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Prakriti - body constitution

Ayurvedic Medicine


Ayurvedic Medicine

Prakriti / Constitution

Ayurvedic Medicine


According to Ayurveda, the unique prakriti (constitution) of an individual is comprised of three primary "life-forces". These three life-forces commonly known as the Tridoshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and can be compared to air, fire and water respectively. The doshas are spread all over the body and regulate physical functioning and provide particular physical characteristics. 

Though each person is made up of the three doshas, the proportion varies between individuals. The proportion of doshas in a person is determined at the time of conception. The doshas predominant in the sperm, the ovum and the uterus decide the unique constitution of the individual. 

The prakriti of a person is primarily determined by the dominant dosha. For example - a person who has Vata as the predominant dosha is generally tall and thin, has a poor memory, is fearful, anxious, and nervous, has dry skin and a variable appetite. The predominant dosha can be any one of the three, two combined together or all the three in a balanced form, thus forming seven types of constitutions:

Health, according to Ayurveda, is the state of equilibrium of the three doshas. So, once a person knows about his constitution, he can choose a diet, lifestyle and activities which restricts imbalance in the doshas. 

For example, a person with a Pitta (fire) constitution may eat a lot of hot foods (like chilies and spices), smoke cigarettes, or drink a lot of tea, coffee or alcohol. As these elements increase Pitta, it will cause an imbalance of doshas in the body. The person may then suffer from Pitta disorders like urinary tract infections, fevers, skin problems or liver diseases. 

On the other hand, an anti-Pitta diet and lifestyle will allow the person to stay happy and healthy. So, to prevent disease and attain longevity, it is important to determine one's constitution and choose a diet, lifestyle,  exercise, gems, aromas etc. accordingly.

The knowledge of constitution also plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. For example, a Vata type person is more likely to have Vata related disorders like arthritis, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, dry skin, paralysis, migraine, palpitation and weak memory.  

This assessment also assists in determining the appropriate treatment. For example, a Kapha type person can easily tolerate medicine which is hot in nature, in contrast to a Pitta (fire) type as a Pitta type already has lots of heat in their body. 

The knowledge of one's constitution is very important, not only to determine healthy eating habits and lifestyle, but also in prescribing treatment in case of any disease.

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