By Dr. Regina Antony
As per Ayurveda, the three Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha dominate, in sequential orders with regards to lifespan, food digestion time, day and night.
As per Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 1st chapter,
Though a balanced state of Doshas in the body is essential to maintain good health, they vary naturally based on the age of a person, time of the day and according to the phase of digestion.
In a person’s life,
Childhood is dominated by Kapha,
Middle age is dominated by Pitta,
Old age is dominated by Vata.
During the day and in night (separately),
First part is dominated by Kapha,
Second part is dominated by Pitta and
Third part is dominated by Vata.
While eating and during digestion,
First part (gastric phase) is dominated by Kapha,
Second part (intestinal phase) is dominated by Pitta and Third part (colonic phase) is dominated by Vata.
|Middle age |
|Old age(~60 |
|Mid night||Late night|
|Intestinal phase |
|Colonic phase |
Doshas and age
Variation of Doshas based on age –
In the first 25-30 years of life, Kapha will be naturally dominant in all people. The predominance of Kapha during childhood and adolescence helps in nourishment and growth of body tissues.
This is one of the reasons why children suffer from weak digestion and respiratory disorders like cold and cough, early in the childhood.
Hence, it is a good idea to include a small amount of spices in this period. Spices keep Kapha in balance, promote the healthy functioning of digestion and respiratory system.
Read related – Activities And Diet For Kapha Balance
The first two decades is the time period with maximum body growth. Hence, care should be taken to include a variety of high nutrition food during this period. The food should have good amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and even fats.
One may argue that, high nutrition diet can increase Kapha further. This slight increase in Kapha due to high nutrition diet is balanced down by the use of spices in diet. Because there is rapid body growth, fully nourished Kapha Dosha will be very useful to promote the nourishment and growth of all the body tissues.
In the mid part of lifespan, i.e. between 25 to 60 years of age,Pitta dosha will be naturally dominant. Middle aged people are more prone to suffer from Pitta related conditions like gastritis, burning sensation, early greying of hairs etc.
During this period of life, Pitta calming diet, with fewer amounts of spices and more amounts of sweet, astringent and bitter foods should be advised. Some of the advisable ingredients to balance down Pitta are – raisins, sweet fruits, pomegranate, pointed gourd, cucumber, milk, dairy products, ghee etc.
Read related – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Pitta Dosha Body Type
Above 60 years of age, Vata will be dominant, irrespective of our body types. In old age, people very often suffer from degenerative diseases like weak memory, brain tissue degeneration, lack of sleep, osteoarthritis, which is due to the predominance of Vata. Hence old people should be encouraged to undergo oil massage and to take more of oils, fats, ghee, sweet and sour foods.
Read related – Diet And Lifestyle Advice For Vata Dosha Body Type
Usage of ghee and coconut oil in diet helps to promote memory and sleep very well.
Sesame oil is the ideal cooking oil, as it is the best ingredient to balance Vata Dosha.
Doshas and time
Variation of Doshas based on time of the day –
If day and night are divided into three equal parts each, the first part is Kapha dominant, the second part is dominated by Pitta and the last part by Vata.
During olden times, people used to have only two meal times. At around 10-11 am and 7-8 pm.
As they were following only two meal times, both breakfast and dinner were of equally high in nutrition.
11 am was considered ideal, as this is the time the Kapha domination in the day would end and Pitta would get stimulated. This high state of Pitta helps to digest the breakfast very efficiently.
During night, at around 7 or 8, just ahead of Kapha dosha dominance, dinner was consumed.
In this modern day with three meal time becoming pretty much the norm, highly nutritious diet in the morning, moderate quantity, Pitta calming diet in the afternoon and lesser quantity of food at night is recommended.
Doshas and time
Variation of Doshas based on phase of digestion
Based on the period of digestion of food, the first part of digestion is Kapha predominant. Hence, we feel full, heavy and sleepy soon after meals.
Second part of digestion is Pitta predominant. During this period, the food particles from stomach enter into intestines, where major part of digestion takes place, under the influence of Pachaka Pitta Dosha.
The third part of digestion is Vata predominant. During this period, the digested nutritious part of food is absorbed into the body. The waste part enters into the large intestine. Here, the watery portion is re-absorbed and feces are formed under the influence of Samana Vata and Apana Vata.
Read related – Formation Of Doshas In Avastha Paka
Doshas and season
Variation of Dosha based on season
Doshas respond to changes occurring in seasons in form of undergoing increase and decrease.
In response to seasons, doshas show three types of response. They are –
1. Sanchaya (Chaya) – Local increase of Doshas in their own sites, due to the influence of season.
2. Prakopa (Kopa) – Local aggravation of Doshas in their own site, in next season (season following sanchaya season) favourable for their aggravation
3. Prashama (Shamana) – Natural decrease of Doshas towards their normal state in next season (season following prakopa season), under the influence of the season.
|Doshas||Dosha Sanchaya||Dosha Prakopa||Dosha Prashama|
|Vata||Summer (Greeshma)||Raining season (Varsha)||Autumn (Sharat)|
|Pitta||Raining season (Varsha)||Autumn |
|Early winter (Hemanta)|
|Kapha||Late winter |
|Spring (Vasanta)||Summer |
From the above table, it is clear that, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are dominant during rainy, autumn and spring seasons.
Especially in these three seasons, one should follow respective Dosha balancing foods and activities.
Read related – Normal Vitiation of Doshas As Per Seasonal Variation