to make the most out of your life, are : Arising Since our biological clocks are attuned to the rising and setting of the sun, it is obviously better to awake at sunrise in perfect synchronisation to the natural clock. An ideal time to let the body cells soak in the strength of a tempered sun to be charged for the day. Drinking a glass of luke-warm water helps flush out all toxins accumulated overnight in the body. Natural Urges The last portion of the night being ruled by vata involved in the process of elimination dawn is the best time to eliminate the body's physical waste. Proper elimination also helping remove the kapha that naturally accumulates overnight. Defecation once or twice daily is the best. Preferably not immediately after a meal. But urination then is wise. Examine your eliminations each morning and if you notice any disturbance indicating poor digestion, go on a fast. It will allow the body rest to correct the system before disease sets in. Never suppress the natural physical urges as elimination, hunger, thirst, sleep, sneezing, yawning, vomiting, flatus and ejaculation, for it will lead to discomfort and even disease. Cleanliness Thorough washing of the limbs, face, mouth, eyes & nose purifies the bodies sense organs. Best done with a bath in clean water, it should accompany brushing of the teeth (should be repeated after every meal), scraping off a toxicated coating of ama from the tongue, occasional gargling of salt water with a pinch of turmeric to keep gums, mouth & throat healthy, proper cleaning of the nose and the ears and washing the eyes with warm water held in mouth for moments (saliva being very good for the eyes). Keep your hair trimmed, nails filed and wear clean clothes. Feel free to use perfumes in moderation and feel good. Exercise Either passive like massage or active like aerobics or both as in yoga postures, regular exercise increases the body's stamina and resistance to disease by facilitating the immune system, clearing all channels, promoting circulation & waste disposal, and destroying fat. Done regularly, it can reduce anxiety but become addictive. Depending on age & body type, kaphas can go for heavy exercises, pittas should do it in moderation and vatas should

perform yoga and not aerobics. Never exert more than half your capacity, during illness, just after a meal and without rhythmic breathing. Swimming, walking and even laughing are excellent options.

Massage Necessary for every person, a regular self-massage with herbal oils is usually adequate but needs to be supplemented with professional attention occasionally. It makes the skin supple, controls vata by reducing its cold, dry, light, rough & erratic qualities, enhances blood circulation, encourages quicker removal of metabolic wastes and relaxes the body. Follow the normal direction of hair growth, use a little extra oil over the body's vital parts, massage the scalp and head at least weekly and just the soles of your feet if short of time. Meditation Ideal for disciplining the mind and removing stress & strain, it is best done after a quick bath to cleanse yourself. Critical in satisfying the mind's hunger, when done well it is so nourishing that even the body can survive on less. Control of desire, or mental hunger, is the key to longevity and immortality. Anything can be meditation so long it is sincere and heartfelt. The simplest and healthiest involves the sun and its golden colour is deemed the most nourishing and productive. While this routine acts as a critical shield of defence against the destabilising influences of an external environment, by using selective choice in some of the other factors mentioned below you can easily improve upon the condition of your total health. Clothing In shielding from extreme temperatures, it tends to reflect the temperament of the wearer in a society showing growing preponderance of the same. Should always be light & airy, and made of natural fibres as cotton, wool, linen or silk. Always wear clean, and never anyone else's except that of a saint. Since energy is brought into the body through the crown of the head and exits from the soles of the feet extracting abnormal heat from the system the polluted energy usually collects in the footwear. So avoid wearing other's footwear, try not to take shoes into the house and walk barefoot whenever possible. And wooden sandals are more healthy than animal skin or rubber shoes. Employment Since work consumes at least one-third part of our lives and success or failure in your profession affects self-confidence, selfworth, it is important that the nature of work should match well with your prakriti. Vata people love work that requires sudden bursts of intense energy. But it tends to exhaust them also. So to balance it off, despite their dislike, they should be in routine jobs, slightly repetitive. Need a soothing home and work environment to smooth

out their rough edges. They need adequate rest, specially in the afternoons. And should avoid places where the air is exceptionally cool and dry e.g. the freezing cold inside electronics manufacturing outfits or exceptionally dusty fertiliser mills. The ideal jobs must have enough excitement to hold their interest and sufficient routine to avoid imbalances. Pitta people are very practical, making good administrators but not original thinkers. By nature aggressive and self-promoting, these realists see everything as a contest that has to be won. Insisting on being in the forefront of all activity, they cram as much work as they can, demanding perfect functioning from their bodies all the time. They do not take delays and obstacles to their plans well and must seriously try to be fair to and keep their professional and private lives separate. They should avoid work that is physically irritating or involves heat (as welding or metal casting) and listen more to others. They should ideally have sufficient challenge to keep them occupied without the stress of severe competition. Innate Kapha stability and balance makes them great administrators. They must make a conscious effort bring in change or variety to their otherwise staid and routine lives. And ensure that even if work is not physically active, leisure is. Slow to get going in the morning, competition is good for them although they may find it stressful. Choice of Pet Often an extension of their owner's personalities, pets should ideally be chosen so as to have a therapeutic effect on your doshic imbalances. Vatas get along famously with dogs, the canine's loveable, sloppy, open-heartedness reassuring and stabilising their cold, fearful, fickle nature. Some do well with small, furry high- strung animals as guinea pigs that arouse the maternal instincts in the owners. The cat is the Pittas favourite. With strongly held opinions on most subjects, the feline presents continuous challenges, even with its movements. Kaphas in turn prefer birds, the avian's light chirpiness helping offset some of the dosha's natural ponderousness. For some large dogs prove beneficial as the canine encourages them to exercise along with. Choice of Partner Ayurvedic wisdom suggests that like types make better mates because of similar mental processes, attitudes and sexual proclivities. Unfortunately, two people of similar dispositions are likely to have the same defects too. Choosing the right partner who will stimulate, inspire you to evolve into better individual thus becomes very important. Sleep A state of physical inertia with mental relaxation, sleep promotes proper growth of the self. Night is the natural time to sleep and mid-day catnaps should not be more than 15 minutes long except for the very young, very old, very weak and those intoxicated, diseased, exhausted or traumatised. Avoid having a full meal just before retiring to bed. Sleeping on the right side is the most relaxing and good for yoga. On the left, it is most digestive and

increases interest in food, sleep and sex. Sleeping on the back indirectly and on the stomach directly encourages disease. Sleeping with crown of the head facing east and feet into the west promotes the best meditative sleep. Washing the hands, feet & face just before improves sleep. Never sleep in the kitchen and go to bed only to sleep. 6 to 8 hours of daily sleep is essential. The ideal form of sleep is yoga a state of complete physical inertness with retention of mental alertness & awareness.

Given that the term prakriti denotes both body constitution and nature, it is only expected that with the changing seasons of nature there will be corresponding effects on the bhutas and thereby the doshas of the constitution. Cold, dry weather for instance enhances vata, hot humid climate increases pitta, while cold, wet weather aggravates kapha. To avoid such continued aggravation leading to imbalance of the doshas, Ayurveda prescribes a seasonal routine to preserve the doshic balance as the seasons change. For each season therefore, there is a unique diet (ahar), a distinct mode of living (vihara) and routine living (karya). These keep your doshas in a state of equilibrium and help you cope with the stresses and strains of changing seasons. In Ayurvedic literature the year is divided into six ritus (seasons) varsha (monsoon), sharada (autumn), hemanta (winter), shishira (late winter), girshma (summer) and vasanta (spring). The effects of these ritus on the three doshas and the suggested lifestyle for each is as indicated below: Click here to see the figure of the Biological Clock Monsoon Diet Conduct Digestive power weakens and bodily Go for oil massages and regular vata is aggravated. baths. Do not indulge in daytime sleeping. It is advisable therefore to be moderate in your diet. Come rains, tuck into astringent, bitter and pungent food along with wheat & rice. Avoid moving in the sun, and excessive physical exercise Do not indulgence in excessive sex.

Never forget to boil & cool your water. And if possible, add a little honey. Autumn Diet Conduct

Yummy dishes with astringent, bitter This is the right time to go through or sweet tastes are for you to enjoy. purgation & blood letting treatment. (for detail see Panchkarma) Have lots of rice, barley, wheat, Avoid excessive sunbathing along with curd, cabbage, cheese, milk. Do not expose yourself to easterly winds.

Avoid meat, yoghurt. Winter Diet Dig into piping hot, oily, sour & salty food along with rice. Also plenty of cows milk & cane juice. Conduct Dont expose yourself to cold. Go for an invigorating oil massage followed by tepid water bath. Cover your body with sufficient warm wraps Indulge in intense sexual pleasure.

Drink warm water and it will improve your life span. Avoid light food to pacify vata. Spring Diet Conduct

Kapha that has already accumulated is liquidified by the heat and disturbs your digestive system. Avoid heavy, oily, sour & sweet food & drinks that may aggravate kapha. Take in barley, wheat, rice, scrup, & bitter vegetables.

Go for vigorous exercises, and oil massages. Cut down your smoking habit. Avoid day-time naps.

Summer Diet Take in plenty of fluids. Avoid dehydration. Avoid food with pungent, acid & salt tastes. Tuck into sweet, cold & oily foods. Meat of birds & animals are good for you. Conduct Avoid excessive physical exercises & excessive sex. Avoid sunlight and harmful UV rays. Enjoy the cool breeze of your garden & fragrance of flowers. Try to take a short nap.

KNOW THYSELF Introduction

Your personal constitution, which is your individual metabolic make-up, helps determine how your mind and body will instinctively react when confronted with and how much effect any stimulus, as a specific taste or emotion, will have on you. This inborn metabolic pattern is called Prakriti. The personality traits most prized or the qualities disliked all equally arise from these tendencies inherent in your prakriti. Determined by the doshic state of your parents at the time of your conception, your constitution is influenced by your parents' genetics also. And once set along with the tendencies, it cannot be altered. However, one can learn to adjust so as to reduce distortions, prevent imbalances and treat them when necessary. Also learn the whys and hows of dealing with others. Knowing your own constitution thus allows you to understand the workings of your mind and body better, thereby allowing greater control over the traits through planned and adequate changes incorporated into your lifestyle.

Test your body type

The chart given below is designed to help you assess your personal constitution. Be honest and observant and choose based on how you are not how you would like to be. Mark yourself for trends that endure and make the assessments in relation to ethnic background. Take time to reflect on the questions and remember no one is purely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. For each factor, from the options

given, put a tick over the doshic description that matches what you are or have been for most of your life.And remember, that there are no right or wrong answers.

Physical Characteristics
1 Build 2 Skin

Thin, Light, Delicate

Thin, Very dry, Darkish, Cool

Medium, Enduring

Soft, With Freckles & Moles, Fair, Warm

Large, Solid, Powerful

Thick, Oily, Pale / White, Cold

3 Body Temperature Teeth

Low, Cool Extremities

Irregular, Small, Easily Cracked

High , Feels Warm

Yellowish, Medium

Low, Cool to Touch

White, Big, Strong

5 Lips Nails

Thin, Dark, Dry, Cracked

Short, Rough, Brittle, Dark, Lusterless

Soft, Pink / Copper Coloured

Medium, Soft, Pink, Tender

Thick, Full, Oily

Long, Thick, Well Rounded

7 Height Joints

Exceptionally Short or Tall (Beanpole)

Prominent, Dry, Knobbly


Normal, Well Proportioned

Tall / Short, Sturdy

Big, Well Formed, Lubricated

9 Hair Face


Thin, Dark, Coarse, Kinky or Curly

Long, Angular, Chin often Underdeveloped

Fine, Soft, Straight, Fair / Reddish / Sandy Heart Shaped Chin often Pointed

Plentiful, Thick, Wavy, Lustrous, Black / Brown

Large, Rounded, Full

11 Neck Nose


Thin, Very Long or Very Short

Small, Narrow, even Crooked

Average, Proportionate

Average, Neat, Pointed

Solid, Tree Trunk type

Large, Rounded

13 Eyes Mouth


Small, Narrow, Sunken, Dark Brown / Gray, Dull



Average, Light Blue / Gray / Hazel, Intense


Large, Prominent, Blue / Light Brown, Attractive

1 Sweat

2 Temperature Preferences


Crave Warmth

Profuse, Strong Fleshy or Sour Smell

Love Coolness

Moderate, Present Always

Dislike Cold

3 Sleep Stool

Light, Fitful

Irregular, Constipated, Hard, Dry

Sound, Short

Regular, Loose

Deep, Likes Plenty

Slow, Plentiful, Heavy

5 Activity Level Endurance

Very High, Fidgety

Fast Burnout, Needs Recovery Time


Well Managed


Good Stamina

7 Sexual Arousal Speech

Intense, Quickly Expended. Fantasizes

Fast, Talkative

Strong, Desires and Actions Matched

Sharp, Clear, Precise

Slow, then Passion Maintained

Slow, Maybe Laboured

9 Diet

Warm / Hot, Moist Food of Sweet, Sour, Salty Taste

Very Cold, Sweet / Bitter & Astringent Food

Light Warm, Sour & Astringent Food

Physiological Aspects
1 Thinking Memory 2

Superficial, Varied, Low Execution

Fast Learning, Poor Retention

Precise, Logical, Good Planning & Execution

Quick Learning, Good Long Term

Slow Pick-up, Good Retention

Calm, Slow, Steady, Organised

3 Beliefs Emotions

Change Frequently

Fearful, Anxious, Insecure

Extremely Strong Convictions

Angry, Judgemental

Deep, Steady, Unchanging

Greedy, Possessive

5 Lifestyle


Busy, Big Plans

Steady, Regular


For a better understanding of your Ayurvedic constitution and to cross-check the results of the test, listed below are the principal physical and psychological characteristics of persons with predominantly single dosha constitutions. VATA Physically such people are either very tall or very short, non- muscular, with thin and bony limbs and have a quick gait with short fast steps. Skin is generally thin, darkish and cool. The hair is thin, dark, coarse and either kinky or curly. The face is usually long and angular, often with an underdeveloped chin. The neck is thin and scrawny. Nose is small and narrow. May be long, crooked or asymmetrical also. Eyes tend to be small, narrow or sunken, dark brown or gray in color, with dull luster. The mouth being small, with thin, narrow or tight lips. Teeth are irregular, protruding, or broken, set in receding gums. And while the voice is weak, low or cracked, speech is fast with interruptions. Creativity ~ Enthusiasm ~ Freedom ~ Generosity ~ Joy ~ Vitality Vata people have restless minds and weak memories. They avoid confrontation. Have active and sensitive natures and express themselves through sport and creative pursuits. Likely to be artistic and creative with a good imagination, they will sometimes overindulge in pleasures. And are sexually the most active. Fearful, worrisome and anxious they are into questioning, theorising and over-analysis. Often dissatisfied with and unable to sustain friendships, they spend money quickly, often on trifles. With light, interrupted sleep of 5-7 hours a day. PITTA A moderately well developed physique with mascular limbs and a purposeful, stable gait of medium speed. With a loud, strong voice and precise, convincing speech. The skin is fair, soft, lusterous, warm, and tends to burn easily in the sun has freckles, many moles, and a tendency to rashes. And the bodies are hot and sweaty. Characterised by fine and soft, either fair or reddish hair that tends to gray soon. Face is heart-shaped,

often with a pointed chin. While the neck is proportionate and of average size. A neat, pointed, and average sized nose matches the average sized eyes that are either light blue, light gray or hazel in color, with an intense luster which get red in summer or after bathing. The mouth being medium, with average lips and medium-sized, yellowish teeth. Ambition ~ Concentration ~ Confidence ~ Courage ~ Enthusiasm for knowledge ~ Happiness ~ Intelligence Pittas have an intellectual and precise disposition due to a very alert, focussed mind. Sharp and knife-like in anger, they are irritable, jealous and aggressive by nature. Discriminating and judgemental, they are articulate, learned and proud. With a developed sense of responsibility, they can take decisions and organise affairs well. Argumentative, but with a sense of humour, their selectively excellent memory makes them fast learners. Moderately passionate in their sexual pursuits, they spend moderately, usually on luxuries. KAPHA A thick, broad, well-developed frame and large, long limbs go well with a pleasant, deep and resonant voice with low, slow, rhythmic speech. The skin is usually thick, oily, pale or white and cold. Plentiful, thick, wavy, lusterous and generally brown hair is set on a large, rounded and full face. The neck is solid, with a near tree-trunk quality. A large, rounded nose and large, attractive, blue or light brown in color eyes are found in a mouth that is large with big, full lips. Teeth too are big and white and set in strong gums. Caring ~ Centeredness ~ Compassion ~ Contentment ~ Faith ~ Fulfillment ~ Groundedness ~ Patience ~ Sense of being nourished ~ Stability ~ Support ~ Tenderness Kapha predominated people are calm, steady, considerate - stable, patient personalities they are slow to anger. Not easily provoked, once angry they do not calm down easily. They are honourable, true to their word and avoid lies. Loyal, forgiving and understanding, they can be lethargic, even lazy, if not driven by others. Learning may be slow but memory will be strong. Excellent in logical analysis, they take time before reaching conclusions. Long hours of deep sleep and a strong, enduring sex drive come naturally. While they do save money, it does get spent on food. And there can at times be an element of dullness, given that a kapha mind is usually too content to seek fresh mental stimulation.

Double Dosha Body Type

VATA-PITTA Their characteristics show a combination of vata & pitta, for example they often have wavy hair, caused by a combination of vatas curliness and pittas straightness. They generally have the poor circulation, though they love to eat but they will have trouble digesting large meals. A healthy balanced vata-pitta person have a capacity for original thought, a vatas characteristic, and also expertise at application of theory, a pittas characteristic. As lightness and intensity are the common qualities of vata & pitta. Proper direction of this intensity calls for harnessing the lightness for intensive self development. When

a person having imbalanced vata & pitta fear alternates with anger as a response to stress. PITTA-KAPHA Pitta-Kapha people probably adjust best of any constitution to the confusions, irregularity and constant change which characterizes todays world because they combine kaphas stability and pitta's adaptability. many of the people who achieve allround success in life are pitta-kapha. Pittas active metabolism balances kaphas powerful physique to promote good health, and pittas anger is well tempered, by kaphas cautiousness to encourage good mental balance. The ease with which they succeed in the world promotes pittas arrogance and overconfidence and kaphas smug self satisfaction which can insulate the personality totally and efficiently from all realities other than the real Bitter and Astringent are their best tastes. KAPHA-VATA VataKapha people tend to be tall but are average in build and most other physical qualities are just as pitta type. Vata and kapha are united in their coldness. Though they do not suffer as intensely from physical cold as do pure vata types because of the strength and insulation of kapha. They Have a double emotional need for heat. Their lack of heat usually manifests physically as digestive disturbances, especially constipation, respiratory disease with much mucus production is also common. They may be wary of jumping to conclusions without proper preliminary investigation. They should use sour, salty and pungent taste foods.

Do's and Don't

VATA PITTA KAPHA Warm, well cooked food. Warm to cool rather than Decreased quantities Sweet, sour and salty steaming hot. Sweet of warm food. tastes ,bitter and astringent Pungent, bitter and tastes. astringent tastes.To be taken earlier than 10 am and not later than 6 pm. Healthy Kapha types should observe fast one day per week. Oil Massage With calming and With cooling oils such as With stimulating oils warming oils such as chandanbala Laxadi oil such as punarnavadi Mahanarayan Oil. oil and srigopal oil. Exercise Moderate exercise such Moderate exercise Regular and vigorous. as yoga, walking and light which may include weights jogging, swimming, Yoga, cycling and weight lifting Herbal Dietary Ashwagandha, shatavari, Haritaki, Bhumiamla, Guggul, sitopladi supplements haritaki, Guggul, Chyavanprash, surakta, churan, trikatu, REMEDIES Food

Trikatu ,Vata tea, Calming sitopladi churan,pitta Tea. Tea.

chyavanprash, Kapha Tea.


Explosure to cold , no routine in yur life, eating to much dry, frozen or leftover food, or food with bitter, pungent or astringents taste. Fasting, too much traveling, too much or inappropriate exercise, suppressing natural urges, abdominal surgery. Not oiling the skin.


Exposure to heat, eating too much red meat, salt, spicy or sour foods. Indigestion and irregularity of meals. Exercising at midday, Drugs especially antibiotics. Too much intellectual work/thinking. Alcohol, Fatigue.Anger,Hate fear, emotion.


Exposure to cold , eating too much sweet ,meat ,fats, cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, fried food, excessive use of salt. Excessive intake of water , taking naps after meals. Doing nothing .Sedative and tranquilizers. Doubts, greed, and possessiveness. Lack of comapation

Any imbalance in the doshas is likely to have a negative effect on your mind and emotions. If in excess you are more likely to display negative energy of a quality associated with it. The predominant dosha of your constitution becoming in excess more easily than the others, you will tend to experience its negative aspects more than the others. Negative emotions aggravate the dosha associated with them. For example, high kapha may mean you are more possessive; but possessiveness in turn increases kapha even more. The way to break this vicious circle is to pacify the aggravated dosha. Increased consciousness of Ayurveda and your personal constitution will now enable you to rate the qualities of your moods as V, P, and / or K. Checked as frequently as on a daily basis, this is a very useful way to monitor even small changes in a dosha, and take steps to restore the balance sooner than later. Relate the qualities of your moods to the qualities in other aspects of your life. Since "like increases like" if you are impatient or critical (pitta), check if you have eaten pitta-genic foods or been exposed to pitta-provoking experiences.

Excess Vata leads to:

Nervousness Anxiety Fear Confusion Grief Sadness Insecurity Lack of integrity Loss of creativity Moodiness Loss of consciousness Impairment of sensory functions Tremors in Limbs Constipation Insomnia Dry & rough skin Low vitality Lack of communication

With decreased Vata giving rise to:

Lethargy Depression Nausea Irregularity in gastric activity

In case of excess Pitta one suffers from:

Ambition Anger Envy Fear of Failure Snappy speech and actions Skepticism Excessive thirst Loss of sleep Frustration Hate Jealously Judgemental or critical tendencies Lack of discernment Pride Burning sensations Craving for cold Fever

While decreased Pitta results in:

Indigestion Abnormal loss of body heat Loss of luster in the skin Irregular bowel movements.

Aggravated Kapha in turn causes :

Boredom Carelessness Lack of compassion Greed Feeling lack of support or love Obsessive behavior Unkindness Lack of interest Secretions from the mouth Lethargy Excessive sleep Improper digestive function Obesity Nausea

And decreased Kapha gives way to:

Thirst Giddiness Dryness of mouth Cramps Body aches

Dosha sub type & their features

Each of the three doshas can be sub-classified variously and their respective features are as indicated below:

Vata (Vayu)
Doshas Prana Udana Samana Site Heart Throat Stomach & small intestines Normal function Breathing and swallowing of food. Speech and voice Ailments caused by its vitiation Hiccups, Bronchitis, Asthma, Cold, Hoarseness of voice Various diseases of eye, ear, nose and throat.

Helps action of digestive Indigestion, Diarrhea, enzymes, assimilation of Defective assimilation. end products of food and separation into their various tissue elements. Elimination of stool, Diseases of bladder, anus & urine, semen, foetal and testicles, Obstinate urinary menstrual blood. diseases, Diabetes Helps in the functioning Impairment of circulation, of circulating channels Diseases as fever as blood vessels.


Colon & organs of pelvis Heart


Doshas Pachaka Site Stomach & small intestines Normal function Digestion Ailments caused by its vitiation Indigestion, Anorexia

Ranjaka Sadhaka Alochaka Bhrajaka

Liver, spleen and stomach Heart Eyes Skin

Blood Function Memory and other mental functions. Vision Colour and glaze of the skin

Anemia, Jaundice Hepatitis Psychic disturbances, Cardiac diseases Impairment of vision Leucoderma, Other skin diseases.

Doshas Kledaka Avalambaka Bodhaka Tarpaka Shlesshaka Site Stomach Heart Tongue Brain Joints Normal function Moistens food, which helps in digestion. Energy in limbs Perception of taste. Nourishment of the sense organs Lubrication of joints Ailments caused by its vitiation Impairment of digestion Laziness Impairment of digestion Loss of memory, Impairment of function of sense organs Pain in joints, Impairment of function of joints.


Indian medicine names three main causes of disease 'overuse', 'disuse' or 'misuse of faculties; 'errors in judgement'; and influence of seasonal changes. According to Ayurveda all human diseases can be classified into the seven broad categories, namely : Genetic (Adibalapravritta) 1Consists of ailments as obstinate skin diseases, hemorrhoids, diabetes, tuberculosis and asthma that arise primarily due to defects in the sperm (sukra) of the father when it is called pitrija or the ovum (sonita) of the mother when it is termed matrja. 2Undigested food, abnormal behaviour, addiction of any type and stressful situations affect the reproductive elements of both the male and female, resulting in a defective foetus. Congenital (Janmabalapravritta) 3Caused essentially due to nutritional disorder (rasakrita) and unfulfilled cravings of the mother during pregnancy (dauhrdya) 4If diet and / or conduct of the mother aggravates vata, the foetus might end up with deformities as kyphosis (hunchback), blindness and dwarfism; increased pitta may cause alopecia and yellowish pigmentation of skin; and enhanced kapha might result in albinism. Constitutional (Doshabalapravritta) 5Arise out of any dietary or behavioural disturbance brought about by an imbalance in any one of the three vital physical energies (Tridoshas) or the three vital mental energies (Trigunas). 6Thus constitutional disorders are of two types : somatic (Sharirika) & psychic (Manasika). Traumatic (Sanghatabalapravritta) 7Undergoing any trauma causing experience external or internal leads to this. 8External trauma is induced by injuries inflicted by sharp instruments and bites of animals or venomous insects. 9Stress and overstrain lead to internal trauma. Seasonal (Klabalapravritta) 10Brought about by changes in the nuances of seasonality. 11Sometimes the body fails to adjust itself to the sudden and abnormal climatic changes extreme cold might lead to frostbite and rheumatic disease. While extreme heat may cause sunstroke or fever. Infectious and Spiritual (Daivabalapravritta) 12Either born out of natural calamities as lightning, earthquakes, floods and the invisible, malignant forces of nature. 13Or contacted through sexual & physical intimacy and sharing of food, plates, bed, clothes, towels and cosmetics with effected friends & relatives. 14Or as a result of sheer jealousy. Natural (Swabhavbalapravritta) 15Even the healthiest of people are struck by hunger, thirst, sleep, death or senility. 16Brought about by functional, organic and natural changes in the body. In Ayurveda, physicians try to assess the symptoms of these diseases as much as the nature of ailment and its root causes (nidana). This is of utmost importance in ensuring correct choice of remedial & preventive measures for treatment of the disease. For otherwise, even after therapy, one might not get the desired response and there would remain a chance of recurrence. The early signs and symptoms (purvaroopa) provide useful warnings and the opportunity for taking necessary action before a disease can assume dangerous magnitudes. The main signs and symptoms (roopa) reflect the true nature and intensity of the disease. Another oft used method of diagnosis is exploratory therapy (upasaya) which uses diet, medicines and routines to detect diseases otherwise difficult to diagnose. Acting either against the cause of disease or the disease itself or producing relief. For example a swelling that is alleviated by an oily & hot massage, is

obviously caused by an imbalance of vata.

Diagnosis Process
The imbalance of doshas and the course they follow to cause disease is termed samprapti or pathogenesis. Since diseases develop in distinct stages, a good knowledge of those helps in early recognition of disease. Ayurveda thus elaborates a six stage process for diagnosis called Kriya (action) Kal (time). The first 4 stages being unique to Ayurveda in that they permit recognition and elimination of the disease before it ventures into differentiated clinical symptoms. One who knows the various stages of pathogenesis accumulation (sanchaya), provocation (prakopa) spread or migration (prasara), deposition or augmentation (sthana samshaya), manifestation (vyakti) and the differentiation (bheda) is entitled to be a physician. Stage One: Accumulation (Sanchaya) 1Weak digestive power and excess of dosha is responsible for such a condition. 2Here toxins (ama) produced by improper digestion collects in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. 3Toxins resulting from a kapha imbalance accumulates in the stomach, those associated with a pitta imbalance collects in the small intestine, and that related to vata malfunction amasses in the colon. 4Due to the presence of one of these toxins, mild and ill-defined symptoms may show. 5We should recognise and eliminate the cause instead of ignoring or suppressing it. 6Causes aversion to similar things and attraction for contraries. Stage Two: Aggravation (Prokapa) 1The accumulated, stagnant doshas are now `excited by factors as ahara, vihara & seasons. 2The toxins amass in such degree to get provoked in the site of production in the GI tract. Stage Three: Spread (Prasara) 1In this stage, the toxins accumulated in the GI tract start overflowing. Generally, up to this stage the damage is entirely reversible and restoration of doshic balance can be achieved with proper measures. Or there may be spontaneous prashama (remission) influenced by seasonal changes. Thus there is sanchaya of pitta in rainy season, prakopa in fall and prasara in early winter. Based on degree of excitation, it might even passed the stages of prashama or prasara. Stage Four: Agumentation (Sthana Samshraya) 1Overflowing toxins migrate, entering and taking refuge in localised, weak or defective dhatus thereby leading to malfunction and structural damage. 2It is from here that specific degenerating disease and susceptibilities to serious infections begin. Stage Five: Symptom Manifestation (Vyakti) 1Differentiated symptoms first begin to appear from the location. 2Manifested symptoms being used by modem medicine for classification & diagnosis of disease. Stage Six: Complications/Differentiation (Bheda) 1The disease having taken taken years or even decades to reach this final stage, becomes chronic. 2Offers detailed understanding of the group of symptoms thereby making clear nature of disease. 3Might act as predisposing factors for the spread of other diseases.

Examination Process
To confirm, evaluate and treat a disease, physicians need to perform clinical examinations of

patients wherein textual knowledge (aptopadesa), direct perception (pratyaksha) and inference (anumana) are all very important components. The examination of patients can be carried out in the following manners: Three (Tri) fold (Bidha) Examination (Pariksha) Covers a general examination of the patient. Involves: 1.Visual observation (Darshan) 2.Tactile perception (Sparsha) 3.Questioning (Prashna) Examination Process Eight (Asht) fold (Bidha) Examination (Pariksha) Provides a clear picture of nature of ailment and patient's general condition. Involves the examination of pulse, tongue, voice, skin, eye, general appearance, urine & stool.

1.Examination of the pulse (nadi pariksha):

The foremost clinical art in ayurvedic diagnosis it can provide deep insights into the history of the patient. The ideal time for pulse examination is early morning in empty stomach. But in case of emergency, it can be examined at any time of the day or night. An experienced ayurvedic physician can assess your bodys nature (prakriti), pathological state (vikruti), imbalances of body type, very subtle observations & even prognosis of disease through the pulse. 2.Examination of the tongue (jivha pariksha): Assessed through its doshic state, a vata aggravated tongue is dry, rough & cracked, pitta suffered tongue is red with a burning sensation and kapha influenced it is wet, slimy and coated. Suggesting the state of the digestive system. 3.Examination of the voice (sabda pariksha): Healthy and natural when the doshas are in balance, the voice will become heavy when aggravated by kapha, cracked under pitta effect and hoarse & rough when afflicted by vata. 4.Examination of skin (sparsha pariksha): Also used for assessing the state of organs and tissue, palpation is an important clinical method for examination of skin. Noted for doshic influences, a vata aggravated skin is course & rough with below normal temperature, a pitta influenced one has quite high temperature and kapha effected it becomes cold & wet. 5.Examination of eyes (drka pariksha): Vata domination makes the eyes sunken, dry and reddish brown in colour. On aggravation of pitta, they turn red or yellow and the patient suffers from photophobia and burning sensations. High kapha makes them wet & watery with heaviness in the eyelids. 6.Examination of general appearance (akriti pariksha) : The doshic influences that reflect on the face of the patient enables physicians to gauge the basic constitution and the nature of the disease. 7.Examination of urine (mutra pariksha): Both examination of urine sample and questioning of patient are important for assessing doshic influence. A modification of this is the oil (taila) drop (bindu) test (pariksha) in which the effect of an oil drop on urine sample suggests the curability of disease. 8.Examination of stool (mala pariksha): If digestion & absorption of food are poor, the stool carries a foul odour and sinks in water. Vata aggravated, the stool is hard, dry and grey / ash in colour. Excess pitta makes it green/yellow in colour and liquid in form. And high kapha lines it with mucus.

Examination Process
Ten (Dash) fold (Bidha) Examination (Pariksha)

Related to the patient. Covers body constitution, pathological state, tissue vitality, physical build, body measurement, adaptability, psychic constitution, capacities for digestion & exercise and age. 1.Body Constitution (prakriti): Determined by relative predominance of doshas during foetal development the prakriti can be any of vatika, paittika, kaphaja, vata paittika, vata kaphaja, pitta kaphaja or samdoshaja. 2.Pathological State (vikruti): Related to the biological history of the diseases in its entirety, it enables physicians to consider the signs & symptoms of the disease in order to assess the strength of the disease, the causes, the doshas, the affected body elements, body constitution, time and strength of an individual. 3.Tissue Vitality (sara): Broadly speaking, there are seven vital tissues, namely lymph (rasa), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), adipose (meda), bone (asthi), bone marrow (majja) and reproductive tissue (sukra). Lymph in the skin is assessed by its smoothness, softness, clearness, thinness and whether the skin is covered with short, deep rooted and delicate hair. Percentage of blood in body is evaluated from the condition of the eyes, mouth, tongue, lips, nails and soles of the feet. When muscles are in perfect condition, the temples, forehead, nape of the neck, shoulders, belly, arms, chest, joints of the body, jaws and cheeks are covered firmly with the skin. People with healthy adipose tissue have oily skin and healthy hair, nails, voice and teeth. The health of bones is determined by pliable but firm forearms, chin, nails, teeth, ankles, knees and other joints of the body. Healthy bone marrow leads to good complexion and stout, long, round & stable joints. Those in whom the semen is perfectly healthy, are strong and cheerful. 4.Physical Build (samhanana): Body examination is carried out by direct perception a healthy body being well- built with symmetrical bones, strong & stable joints and enough flesh & blood. 5.Body Measurement (pramana): In Ayurveda, body measurement is given in terms of finger breadth and any person in close proximity to the ideal measurements is termed as normal and healthy. 6.Adaptibility (satmya): Indicating substances intrinsic to the body, it refers to two types of people - those that are strong, adjust easily to difficulties and have excellent digestive capacity and those that are generally weak, intolerant to change and can have only few food options. 7.Psychic Constitution (satwa): Refers to the mind which controls the body in contact with the soul (atma). Depending on degree of mental strength, it is considered to be high, moderate or low. 8.Digestive Capacity (ahara sakti): This has to be judged from the individuals capacity to ingest and digest food substances. 9.Capacity for Exercise (vyayama shakti): Assessed by capacity for hard work, it is either low, moderate or high. 10.Age (vaya): Broadly categorised into childhood, middle age and old age, it provides vital clues for the diagnosis & treatment and is a must consideration in clinical examinations.Guide Lines to determine


To determine your dosha, fill out the questionnaire below. Base your choices on what you observe is most consistent over a long period of time, rather than your present state. Make a choice from the column that best describes yourself. However, feel free to make a selection from more than one column if more columns equally describe you. After finishing the questionnaire, add up the number of tick marks under Vata, Pitta, and kapha, to discover your Doshas. Most of us will have one Dosha predominant, a few will have two Doshas approximately, equal and even fewer will have all three Doshas in equal proportion.

OBSERVATIONS Body Size Body Weight Skin

VATTA Slim Low

PITTA Medium Medium

KAPHA Large Overweight Thick, Oily, Cool, White, Pale Thick, Curly, Oily, Wavy, Luxuriant Healthy, White, Strong Gums Short, Rounded, Button Nose Big, Beautiful, Blue, Calm, Loving

Thin, Dry, Gold, Rough , Dark

Dry, Brown, Black, Knotted, Brittle, Scarce

Smooth, Oily, Warm, Rosy Straight, Oily, Blond, Gray, Red, Bald Medium, Soft, Tender Gums
Long Pointed, Red Nose-tip



Stick out, Big, Roomy, Thin Gums


Uneven Shape, Deviated Septum Small, Sunken, Dry, Active, Black, Brown Dry, Rough, Brittle, Break Easily Dry, Cracked, Black/Brown Tingle Thin, Angular Wrinkled, Sunken Thin, Tall Flat, Sunken Thin, Flat, Sunken


Sharp, Bright Gray, Green, Yellow/Red, Sensitive to Light


Sharp, Flexible, Pink, Lustrous

Thick, Oily, Smooth, Polished Smooth, Oily, Pale, Whitish Rounded, Double Rounded, Plump Big, Folded Expanded, Round Big, Potbellied Big, Deep, Round, Stretched Heavy, Big


Red, Inflamed, Yellowish Tapering Smooth, Flat Medium Moderate Moderate Oval, Superficial Moderate

Chin Cheeks Neck Chest Belly Belly-Button

Small, Irregular, Hurniated Slender, Thin


Joints Appetite Digestion

Cold, Cracking Irregular, Scanty

Moderate Strong, Unbearable Quick, Causes Burning Sweet, Bitter, Astringent Surplus Loose Moderate Moderate Anger, Hate, Jealousy Extremist Accurate response Distinct Fiery, War, Violence. Little but sound Sharp, Penetrating Spends Money On Luxuries

Large, Lubricated Slow but Steady Prolonged, Forms Mucous Bitter, Pungent, Astringent Sparse Thick, Oily, Sluggish Slow Dull, Slow Calm, Greedy, Attachment. Consistent Slow, Exact Slow and sustained Lakes, Slow, Romantic Deep, Prolonged Slow, Monotonous Rich, Good Money Preserver

Irregular, Forms Gas Sweet, Sour, Salty Changeable Constipation Hyperactive Hyperactive Anxiety, Fear, Uncertainty Variable,


Thirst Elimination

Physical Activity Mental Activity Emotion

Faith Intellect Recollection Dreams

Quick but faulty response Recent Good, Remote Poor Quick, Active, Many Fearful


Scanty, Broken up, Sleeplessness Rapid, Unclear Poor, Spends on Trifles

Speech Financial

Now, add up the sources for each of the three sections, which correspond to Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Rank the three Doshas from highest to lowest in your nature. The dosha that scores highest is usually the one that needs to be balanced. If two Doshas are within to points of each other, both can benefit from balancing approaches. If for example, Your score are: Vata 30, Pitta 20, Kapha 15. You would choose Vata massage oils, teas and aromas to balance your tendency for accumulated Vata.