Prakriti means nature, character and constitution.
People are born with various proportions of Doshas. Their body constitution is understood accordingly.
Prakriti is decided when conception takes place and remains constant throughout one’s life.
The nature or the character of an individual is known as Prakriti.
Prakriti is that which remains constant from birth till death, formed at the time of development of the fetus. This non-pathological increase of Doshas in an individual remains constant throughout his life.
Types of Prakriti
Prakriti is primarily divided into two types
1. Doshaja Prakriti – Humoral constitution
2. Gunaja Prakriti – Psychological constitution
Dosha Prakriti is of 7 types –
4. Vata Pittaja
5. Vata Kaphaja
6. Kapha Pittaja
7. Vata Pitta Kaphaja
The first three constitute single Dosha constitutions (Eka Doshaja Prakriti). These are very rare. Among these three,
Vata constitution is considered bad (heena).
Pitta constitution is considered moderate (madhyama).
Kapha constitution is considered best (uttama).
The next three constitute dual humoral constitutions (Dwandvaja Prakriti). Most of us possess this type of constitution. It is said to be denounced (nindya).
The 7th type is called a balanced constitution (Sama Dosha Prakriti). This type of constitution is also rare as a balance between all the three doshas is very hard to achieve owing to unhealthy diet and lifestyle. This type of constitution is considered superior (sreshta).
Gunaja Prakriti is of 3 types –
Mental faculty is of three types – Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik.
The Satvik one is free from defects as it is endowed with auspiciousness.
The Rajasik type is defective because it promotes wrathful disposition.
The Tamasik one is similarly defective because it suffers from ignorance.
Single Dosha body types – purely Vata, purely Pitta and purely Kapha types of body constitutions are extremely rare. Persons with such body constitutions always suffer from diseases.
Most of us have mixed type of body constitution – combination of 2 Doshas with only just a few symptoms of the third Dosha.
Body constitution with a balanced proportion of all 3 doshas is also very rare. A person with such a body constitution very rarely suffers from diseases.
Knowing the three Ayurveda Body Types (Doshas) can help a person understand his or her personality. Each person contains a unique combination of the three Doshas that define their temperament and characteristics. Listed below are the three Dosha body types and their corresponding elements. It is important to keep in mind that no one has only one of the three types. Usually people have mixed Ayurveda body types – like Vata-Pitta body type, Pitta – Kapha etc.
Dosha Prakriti Vs Rajas, Tamas
How does Ayurveda regulate both physical and psychological factors in Prakriti? For example, the body is Vata-Kapha and the mind is Tamas and Rajas.
Based on mental characteristics, we can categorize people under Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik groups.
A simple example –
Spiritually oriented, truthful person = Satvik
Angry, aggressive person = Rajasik and
Lazy, excessively sleepy person = Tamasik type.
But these characteristics can be analyzed even with the prism of Tridosha.
Prakruti analysis also considers the mental factors under the realm of Tridosha only. For example, excessive talkative nature, roaming nature, changing decisions are features of Vata type.
Short temper, sensitivity, dominant, argumentative nature are features of Pitta type
Calm, composed, calculative mind, organized mind are features of Kapha type.
Hence, during a Prakriti analysis exercise, there is no need to bring in Satva, Rajas and Tamas. If you want to do categorize based on Satva etc, it can be a separate analysis.
Vata body type
People with a dominant Vata body type possess the qualities that many people associate with air – variability, mobility, and dryness. They are unpredictable, impulsive, and energetic.
They can also be impulsive, have short friendships, and may start projects without finishing them. They are also quite active in sports.
The Vata body type is slender with small features, with cool dark skin and hair.
Pitta body type
Those with a dominant Pitta body type have the qualities of fire – intensity, fluidity, and lightness. Their actions are more predictable, but they can be quite passionate and aggressive.
They have alert, brilliant minds with excellent memories. They are also very responsible with decisions and organization but can be rather judgmental and critical. They are moderately sportive in physical activities.
The Pitta body type is medium-sized and muscular with average features. They usually have fine hair that is fair or reddish in color.
Kapha body type
Like water, those with a dominant Kapha body type are smooth, stable, and calm. They have relaxed temperaments and are slow to anger.
They are patient, loyal, and forgiving of others.
They are slower learners but have strong memories. They take time to make decisions, sometimes even procrastinating.
The Kapha body type is heavy and strong, but has the tendency to be overweight. They have thick, pale skin, large features, and voluminous hair.
Having too much of one Dosha can lead to diseases. For example, a person with too much Vata could have dry skin or insomnia. Too much Pitta could cause heart burn, acne, or ulcers. Too much Kapha could lead to obesity, sinus congestion, or asthma.
Your Ayurvedic physician can prescribe a special diet and Ayurvedic products for you to help you balance your Doshas, based on your Ayurveda body types. The best body type is the one that has all three Doshas in balance.
Article by Patricia Duggan
Importance of knowing Prakriti
What are the benefits of knowing Ayurveda body types:
1. It helps Ayurvedic doctor to know the diseases that a person is prone to get.
Example: People with Pitta body type usually suffer from excessive burning sensation and gastric problems.
2. It helps in choosing the right type of Ayurveda diet and other habits.
Example: Hot water bath is suited for people with Kapha, Vata and Vata-Kapha body types. Cold water bath is suited for Pitta body type.
3. It helps Ayurvedic doctor to judge the severity of the diseases and forecast the effectiveness of the treatment.
Example: In a Vata body type person, Vata disorders such as Osteo Arthritis may be difficult to treat.
Doshas form our constitution – They are naturally present in our body from the time of our birth. One or the other among the 3 doshas is predominant in each of us and we are said to belong to that particular constitution.
Example, if Vata is more in us in comparison to Pitta and Kapha, we belong to Vata Prakriti or Vata constitution or Vata-Predominant-Constitution to be precise. If, in the permutation and combination of doshas, if Vata is highly predominant, pitta being the next predominant and kapha being the recessive dosha, the person belongs to Vata-Pitta dual constitution.
On this basis, Prakriti is said to be of 7 types based on the predominant doshas which make up our constitution. They are:
3 Single Prakritis (1 dosha is predominant) – Vata, Pitta and Kapha Prakritis
3 Dual Prakritis (2 doshas predominant) – Vata-Pitta (or Pitta-Vata), Vata-Kapha (or Kapha-Vata) and Pitta-Kapha (or Kapha-Pitta) Prakritis
1 Triple Prakritis (all 3 doshas predominant in equal proportions) or Sama Prakriti – Vata-Pitta-Kapha Prakriti
How to know your body type?
There are many websites which offer this service for free. You can also find one such test in my book – Tridosha – The Basic Principle of Ayurveda.
Remember: Ayurveda body types are valid only in healthy persons. But in a disease condition, the Dosha dominance is more important than the body type. So, when an Ayurvedic doctor suggests Ayurvedic products for you, it does not make much sense to ask him, whether it suits your body type.
Can we change our Dosha Body Type?
Body type is decided when the conception happens. We get it from the virtues of our parents.
So, it is fixed and cannot be changed. Having said that, the effect of Dosha body type on our health can be very well manipulated.
However, the effect of Prakruti on our body can be tweaked.
Prakriti and Physical Activities
For Vata body types:
As per Ayurveda, exercise is recommended for all healthy individuals as part of healthy daily routine. Vata body types are usually hyperactive. Hence, they need to decrease their body and mental activities. Hence, it is best for them to take up walking, Yoga, aerobics etc activities which require systematic and rhythmic movement of body parts.
Vata people love music. Hence, it is good for them to take up classical dance forms which require systemic movement of the body.
Vata people cannot tolerate excessive exercise. Hence, it is best to restrict their physical activity for just 10-20 minutes per day.
If they cultivate habit of taking sesame oil and ghee regularly, then the time period and range of physical activities can be increased.
For Pitta body types:
Pitta body types have excessive body heat and they sweat a lot. Hence, for them, indoor activities are more suited than outdoor games. It is also good if they can do exercise in an air conditioned room.
Water games, swimming, etc, which cools down the body is good for them.
Yoga poses which does not cause them excessive sweating is ideal.
Light to moderate intensity aerobics is suited.
For Pitta body types, moderate amount of exercise – for a period of 30-45 minutes is recommended.
If they cultivate the habit of taking ghee regularly, then the time period and range of physical activities can be increased.
For Kapha body types –
Their body can tolerate good amount of exercise. Hence, they can do exercise for 45 – 60 minutes per day, or even more, depending on their strength and capacity.
For them, any fast movement activities such as outdoor games, gym, etc are useful.
Only care that they have to take is, not to indulge in swimming etc coolant exercise activities during winter and spring. Cold quality can worsen Kapha.
Factors affecting Doshas
The below taste chart summarises the effect of taste on Dosha
|Dosha||Increases By||Decreases By|
|Vata||Bitter, Astringent, Pungent||Sweet, Salt, Sour|
|Pitta||Sour, Salt, Pungent||Sweet, Astringent, Bitter|
|Kapha||Sweet, Salt, Sour||Bitter, Astringent, Pungent|
Herbs, diet and medicines – There are a lot of them to minimize the effect of Dosha on body.
Ayurvedic therapies – If someone is of Vata body type, if he undergoes oil massage at least once a week, he can prevent his future joint pains.
If someone is Kapha body type, if he can undergo powder massage – called Udvartan or Ubtan regularly, he can avoid obesity.
Other factors affecting the Dosha dominance in our body
A particular disease, say, Asthma with Kapha and Vata Dosha increase, in a person of Pitta body type.
Arid – Vata,
Normal and Sunny – Pitta
Moist – Kapha
Time of the day and night
In the first one third of day and night, Kapha is dominant, in middle one third, Pitta and last one third, Vata.
|Day & Night||Dominant Dosha|
Refer to this table to get to know how Doshas are dominant in different seasons.
|Vata||Summer (Greeshma)||Rainy (Varsha)||Autumn (Sharat)|
|Pitta||Rainy (Varsha)||Autumn (Sharat)||Early winter (Hemanta)|
|Kapha||Winter (Shishira)||Spring (Vasanta)||Summer (Greeshma)|
In the first 25-30 years, naturally Kapha will be dominant. in the middle age, Pitta and after 60, Vata will be dominant, irrespective of our body types.
A Kapha person working under sun for days together will have Pitta dominance in his body.
Eating habits – A Kapha person eating spicy foods will have Pitta dominance in his body.
So, though we are born with a particular Dosha body type configuration, we can change it using the above factors.
Body type and disease susceptibility
How Your Body Type Affects Chances Of Disease (And How To Take Care Of It)
Your body type makes you choose or dislike certain types of foods and activities. Your body type has an influence on your mindset. Your body type also has its role in proneness (susceptibility) to certain diseases.
The Dosha body types can be explained in simple statements.
There are three main types.
Vata – lean, always moving, roughness in skin, prominent veins, weak joints, feeling cold, quick learning but easy forgetting etc.
Pitta – redness, anger, emotional, sweaty, moderate built, high hunger etc.
Kapha – heavy built, slow walker, slow decision maker, good memory, firm joints, slow to get angry etc.
These Doshas – in combination,
Double Dosha Body types
Vata-Pitta body type,
Pitta-Kapha body type,
Vata-Kapha body type,
And all three together – Tridosha body type.
The people with Tridosha body type and single Dosha body types are quite rare. Most of us fall into double Dosha body types.
Diseases susceptibility and Dosha body types:
Single Dosha Body type:
In a Vata person, from birth, Vata has a natural dominance on his body. This means that the person is easily prone to Vata disorders such as arthritis, neurological disorders, bodyache, bloating, tinnitus, tremors, skin dryness etc.
And if he gets afflicted with these Vata disorders it will be very difficult to treat, because already Vata is very high in him and it will suppress Pitta and Kapha Dosha and exhibit more pronounced Vata symptoms .
In the same way, a Pitta body type person will always be prone to burning sensation, gastritis, sour belching, excess sweating, increased body temperature, red vesicles, jaundice, stomatitis, bleeding disorders, menorrhagia, etc.
Similarly, a Kapha body type person will be prone to anorexia, drowsiness, laziness, indigestion, obesity, phlegm adhering to throat etc.
So, in single Dosha body type person, a mild causative factor of respective Dosha, leads to a big disease.
For this reason, single Dosha body type person is called as Sadatura – they always have one or the other kind of illness.
A Vata person complains of knee pains after walking for a while, though he looks healthy, otherwise.
A Pitta person will complain of intense burning sensation upon mild exposure to sunlight.
A Kapha person complains of cold soon after eating an ice cream.
In a two-Dosha body type person,
Before you go further, if you read this article, you will understand better. How to understand Tridosha by its qualities?
In Vata-Pitta person, there are some qualities that are opposite. Like, coldness of Vata is opposing hotness of Pitta. This causes mutual nullifying effect. Of course, there are some similar qualities, adding up, like lightness. If we consider qualities of Vata and Pitta together, the sum effect on the body is not as profound as single Dosha body type person. Hence, disease susceptibility is lesser.
In Pitta-Kapha person, hotness of Pitta opposes coldness of Kapha, sharpness of Pitta opposes mildness of Kapha, lightness of Pitta opposes heaviness of Kapha etc. But both Pitta and Kapha have oiliness (unctuousness) and liquidity. Hence, disease susceptibility is lesser than single Dosha body type.
In Kapha Vata person, lightness of Vata opposes heaviness of Kapha, mobility of Vata nullifies the stability of Kapha. But coldness of both propel each other.
So, overall, in double Dosha body types, proneness to a disease is lesser.
In Tridosha body type, because all the three doshas are (almost) in equal proportions, the opposing qualities of each Dosha nullify each other and hence, proneness of disease is very less. Hence, these lucky guys are called Anatura.
Methods to balance Doshas
Balancing the mental facets:
Vata – Try to be organized. write down your thinking process. Do not just think about something and act on it swiftly, (though your body type pushes you to do so).
Pitta – control your anger
Kapha – rapid chess competition, put deadlines and time-frames to all your works.
Health advice and remedies
Vata person has Roughness, dryness of skin, body parts are cold to touch Advice: – regular oil massage followed by steam
Pitta person’s skin is warm to touch, excess facial marks, freckles, black moles
Advice – facial creams, sandalwood paste, skin remedies and medicines
Kapha person has oily skin, cold to touch, soft, tender, tenderness and clarity of complexion
Advice: Powder massage, Lepa – creams, less of oil massage
Vata Dosha – Roughness, dryness, unpleasant, unattractive body shape (lack of photogenic body)
Advice: Oil massage, Intake of ghee, oils in food, Cosmetics usage
Pitta Dosha – reddish tongue, lips, palms and feet, unattractive, wrinkled skin
Advice: Coolant oil massage –
Kapha Dosha: Soft Pleasing appearance, the limbs are proportionate and symmetrically developed Oiliness, smooth borders
Advice: Occasional powder massage (Ubtan)
Hair, nails, moustache |
Vata – Rough, dry, less, thin moustache,
Advice: Regular hair oil application (Kuntalakanti hair oil, Neelibhringadi
Pitta – Soft, less – hair, moustache, body hairs, Coppery red nails Early greying, early balding / loss of hairs
Advice: Wear caps going under Sun, coolant hair oils – coconut oil, Amla hair oil, Neelibhringadi
Kapha – Abundant, oily hair
Male and female health
Vata – Low aphrodisiac health.
Advice: ghee and oil based, sweet aphrodisiacs Chagalyadi Ghrita, Ashwagandhadi
Pitta – Low semen and ova, low sexual desire and less off-springs Advice: Sweet, coolant aphrodisiacs Kushmanda Avaleha, Kumaryasavam Ikshuradi Lehyam, Eladi Vati
Kapha – Higher quality and quantity of sperm and ovum, more desire, more children
Advice: Seasonal Aphrodisiac care with Ashwagandha, Shilajit.
Vata – Cracked palm, feet, lean, underweight, dwarf
Mobile Unstable joints- eyes, eye brows, jaw, lips, tongue, head, shoulder, hands and legs, mind
Advice: Oil massage, steam therapy, oil and ghee intake
Pitta – Tender, clear body parts, yellowish tinge to body, brittle body parts
Advice: Oil massage, sweets, nourishing diet
Kapha – Firmness, compactness and stability
Advice: Exercise, less oil massage, powder massage
Vata – Prominent veins
Advice – Oil massage, protein rich diet
Pitta – Fleshy smell, putrid smell of axilla, mouth, head and body in excess
afflicted with suppuration in the cavity of the mouth. – frequent oral ulcers, oral thrush
Advice – Coolant foods, use of sandalwood, Triphala, Usheera etc.
Kapha – Dense Plumpness and roundness of all organs
Advice – Exercise, Yoga
Vata – Swift
Advice – Practice slowness,
Practice methodology, think slow, breathing exercises
Pitta – Moderate
Advice: Improve memory and intelligence
Kapha – Slow
Advice: Walk fast, think fast, talk fast, play rapid chess, try to decide faster.
Hunger and thirst
Vata – Sometimes less, sometime more
Advice – ghee, spices, oils in diet, eat at regular intervals
Pitta -Excessive hunger and thirst, strong digestion power
Advice – avoid fasting, avoid spices
Kapha – Low
Advice – include spices, Exercise, Fasting
Vata – Oscillating
Advice – Take time at regular intervals, take oils and fats. Take sweet, sour and salt foods
Pitta – Large quantities, Greedy eater
Advice – Control over-eating, take sweet, bitter and astringent foods
Kapha – Slow
Advice Exercise, spices, fasting to improve hunger.
Take astringent, spicy and bitter foods.
Mental aspects / Anger / mood
Vata — Quick to get irritated
Quick in likes and dislikes, Stealing tendency, jealous
Fond of music, Quick to get angry
Advice: Yoga and Pranayama, Shirodhara
Head massage with oils
Pitta -inability to face difficult situations, intolerant, short temper, calms down quickly
Advice: Anger controlling measures, Pranayama
Kapha – Slow to get irritated, long enmity, can tolerate pain and discomfort
Advice: Keep the mind active with games like chess, outdoor games etc.
Vata – Quick to understand quick to forget
Wailing, moaning, complaining grieving for small matters, incoherently, without any reason.
Advice: Brahmi Ghrita, Yoga Pranayama
Advice: Raisins, sugarcane, sweets, ash gourd
Kapha – Slow to understand, slow to forget
Advice – Try to read fast, try to write fast,
Try to understand fast
Walking / gait
Vata – constant crackling sound from joints, wandering, walks fast
Advice: Regular oil massage, try to walk slow
Pitta – medium.
Advice: Use an umbrella to protect from direct sun
Authoritative gait, stable gait with the entire sole of the feet pressing against the earth
Advice: Try to walk fast
Vata – Mobile Unstable joints
Advice – Daily oil massage
Pitta – Looseness and softness of joints and muscles;
Advice: Daily oil massage
Kapha – Compact and stable joints
Advice: Walking and exercises to avoid stiffness
Vata — Less sweating.
Advice – oil massage and steam.
Pitta – sweat, urine and feces in large quantity
Advice – Use of usheera, Triphala, Sariva, Turmeric
Kapha – Less sweating
Advice – Exercise, Sweating treatments
Vata – dry, low pitch, broken, obstructed and hoarse voice
Advice – Kantakari ghrita
Pitta – Moderate
Advice – Shwasara lehyam, Avipatthikara churna, Ghee
Kapha – Soft, deep, oily voice
Advice – Regular singing and speaking practice
Vata – Excess talk
Advice – Try to enjoy and respect silence
Pitta – Smart, sharp talk
expert, intelligent, sharp mind
intimidating while talking, tries to control the argument with his words
Advice – Try to be friendly and less argumentative
Kapha – less talk, pleasant talk
Advice – Try to talk more
Vata – vision is not stable, eyes move all the time
Advice – Triphala Ghrita
Pitta – Coppery red eyes
Advice – Saptamrit Lauh, Triphala Ghrita, coolant foods, rose water eye wash
Kapha – Stable eyes, Shukla Aksha – white part of eyes are very white
Advice – Triphala water eye wash
Question – With so many other factors entering into the dosha of a person, how much importance is given to inheritance?
Dosha dominance varies as per age,
Dosha varies as per season, regions,
Dosha varies as per particular disease.
Knowing Prakruti helps to estimate what is natural to a person and what is unnatural.
Prakriti importance decreases with age.
Prakriti importance decreases when a person suffers from a chronic disease.
Prakrthi will have at least 10 -20 % impact throughout our lives.
Factors determining Prakriti
8 Factors That Decide Dosha Body Type (Prakriti) – Examples
Prakriti is the nature of a person. It is called Dosha body type in modern terms. It is decided when the conception happens between sperm and ovum. The physical and mental characters that we inherit from our parents can be classified into specific types based on Dosha analysis.
The Dosha analysis helps to group people into different Prakruti / body types.
Dosha type (Prakruti) knowledge helps to know
a. Which diseases the person is more prone to.
Eg: Vata body type person is more prone to osteo arthritis, joint pains
Pitta persons are more prone to gastritis, burning sensation, excess body heat etc.
Kapha persons are more prone to obesity, lethargy, cough, cold, asthma etc.
b. Strength and immunity of a person
Eg: Among the three Doshas, immunity and strength of a
Kapha person is highest
Pitta person is moderate
Vata Prakriti person is low.
c. Which medicines may produce what effects in a person (hot medicines in Pitta Prakruti – not ideal)
Mental aspects of the person
d. Nature of the person
Eg: Vata person – altering thoughts,
Pitta person – intellectual
Kapha person – long standing decisions
Single Dosha persons are rare
Double Dosha persons are common
All three doshas in perfect balance is rare but is the healthiest, because the Dosha variations in such a person does not occur very easily. This is because the opposing qualities of each Dosha nullifies each other.
Factors that determine Prakruti
(Charaka Vimana 8th chapter/ 95 Shloka)
Shukra Shonita Prakriti:
Characters inherited from Shukra (sperm of father) and Shonita (ovum of mother)
Kala Garbhasaya Prakriti:
Characters formed during the intra-uterine life.
At what age of the mother did the conception happen?
At what season did the conception happen? Etc.
This may be due to
1) Kala- Dosha predominance during Dharana kala of Garbha (i.e during pregnancy)
2) Garbhashaya- The condition of the Uterus during pregnancy.
Maatru Aahara Vihara Prakriti: The diet and behavior of the mother during pregnancy. If the desires of the pregnant woman are not fulfilled, the child will develop untoward characters right from birth.
Mahabhoota Vikara Prakriti:
The Mahabhootas which are predominantly present during the pregnancy will give rise to their respective prakritis.
Eg: If Prithwi (earth) and Jala (water) is predominant, a KAPHA prakriti child is likely to be born.
If air and ether – Vata Prakruti
If fire and water – PITTA prakriti child will be born.
Jaati Prasakta Prakriti: Racial Peculiarities – skin colour, built of the body etc
Kula Prasakta Prakriti: Familial Peculiarities – different physical and mental traits that run in a family due to genetics
Dosha Anupaatinee Prakriti: Natural variation of Doshas
Vayo Anupaatini Prakriti:
Natural changes according to age. Though the entire Prakriti is not changed, the age will bring about some natural changes. An old person originally belonging to Kapha Prakriti will look like a Vata Prakriti person due to the predominance of Vata in the old age.