The more we understand about our bodies, mind and health, the better equipped we are to deal with any issues we may have. Doshas are a good example of this. The word dosha originates from Sanskrit, which can be translated as “that which can cause problems”.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are known as the three doshas. They encompass everything that exists in a person’s body and mind. In an ancient system of astrology that forms part of Ayurveda, human beings are believed to have been born with each season’s characteristic wind inside their body. These seasonally-related ‘winds’ (vata) can get displaced from their proper location due to imbalances in diet and lifestyle, creating problems of the mind and of the physical body.
This dosha is formed by air and space. It’s a combination of both reducing and drying qualities. Vata relates to autumn, sense of touch, skin, nervous system and large intestine organ system of elimination. It governs all activity starting from the movement of muscles to the activities of the mind, and is associated with movement, air, space and ether.
This dosha is formed by fire and water. It’s a combination of both heating and penetrating qualities. Pitta relates to summer, sense of sight, small intestine organ system, blood and sweat glands. It governs transformation within the body. Pitta is related to digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolic activity.
This dosha is formed by water and earth. It’s a combination of both cold and heavy qualities. Kapha relates to spring, sense of smell, stomach organ system, lymphatic fluid build-up in the body, and fat and semen. It governs reproduction, growth, structure, stability and lubrication of the body.
DOSHAS AND THE SEASONS
Here’s a look at how each dosha corresponds to one of the seasons:
Vata is associated with fall and the sense of sound; pitta with summer and the sense of sight; and kapha with spring and the sense of smell. Each dosha is associated with a specific season as well as an organ system within the body, which it governs.
VATA – WINTER & ENERGY EXCHANGE
In winter, air predominates in the environment. Because vata has a strong association with air, it’s predominant in the environment during winter. Since vata governs activity at a more subtle level, its effects are particularly noticeable during this time of year.
Ideally, energy exchanges with others should be balanced and fair. During winter, however, people tend to pull back into themselves which can lead to feelings of isolation or loneliness. When energy is not exchanged with others, it tends to get used up more quickly.
To combat imbalances brought about by low vata dosha levels in the winter, try to maintain a balance between giving and taking. Exercise can also help get rid of excess vata.
PITTA – SUMMER & THE HEARING MODE
Pitta and summer go together like bread and butter (well not really). Because pitta has a strong association with fire, it’s predominant in the environment during summer. Since pitta governs transformation within the body, you may find yourself becoming more introspective during this time of year. As an introvert, you may want to spend time meditating, or find some other solitude.
During summer, water predominates in the environment. Pitta governs activity that is more subtle than simply external physical movement; it also involves mental and intellectual energy (and has a controlling effect on all five senses). Therefore, pitta’s effects are particularly noticeable during this time of year.
To combat imbalances brought about by low pitta dosha levels in the summer, try to maintain a balance between giving and taking. Meditation can also help eliminate excess pitta.
KAPHA – SPRING & THE SMELLING ORGAN SYSTEM
Since kapha is associated with water, it’s predominant during spring; and because kapha governs the lubrication of the body, its effects are particularly noticeable this time of year.
Ideally, energy exchanges with others should be balanced and fair. During spring, however, people tend to over-indulge in food and sex which can lead to feelings of laziness or heaviness. When energy is not exchanged with others, it tends to get used up more quickly.
To combat imbalances brought about by low kapha dosha levels in spring, try to maintain a healthy balance between giving and receiving; yoga exercises such as the warrior pose can also help eliminate excess kapha. As much as you might enjoy spending time with friends this time of year, it’s important to take some time for yourself as well.