According to Ayurveda, everything in the material world is made up the five elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth). Each of the five elements represents; solid (earth), liquid (water), radiance (fire), gas (air) and etheric (ether). Each element has certain qualities which are translated into each persons physical and mental characteristics. The five elements form what is known as Tridosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) or three humours.
Every individual is made up of a unique combination of the three dosha's. Therefore, no two people are made up of the same exact proportion of the five elements.
Most people have one or two dominant elements at birth which is determined by genetics, the parents dominant elements at conception and karmic past. A person’s dominant tridosha can be described as the person’s natural tendency to exhibit more of certain qualities that correspond to the properties of certain elements. It is also commonly referred to as a person’s unique constitution or Prakriti.
Vata dosha is a predominance of ether and air elements; Pitta dosha is primarily fire and a little water; Kapha dosha represents the earth and water elements. Therefore a person with a Vata dominant constitution will exhibit mostly the qualities of air and ether and so on. Recent scientific research has shown a direct correlation between a person’s unique constitution (Prakriti) and modern scientific biochemical and genetic markers i.e. a person’s Prakriti is a distinct phenotype representing a certain genotype (Dey & Pahwa, 2014). This means that each person’s dosha type can be traced back to certain genes.
QUALITIES OF THE 3 DOSHAS
Although a person's dominant birth element(s) remains relatively fixed throughout a person's life, following a diet and lifestyle that is not appropriate for one's constitution can alter the balance of the elements in the body and mind. This state of imbalance is known as Vikruti. This is a condition where the state of the a person's constitution has changed and no longer corresponds to the the dominant element(s) at birth.
Such changes in tridosha are usually an overaccumulation of certain elements in body and mind, which usually manifest as symptoms and when left untreated will eventually lead to disorders or diseases.
In Ayurveda we believe that when the cause of the symptoms are removed at an early stage, more serious disorders of diseases can be avoided.