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Ayurvedic Constitutions: What You Need to Know

Health & Wellness
Last Updated Sep 04, 2020

In the teachings of Ayurveda, the five elements – ether, air, fire, water, and earth – manifest in the body as the three doshas or energies.  These doshas are the Ayurvedic constitutions.  Each individual will have a mix of these three energies but one is predominant, thus determining our body type, temperament, and mental tendencies.  Read on to learn more.

The Vata Constitution

People with a Vata constitution tend to be very tall or very short, and have non-muscular bodies.  Their limbs are thin and bony, and they have a quick gait with short, fast steps.  Vata people have thin, darkish and cool skin, with thin, dark, coarse hair that is often wavy or curly.  The face long and angular, with a thin neck, and small, narrow eyes.  The eyes tend towards being small, narrow, or sunken, and are dark brown or gray in colour.  The mouth is small, with thin, narrow or tight lips, and the teeth are irregular.  Vata people tend to speak quickly, with interruptions.

Emotionally, Vata people have restless minds and a weak memory.  They tend to avoid confrontation and have active, sensitive natures, and like to express themselves creatively or through sports.  They have a good imagination, and are artistic and creative, although sometimes they will overindulge in pleasure.  Sexually, Vata people are the most active of all the constitutions.  Vata people may be fearful, worrisome, and anxious, and have a tendency for questioning, theorising and overanalysing things.  They tend to sleep for five to seven hours a day.

The primary organ of a Vata person is the colon, and these people need routine in their life in order to keep their energies grounded.  In order to remain balanced, Vata people should eat foods that are warming, as opposed to extreme cold, raw, or frozen foods.  It is also recommended that they eat moist rather than dry foods. 

The Pitta Constitution

People with a Pitta constitution tend to have a moderately well developed physique with muscular limbs, and a purposeful gait of medium speed.  They have a loud voice and speak precisely, and convincingly.  Their skin tends to be fair, soft, warm, and can burn easily in the sun.  The hair is fair or reddish and it tends to go gray earlier on in life.  Pitta people have a face that is heart-shaped, with a proportionate neck, and a neat, average sized nose.  The eyes are light in colour, and they have a medium sized mouth.

Mentally, Pitta people are intellectual and a very alert, focused mind.  By nature, they tend towards irritability, jealousy, and aggressiveness.  They can be judgmental and discriminating, but they are articulate, intelligent and proud.  Pitta people have a strong sense of responsibility, and are good at making decisions and organisation.  They are argumentative but have a sense of humour.  They are fast learners.

The primary organs of the Pitta person are the small intestine and the stomach.  Pitta people are associated with the fire element, and if a Pitta person becomes unbalanced, they may notice rashes, inflammation, fever, ulcers, anger, jealousy, or copious amounts of urine.  To stay balanced, Pitta people should remain cool and avoid excess heat, steam or humidity.  They should also avoid foods that are over-oily or fried, as well as caffeine, alcohol, red meat, hot spices, and salt.  They should eat fresh fruits and vegetables and wholegrains.

The Kapha Constitution

People with a Kapha constitution have a thick, broad, and well developed frame with large, long limbs.  They have slow, rhythmic speech.  Usually the skin is thick, oily, pale, or white and cold.  They have plentiful, thick hair that is generally brown in colour, and they have large, rounded, full faces.  Kapha people have a solid neck, a large, rounded nose, large eyes, and a mouth with big, full lips.

Mentally, Kapha people are calm, steady, and considerate.  They have stable personalities that are slow to anger.  They are not easily provoked but once they are angry, they do not calm down easily.  Kapha people are true to their word, avoid lies, and are forgiving and understanding.  However, they can be lethargic or lazy if they are not driven by other people.  They have a strong memory and are very good at logical analysis.  They sleep a deep sleep for many hours, and have an enduring sex drive.

The primary organ for the Kapha person is the chest.  Kapha people find that food and security are important.  If a Kapha person is unbalanced, they may tend towards congestion, sinusitis, sluggishness, weight gain, diabetes, or water retention.  To remain balanced, Kapha people need to be physically active, consume little fatty foods, avoid icy drinks, sweets, or too much bread.  Fresh vegetables are important.  Kapha people need to embrace excitement, change, and challenge.

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Originally published on Jun 18, 2008

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