By Dr Raghuram Y. S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B. A. M. S
Likewise, tridoshas i. e. vata, pitta and kapha should work in coordination with each other so that all activities of body including those of tissues, channels and organs run smoothly. Read –Functions Of Doshas In Balance In The Body – Prakrita Dosha Karma
Vata is predominantly made up of air element and part of ether. Pitta is predominantly formed by fire and part of water element. Kapha is predominantly made up of water element and part of earth. Read – Panchamahabhuta: Application, Areas of Utility in Ayurveda treatment
In simple terms,
- Vata is air
- Pitta is fire and
- Kapha is water
But we know that these are opposite and antagonizing elements. Let us understand this concept in this way. Read – The Easiest Way To Understand Doshas
- When air is more, fire becomes more and both form a deadly combination and destroy body. Air and water combination increases coldness in body.
- When fire is more it heats up air component and also evaporates water. Thus buffer, protection and support system of body is lost with disintegration of body.
- When water becomes more, it puts off fire and causes blocks in body, including pathways of vata movement.
All these events are responsible for manifestation of many diseases, loss of strength and immunity, illnesses and also death.
This shows importance of synchronization between doshas in body to prevent disease processes.
Our body is such a beautiful creation wherein mutually antagonizing forces i. e. wind, fire and water, represented by vata, pitta and kapha exist under one roof, do their assigned duties and do not meddle with each other when they are in a state of equilibrium. Read – Purusha: Definition, Types, Characteristic Features
Mutual coordination and functional synchronization of doshas
If body functions have to run smoothly, vata, pitta and kapha i. e. air, fire and water forces of body should work with coordination. They should not meddle with each other’s functions; rather they should support each other.
We cannot put air and fire together and expect good things to happen. Likewise we cannot imagine water and fire to coexist. But this beautiful coexistence is seen in human body, amongst three doshas, until and unless they go out of proportions and balance.
Location of kapha, pitta and vata,
Kapha is located in upper part of body, above level of diaphragm. Chest, among all other seats of kapha is said to be predominant one. Organs of chest cavity i. e. lungs and heart form chief operating sites and seats for kapha. Read – Kapha Dosha Dominant Places in Our Body
Pitta is located in middle part of body, below diaphragm, in between heart and navel to be precise. This area is predominantly occupied by digestive organs including stomach, small intestine and liver. Navel forms chief operating site and seat of pitta. Read – Pitta Dosha Dominance In Different Body Parts – 8 Things To Know
Vata is located in lower zone of body, below navel. This area is occupied by large intestine and pelvic organs including urinary bladder in both men and women and uterus in female. Male and female genital organs are also located in this region. Colon forms chief operating site and seat of vata. Read –Vata Dosha Dominance In Different Body Parts – How it affects health?
If we see a broader picture, body is made up of –
- Upper kapha zone i. e. water zone
- Middle pitta zone i. e. fire zone
- Lower vata zone i. e. air zone
This also explains that fire is placed beneath water and air is placed below fire. Read –Upadhatus: Sub-Tissues Of The Body
Understanding dosha coordination with help of an example
Can we just imagine a traditional cooking method in which a pot filled with water and rice kept on an earthen stove?
The fuel in form of dry wood is put into orifice of stove and lit with fire. Air is blown through a tube made up of metal into burning fuel if fire is found to be low and sluggish. This would increase fire and help in cooking food properly. Read – Understanding Digestion Process From An Ayurveda View
If fire is good, water will evaporate while rice is boiled and rice is cooked at end. To strengthen fire and enable quick cooking, we need to take help of air, i. e. air should be blown to fire to enhance its capacity.
If combination of fire and air is out of balance than what is needed, water disintegrates in no time and rice gets over cooked. Therefore cook should know to strike balance of air and fire beneath water with rice.
If water is less and rice to be cooked is also less, it needs a small quantity of fire. If fire is more or air is more, rice gets charred due to quick disintegration of water. Read – How To Know That Your Digestion System Is Working Fine?
If fire and air are provided in a balanced way, but if there is large quantity of water than needed in pot, water boils, overflows and puts off fire.
If fire is less, it cannot cook even small quantity of rice. In such cases, fire needs to be given air to kindle it. If air is more and fire is less, it can either kindle fire or blow off fire. In either case food is not cooked properly. If fire is naturally more, it might not need help of air but cook should know when to detach pot of water and rice from fire to avoid charring. Read – Treatment For Dosha Imbalance, Ama – Ashtanga Sutrasthana 13
Now when we copy paste this example into body mechanics and activities, synchronization between kapha, pitta and vata takes place in same way.
Now let us see how this principle works in body!!
- Kapha = pot with water and rice
- Pitta = fuel and fire
- Vata = air blown to kindle fire
For all activities of body to run smoothly –
- The three doshas should be balanced in their seats
- The doshas should not meddle with activities of each other
Overall mutual impact of one dosha vitiation over other
Vata, placed at bottom of body is key for balance of other two doshas. If vata is in balance, pitta and kapha will be in balance and all activities of middle and upper compartments of body takes place smoothly. If vata increases, pitta too increases. This vicious combination of vata and pitta dries up kapha in upper compartment. Lungs, heart, sense organs and brain lose lubrication and protection. Many diseases are manifested in these systems due to this impact. Read – How To Balance Vata Dosha? Line Of Treatment And Reasoning
Since vata is controller of all forces in body, it can pull or push other doshas in body. When vitiated vata pulls kapha from upper zone, kapha moves downwards into vata zone. When it reaches here, it causes blockage of vata leading to impairment of many activities and many disorders. While moving down, kapha moves through pitta zone. While doing so, kapha pacifies and dilutes pitta. This leads to sluggish digestion, absorption and utilization of nutrients and many disorders of pitta origin.
Likewise, vitiated vata tends to move haphazardly in upward direction and disturb pitta and kapha causing many diseases in seats of pitta and kapha respectively.
When vata gets decreased, process of elimination of faeces and urine does not take place and lower blocks are created. As a result there is pressure over chest and abdomen leading to disturbance of functions of pitta and kapha. At same time, decrease in vata causes increase in kapha and vice versa disturbing other’s zones.
Pitta placed in central zone of body is responsible for all metabolic activities. It is important for maintenance of heat in body which is a sign of life. Food which pitta digests is source of nutrition. Read – Understand Pitta Dosha By Its Functions
When pitta individually gets vitiated in form of pathological increase, it causes burnouts everywhere in body leading to inflammation and related disorders. Heat encroaches kapha and vata seats and causes many diseases. Pitta drains and evaporates watery portions of kapha and causes dryness in kapha zones. This happens because fire which is in form of pitta tends to move upwards. When pitta gets association of high vata, destruction will be more. Support of chest and head organs decreases leading to many diseases of pitta origin. Pitta can also encroach vata zones and cause many inflammatory disorders in lower portions of body and pelvic organs.
This is evident by burning sensation in bowel while defecation, during urination, sex and menstruation, inflammatory pains in joints of hip, pelvis and lower limbs. All this would happen if heat component of pitta is increased. Read –How To Balance Pitta Dosha? Line Of Treatment
On other hand if liquid portion of pitta is increased, pitta gets diluted and would not be capable of digesting food immaterial of it being in a small quantity also. This would lead to indigestion, formation of ama and diseases related to these events.
Likewise when pitta decreases, it leads to indigestion and formation of ama. Ama is sticky byproducts of improper digestion of food. They form toxic compounds in due course of time and are put into circulation. They cause multiple blocks in channels of body and in all cells. Ama blocks pathways of vata and hinders many functions naturally conducted by vata including circulation and excretion.
This leads to deficit nutrition in body and accumulation of toxins leading to wide array of health disorders. Similarly less pitta leads to increase in kapha. This leads to increase of watery ingredients, blocks and congestion in upper portions of body.
Kapha is placed in upper zone of body, mainly in chest. Kapha is responsible for providing and maintenance of strength, endurance and immunity of body. It holds each and every structure in body together and enables structural integrity. Kapha is building block in body. It governs functions of chest organs and in maintenance of health of brain and sense organs.
If kapha increases, individually, in form of pathological increase it causes blocks and stagnations not only in chest but also in different parts of body. When this increased kapha goes out of proportions, it tends to flow in downward directions.
This happens because water body always flows towards gravity following laws of gravity. Since kapha represents water element in body, it gravitates downwards when it gets increased Read – Activities And Diet For Kapha Balance
First zone to be affected by this increased and overflowing kapha is pitta zone. This is because pitta zone is anatomically located just below kapha zone. Since kapha flows through pitta zone, it is as good as excessive water flushing over fire zone. Due to its cold and liquid nature which is antagonistic to hot nature of pitta, kapha dilutes pitta and makes it weak.
This weakened pitta loses its capacity to digest food in a proper way. This leads to indigestion, loss of appetite and many digestive disorders. This leads to deficit formation and supply of nutrients to body parts. Read – A simple home remedy to cure indigestion and improve appetite
When this kapha trespasses pitta zone and is further gravitated into vata zone, it causes blocks in lower parts of body and disturbs vata functions therein. When vata is blocked in its own territory and chief controlling station, it would not only choke local functions but also would have a gross impact on overall functions of body in a wrong way. This could be evident in formation of stones in urinary tract, constipation, polycystic ovarian diseases, prostatic hypertrophy, etc.
If watery element of kapha is vitiated it causes excessive fluidity and dampness in body. This would lead to putting off gut and tissue fires thereby slowing down activities in body. If earth element of kapha increases in comparison to water, there would be stagnation and multiple blocks. Read – Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies
If there is pathological decrease of kapha, it could be an impact of pitta decrease or vata increase. Symptoms too will be accordingly. Apart from this local symptoms related to chest organs would be evident. There is lack of support for functioning of heart and lungs. Vata would eventually increase in these areas and also in head and sense organs leading to dryness, organ fatigue, deterioration in their functioning, loss of oxygenation and nutrition to body parts, decrease in strength, endurance and immunity and manifestation of many diseases.
Localized mutual impact of one dosha vitiation over other
The human body has been so beautifully constructed from an Ayurvedic point of view. Doshas are not only allotted their specific zones, each zone of body also has all three doshas operating together by mutual coordination and synchronization.
Let us try to understand this by help of some examples.
In chest, which is chiefly a kapha zone, avalambaka kapha to be precise, udana vata and sadhaka pitta are also located. Free expansion and contraction of lungs leading to proper breathing mechanism and oxygenation of blood, pumping action of heart wherein oxygen and nutrients are supplied to all corners of body uniformly depend on synchronized functions of these dosha subtypes.
In abdomen, pitta zone i. e. middle zone of body, pachaka pitta does digestion of food when it is in a state of balance. This function of pitta would not be easy if food weren’t moistened by kledaka kapha present in stomach. Likewise quality and strength of pitta with which it digests food depends on coordination it has with local vata of digestive zone i. e. samana vata. Samana vata keeps digestive fire in form of pachaka pitta kindled and enables it to digest food properly. presence of kledaka kapha also helps in providing protection to stomach and intestines from corrosive action of pitta.
Similarly pumping out and receiving in of blood by heart is enabled by synchronized functioning of avalambaka kapha, ranjaka pitta, udana vata and vyana vata.
The functions of brain and sense organs are carried out by mutual coordination of local subtypes of doshas in head i. e. prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha. Thoughts, memory and intelligence of an individual are also dependent on synchronized functions of these dosha subtypes located in head.
Apart from this, when doshas reside at same place, one dosha tries to balance other when it goes out of control. Example, corrosive and burning action of pachaka pitta in stomach is counteracted by kledaka kapha, properties of kapha being antagonistic to those of pitta. Similarly tarpaka kapha in brain buffers and counteracts hyperactivity of sadhaka pitta and prana vayu.
Coordination and synchronization of doshas in every single unit of body
All functions of body are under control of balanced doshas. Each dosha is allotted a different predominant zone and centre of governance. Each subtype of doshas is also given different seats. But all doshas are all pervading. We can tell that vata, pitta and kapha are present in each and every cell of body. Same functions which are carried at grosser level in body are carried out in minute form within cell spaces by three doshas.
Kapha supports cells and helps in nutrition, maintains an ideal environment within cell for its existence. Water content inside and outside cells represents kapha. They prevent shocks in and out of cells and contribute towards cellular and tissue integrity. Cell to cell cementing is provided by balanced kapha.
Pitta carries out metabolic activities in cell. It processes nutrition and building elements entering cell and makes it suitable and conducive for given cell and its existence. It is responsible for maintenance of heat in cell which in turn reflects healthy state of given group of cells.
Vata carries on all activities taking place in cell and coordinates them. It also takes control of functions of pitta and kapha in cells. Entry and exit of materials into and outside cell are monitored by balanced vata.