I often get quizzical looks when I start an introductory lecture on Ayurveda with the comment that “the three doshas are not body types.” Vata, Pitta and Kapha are certainly foundational to every aspect of Ayurvedic theory and practice and understanding them starts with the fact that we are made up of all three doshas, just as everything in nature is made up of the five great elements ether, air, fire, water and earth. These concepts are quite similar to Yin, Yang and Chi in Traditional Chinese medicine, and knowing of their qualities, expressions and functional integrity or interrelationship is the key.
7 Constitutional Types
Constitutional “types” relate to the unique, individualized expression of each of the 3 doshas within an individual, not to simply identify with one. Ayurveda’s practical method identifies 7 basic constitutional “types,” based on our doshic make-up, but each of these types have infinite expressions. For example, someone may be single dosha predominate- Vata, Pitta or Kapha, while others dual-doshic- VP, PK, VK and some are tri-doshic/VPK=. Identifying where we fall along this constitutional spectrum isn’t an end game that culminates with a simple “one size fits all” list of how to live our lives or what types foods we should or shouldn’t ever eat based on our “dosha type.”
Knowing which dosha or doshas that are predominate in our unique constitution helps us to better understand long-term trends relating to our personal health as well as patterns of imbalance that might present themselves due to