By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Dosha constitution i.e. body type is formed by predominant dosha(s) in embryo at time of conception. Since doshas form personality of an individual, strength, endurance and immunity of person is also determined on basis of predominance of dosha(s) in one’s constitution. Bala i.e. strength and immunity of person changes and is totally different in people belonging to different body types.
Read – Prakriti – Dosha Body Type Features As Per Master Charaka
Variability of strength
Variability of strength and immunity of person in different dosha constitutions
Dosha theory seems to be earliest explanation of genetic predisposition of an individual towards inheriting specific quality and quantity of strength. This is because dosha predominance in an individual is determined on basis of dosha predominance in sperm and ovum at time of conception.
Kapha and good immunity
Good strength and immunity in people with kapha predominant constitution
People with kapha constitution are said to have uttama bala i.e. good strength. They are blessed with very good physical strength, endurance and immunity. They are also said to have good mind strength and tolerance. Therefore synchronisation of body and mind which is most essential for comprehensive health is at its best in kapha predominant persons.
Read – Prakriti – Ayurveda Body Types, Importance In Treatment And Remedies
Kapha itself carries a synonym ‘bala’ and is synonymous with strength and immunity.
Being a representative of water and moon in the body, and a natural coolant, predominantly made up of earth and water elements, kapha is naturally protective, endearing, soothing and constructive in nature. It is predominantly functional and operative mainly in earlier 1/3 of one’s life immaterial of his or her predominant birth constitution. During this phase it helps in growth and development of an individual.
Read – Understand Kapha Dosha By Its Functions
Most of tissues belong to kapha category based on resident-residence relationship. Lymph, muscle, fat, bone marrow and semen are those tissues within which kapha reside. This makes five out of seven tissues belong to kapha.
Tissues are said to be main building blocks and structural components of the body. Their qualitative and quantitative balance is very essential for body to be in a state of perfect health. Balance of tissues also determines immunity power of an individual.
Read – Immunity In Ayurveda: Concept, Diet, Herbs, Medicines, Exercise
Kapha has bulk contribution towards strength and immunity of a person. It scores 5/7 in terms of tissue relation. Ojus, essence of all tissues, which is often compared to immunity is also a kapha group element and has similar characteristic features as that of kapha.
Kapha is natural body glue. As long as it is in balanced proportions it holds cells, tissues and structures bound together and contributes towards stability and strength of body.
Read – Kapha Body Type From Structural, Functional Mental And Social Viewpoint
When kapha decreases in quality and quantity, strength also decreases and person becomes susceptible to get many diseases. Even in pitta and vata predominant constitutions, kapha needs to be in a state of optimum balance as permitted by predominant doshas. If pitta and vata increases beyond normal limits in people of pitta predominant and vata predominant constitutions respectively, they will imbalance kapha. This would lead to wear and tear leading to inflammation and degeneration of body reducing strength and endurance of person.
Strength of person is often decided and determined on basis of exercise tolerance of person. People of kapha personality will have good exercise tolerance.
Read – How To Analyse Effects Of Exercise On Health? Ayurvedic View
Kapha people are also said to be serene by mind and are supposed to have good and lengthy lifespan.
Due to above mentioned aspects and owing to optimum strength and immunity leading to comprehensive health, kapha constitution is said to be best constitution.
Read – Balanced Doshas And Their Contribution To Comprehensive Health
Pitta Prakriti – Moderate immunity
Moderate strength and immunity in people with pitta predominant constitution
People with pitta constitution are said to have madhyama bala i.e. moderate strength. Their physical strength, endurance and immunity are also of moderate proportions. Pitta people have moderate proportions of mind strength and tolerance.
Comprehensiveness of body-mind health in totality can also be graded to be moderate. Pitta constitution can be considered as average of kapha and vata constitutions, in terms of strength and immunity. Pitta constitution, from strength and endurance point of view is neither strong and good as kapha nor as weak as vata constitution. It can be considered as second best, less virtuous in comparison to kapha and much better than vata.
Read – Pitta Body Type From Structural, Functional Mental And Social Viewpoint
Pitta is a representative of fire and sun energy in body. It is body’s natural heating system. Body needs to retain heat if it needs to live. Body heat is one of signs of life. Pitta is made up of combination of fire and water. Water has been provided as an associated element for fire and thus prevents fire from expressing in greater proportions. If fire expresses in high proportions there will be severe burnouts in body eventually leading to death. Water element is a natural buffer to the action of fire in pitta. This is nature’s balance system to protect body. Thus, body has been given fire element concealed in water or in association with water to carry on its activities.
Read – Relationship Between Doshas And Basic Elements (Pancha Mahabhuta)
Core fire in stomach is still in the form of dry fire in terms of having less water and more fire in comparison to other fires or pitta sub-types present elsewhere in the body. This is essential because stomach and intestine pitta has to digest food and convert it into nutrition juices, which in turn forms support to the body functioning.
Representatives of fire present in other four types of pitta and scattered all over body accomplish many physical and mental functions. Expression of knowledge and thought process is also under control of pitta. Heat regulation and metabolism is carried out by 13 kinds of fire, one located in stomach, 7 located in each of 7 tissues and 5 elemental fires. Stomach fire is in the form of pitta and supports other 4 sub-types of pitta. Pitta, by virtue of its metabolic and heat regulation functions provides strength, immunity and endurance to the body.
Read – Jataragni and Kayagni: Differences, Easy Understanding
Pitta is predominantly functional mainly in middle 1/3 of one’s life immaterial of his or her predominant birth constitution. During this phase it helps in metabolic processes, digestion of food, regulation and maintenance of body heat, expression of temperament, aggression, energy and zeal to live, survive and earn for living.
Pitta dominated phase of life is most active and productive phase wherein person is at top of his life game. He needs a lot of physical and mental drive, strength and energy since most of life-defining activities are accomplished during this age. This can be provided only by fire element in body which is located in the form of pitta.
Read – Sub Types Of Pitta Dosha – Importance, Salient Features
Based on resident-residence relationship pitta resides in blood tissue and thus gets only one tissue as its share among 7 tissues. Pathological variations taking place in each of pitta and blood has an impact on other. At same time, they also have functional relation, compatibility and cooperation with each other.
Blood forms medium of transportation of oxygen, nutrients and many other building blocks needed at various parts of body. Qualitative and quantitative balance of blood tissue is also said to be a sign of life. Many characteristics of blood in action are taken into account when pulse is palpated. This also is a determinant of intact life activities. We are called warm blooded animals because of temperature imparted by blood tissue due to presence of fire element in it in the form of pitta.
Read – Role Of Doshas In Blood Circulation, Nutrition And Aeration Of Body
Pitta keeps body activities going on through its principle functions of metabolism, combustion and regulation of heat. This determines strength to greater proportions in people having pitta constitution. Same pitta may be in lesser proportions in kapha constitution and varied proportions in vata constitution. But still pitta should be relatively balanced in those body types too without basic dosha making constitution being compromised.
When pitta decreases in quality and quantity, strength of pitta constitution people also decreases and person becomes susceptible to get many diseases. If kapha and vata increases beyond normal limits in people of kapha predominant and vata predominant constitutions respectively, they will imbalance pitta. This would lead to lowered metabolism in association of kapha and severe or impaired metabolism in association with vata.
Read – Pitta Kshaya Lakshana – Signs And Symptoms Of Pitta Decrease
Increased kapha would put off heat while increased vata would intensify fire. Both are dangerous scenarios. Weakened fire would lead to low digestion and low metabolism, less formation of nutritional juices and more formation of ama, i.e. metabolic toxins, causes blocks in channels and tissues hamper all activities of body and lead to manifestation of many diseases. Intense fire will burn food instead of digesting it, causes less production of nutritional juices, cause burnouts in body and severe inflammation leading to life-threatening complications including death. Both these conditions impair strength and immunity in pitta predominant persons.
People of pitta personality will have moderate exercise tolerance. They have spontaneous and aggressive minds and react hard to situations. They are supposed to have moderate quality of life and moderate longevity of life.
Read – 16 Lifestyle Changes Required After You Reach 30 (Your younger years are over. Let’s Face it!)
Due to above mentioned aspects and owing to moderate strength and immunity leading to moderate quality and quantity of health, strength and immunity, pitta constitution is said to be a moderate constitution. Moderate aspects of strength, health and other virtues in pitta dominant constitution are due to predominance of heat of pitta over protective water body of kapha. But since pitta is naturally provided with water in association with fire element, water body helps in reducing hyper-expression of fire element and buffering hyper-activity of pitta. Most of us are comfortable in cold season, at night and under moon, when we eat or drink something cold when compared to its hot counterparts. Same is case with kapha and pitta, kapha constitution naturally giving comfort zones to the body and mind in comparison to pitta. But no one controls constitution we inherit.
Read – Relationship of Water Element With Doshas And Lifespan
Vata Prakriti – least strength
Less strength and immunity in people with vata predominant constitution
People with vata constitution are said to have alpa bala i.e. less strength. Their physical strength, endurance and immunity are also of lesser proportions. Vata people have lesser proportions of mind strength and tolerance, but they are nevertheless weak by mind.
They have a fluctuate mind which is often indecisive. Comprehensiveness of body-mind health in totality can also be graded to be least. Vata constitution finds itself at bottom of table of rankings among constitutions, as a body type and also in terms of strength and immunity.
Read – Vata Body Type From Structural, Functional Mental And Social Viewpoint
Vata is a representative of air energy in body. It is responsible for uniform distribution of heat generated by pitta and coldness generated by kapha in body. This uniform distribution of pitta and kapha qualities, while not losing its own qualities by vata prevents over expression of heat or coldness in body. This keeps body environment balanced which contributes towards comprehensive well being.
Read – Understand Vata Dosha By Its Functions
Every function of body, mind and senses and their synchronization depends on balance of vata and way in which it controls all mechanisms in balanced way. Vata, in its state of balance also controls formation and functioning of all tissues, excretion of metabolic wastes, toxins and excreta and also controls pitta and kapha. No component of body is independent except vata and all components and their functioning is directly related to and coordinated by balanced vata.
Read – Vata Dosha – Mastermind Behind All Body And Mind Activities
Vata is made up of combination of air and ether elements. Since vata controls all components in body, it is also responsible for their transportation. As long as vata is travelling without obstruction in all channels of body and conducting its duties in a decent way, entire system enjoys a state of comprehensive health. Just as air we breathe is responsible for all life sustaining activities happening in body, just as we do not live when aeration of body is blocked, person would not exist if vata stops controlling body functions or if body is depleted of air element. Such is authority of vata in body.
Read – Panchamahabhuta: Application, Areas of Utility in Ayurveda treatment
Vata has balancing mechanism. While with pitta it acts in accordance to pitta and stimulates functions of pitta. Same is case when it gets associated with kapha. We can imagine air blowing through fire being warm and also that it intensifies fire. Similarly air passing through water source like a lake is cold and also adds up to coolness of water.
Vata is also counted as an important life source. Vata, by virtue of its all balancing and controlling capabilities provides strength, immunity and endurance to body.
Read – Nourishing, Depleting and Distributing Functions Of Tridosha (Visarga, Adana And Vikshepa)
Kapha in spite of governing most important tissues of body including ojus is life sustaining and contributes to stability, strength and immunity of an individual. Pitta by virtue of its metabolic and heat regulating functions becomes responsible for providing strength and endurance through manufacture of nutritional juices through sustained metabolic processes at gut and tissue levels. But vata, since it controls both kapha and pitta in body, takes away cream of dominance in all aspects of body. Thus it is called as energy and motivation needed to sustain all life activities and king of body.
Read – Qualities Of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha – Easy Explanation
Vata is predominantly functional mainly in final and terminal 1/3 of one’s life immaterial of his or her predominant birth constitution. By this time old age has set in. Physical strength and endurance of person has slowed down. Degeneration process is on high swing and there is gradual destruction of tissues, and deterioration of body and mind functions and also sensory perception. Metabolic activities and excretory functions take a beating. Due to depletion of tissues ojus forms in less quality and quantity which determines less immunity and endurance. Moreover, vata is antagonistic to kapha. Therefore there is kapha deterioration so as kapha group of tissues.
Read – Vata Increase Caused Due to Tissue Depletion: Dhatu kshaya
In vata constitution people ageing effects are quicker, in pitta constitution it is moderately quick and in kapha constitution people effects of ageing are experienced slowly because they have good immunity, tissue strength and physical endurance in comparison to other dosha constitutions. Therefore, in spite of vata dominating in old age, kapha people are fittest than pitta and vata constitutions. Pitta body types are comparably fitter than vata. Vata people are least fit, in fact weak in comparison to pitta and kapha constitutions, even when we consider people of these constitutions at same age.
Read – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Vata Dosha Body Type
Therefore when a person is reaching his or her senility, they need to take care of vata factor even before it has set in, immaterial of body constitution they have. Vata people have to take extraordinary caution in comparison to pitta and kapha people. They need to work out on their food, lifestyle, stress and rest factors and also should undergo vata mitigating therapies like herbal massages and enemas to keep vata at bay.
Read – Doshas And Ayurvedic Immunology
Pitta people also need to be considerably cautious regarding their ageing, though not in a way vata people need to be concerned. Living a happy and stress-free life with balance of food and exercise, Yoga, meditation, travelling, writing and getting into likeable activities and hobbies and dosha-specific timely interventions, good quantity of physical and mental rest and anti-ageing treatments and medicines will help in balancing strength and maintaining minimum immunity needed to conduct activities of daily living without help. This is applicable for all dosha constitutions.
With all this, modern world has been taking caution in terms of old age care and Ayurveda has a great role in handling age related problems and also in preventing damages when care is taken much ahead of onset of senility.
Read – Role Of Ayurvedic Doctors And Hospitals In Geriatric Care
Based on resident-residence relationship vata resides in bone tissue and thus gets only one tissue as its share among 7 tissues. Pathological variations taking place in each of vata and bone tissue has an impact on other. At same time, they also have functional relation, compatibility and cooperation with each other. Bones wear body.
Bones and bony joints form bulk of support system of the body. They form structural balance and helps in locomotion and smooth conduct of activities of daily living. Bone health is vital for leading life in a good way. Bone health is a point of concern in old age wherein vata dominates. Therefore bone and joint care is an integral part of old-age care.
Read – Low Bone Density Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Diet
Vata keeps body functions going in an uninterrupted way through its ability to control all activities, equal distribution and transportation of materials. Average strength of an individual much depends on balance of vata and way it controls all components and activities in body. This applies in terms of inter-relationship of vata with all components of body including pitta and kapha and is applicable for all constitutions.
But when we look at vata predominant Dosha constitution, strength, immunity and endurance of person will be less in comparison to other constitutions. This is also because vata is a strong force. When there is severe dominance of vata in body in terms of its vitiation, it destroys all tissues, blocks all channels of transportation and causes retrograde movement of components, just like a wide cyclone. This leads to deterioration of strength and immunity. As such, vata persons will have less strength and endurance inherited genetically.
Read – Vata Dosha – Introduction, 40 Things To Know
Vata constitution people should take care of their constitution with due respect and regards and have it in a state of balance at all times and all ages. As long as vata is in a state of balance in vata constitution, person is healthy and fit.
People of vata personality will have less exercise tolerance. In fact they should know their quality and quantity of exercise before getting into it. Excessive exercise is one of the main causes for vata aggravation. These people have fluctuating and inconsistent minds and react in weird and indecisive ways. They are over anxious people. They are supposed to have less quality and quantity of life in comparison to other body types.
Due to above mentioned aspects and owing to less strength and immunity leading to less quality and quantity of health, strength and immunity, vata constitution is said to be a less praised constitution.
Read – Dosha Prakriti Theory And Modern Genetics
Dual Dosha constitution
Strength and immunity status in people with dual dosha constitution
In general practice we most often find dual personalities, personalities with two doshas wherein one dosha is predominant, other one is associated and third dosha is recessive.
We basically have three types of dual constitutions. They are –
Vata – Pitta
In this combination, vata has less and pitta has moderate strength and immunity. But vata is predominant over pitta, pitta is secondary dosha in constitution and kapha is recessive. Vata is predominant and kapha is recessive means to tell that overall strength of this person is less.
Pitta-vata is its variant combination of dual constitution. But it is not counted as separate constitution. Here, pitta is higher than vata. Vata is secondary and kapha is recessive in this case. Since pitta is predominant and kapha is recessive, overall strength of this person is moderate.
Therefore overall strength and immunity of person with vata-pitta constitution and its variant will be mild to moderate.
Read – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Pitta Dosha Body Type
In this combination, pitta has moderate and kapha has optimum strength and immunity. But pitta is predominant over kapha, kapha is secondary dosha in constitution and vata is recessive. Pitta is predominant and kapha is secondary means to tell that overall strength of this person is moderate.
Kapha-pitta is its variant combination of dual constitution. But it is not counted as separate constitution. Here, kapha is higher than pitta. Pitta is secondary and vata is recessive in this case. Since kapha is predominant and pitta is secondary dosha, overall strength of this person is good.
Therefore overall strength and immunity of person with pitta-kapha constitution and its variant will be moderate to good.
Read – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Kapha Dosha Body Type
In this combination, kapha has maximum and vata has minimum strength and immunity. But kapha is predominant over vata, vata is secondary dosha in constitution and pitta is recessive. Kapha is predominant and vata is secondary means to tell that overall strength of this person is good. Pitta, whose strength is moderate, is recessive. Vata whose strength is less is secondary and kapha whose strength is maximum, is predominant and is also antagonist to vata. Thus vata and pitta are well under control in this dual constitution. Strength of person is optimum, so is endurance and immunity.
Read – Dosha Body Type Features As Per Master Sushruta (Prakriti Lakshana)
Vata-kapha is its variant combination of dual constitution. But it is not counted as separate constitution. Here, Vata is higher than kapha. Kapha is secondary and pitta is recessive in this case. Since vata is predominant and kapha is secondary dosha, overall strength of this person is less but is comparably good in comparison to ‘only vata’ constitution due to association of kapha.
Therefore overall strength and immunity of person with kapha-vata constitution and its variant will be good to moderately good.
Read – Dosha And Vikriti, The Pathology Of Diseases
Strength and immunity status in people with triple dosha constitution
It is also difficult to find a person with triple dosha constitution wherein all three doshas are in a state of balance. When all three doshas are in a state of utmost balance, person is said to have been blessed with optimum health, immunity and endurance. This is called sama sannipata Dosha constitution.
There is another condition called vishama sannipata. In this status there is relative imbalance of all three doshas. Strength and endurance of person in these conditions will depend on permutations and combinations of relative imbalance of doshas.