The Tridoshas are a unique concept in medical knowledge- a contribution made by the Science of Life, Ayurveda. The basis of Ayurveda is that everything in this universe, including Man, is made up of the five great elements or Panchamahabutas. The panchamahabutas are earth, fire, water, air and space, or to give them their Ayurveduc terms, prithvi, agni, jala, vayu and aksash, respectively. The five elements make up the tridoshas which are the three vital energies that are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes in the body. The Tridoshas are vata, pita and kapha, and in each of these , one particular element or panchamahabuta will be predominant. In Vata, air and space are the most important. In Pita, fire and water predominate. In the case of kapha, it is water and earth that are the key elements.
The Doshas and Prakriti
Ayurveda also teaches us that our constitution or prakriti, is determined by whenever dosha is dominant in our body. Each of us is born with a certain unique combination of the tridoshas which remains with us for life. In effect, our prakriti or constitution is decided upon by the equilibrium of the three key energies within the body. If you visit an Ayurvedic physician or vaidyar in Kerala, the home of Ayurveda- or in any part of India, for that matter- he will first evaluate your constitution and decide on your prakriti, before proceeding any further. Your prakriti is regulated by all the three doshas, in different degrees. Sometimes you may have more than one dosha that is predominant in your prakriti.
The tridoshas determine everything that makes us what we are, whether it is the colour of our hair, our height, the food we enjoy- and the food we ought to eat. It is the tridoshas that help in the creation of all of the various tissues of the body and in the removal of unnecessary waste products from the body too. The tridoshas also influence all movements and all sensory functions, as well as many of the other activities in the human body and mind. In fact, there is no aspect of our lives that is not governed by our doshas.
The Importance of Balance
When the three doshas are in the equilibrium that defines our constitution, we are in perfect health. If there is an imbalance among the doshas, ill health is the result. Imbalance can be caused by natural factors, like time and age. These are mild, and will not cause any problems. At the same time, unnatural causes can create an imbalance that results in ill health. Unnatural causes include inappropriate diet, inappropriate lifestyle, trauma, viruses and parasites. Imbalances of the doshas have an effect on the forces at work within our body, and the resulting disparities are responsible for the development of diseases. The tridoshas are therefore health indicators and every disease is associated with their equilibrium. Ayurvedic treatments and therapies seek to restore this equilibrium, so that the body can then heal itself. Ayurveda’s aim is not just to cure a specific disease. Rather, it restores harmony in the body and mind in a natural way that ensures the total well being of an individual… and therein lies its uniqueness.