What Is a Dosha?

Just as every snowflake is unique in shape and form, every human has their own blueprint. It’s like a map of the body that’s made up of an infinite variety of shapes, behaviors, emotions, and appearances.

In Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things—ether, air, fire, water, and earth—are the building blocks of life. While this foundation unites all humans, the manifestation of those elements through the doshas is what gives rise to our differences. How the three doshas appear, and in what proportion, is what makes each of us unique.

The 3 Doshas

  • The fiery and intense Pitta type may enjoy the occasional power trip. She will devour a mountain of food with ravenous hunger and yet be ready to eat again when it comes to the next meal.
  • In contrast, a delicate Vata can never seem to get warm. She will nibble, snack, and graze her way through the day, and she may feel the need to rest often. She’s also inclined to talk about a number of diverse subjects, probably repeating herself more than once.
  • The contented Kapha type may, with great deliberation, consume three pieces of cake. She will spend quality time curled up on a couch making phone calls to loved ones with uplifting, motherly advice.

The role the doshas play is a dynamic one, constantly changing in response to weather, conditions, and stress. The habits—good or bad—that you create are manifestations of your dosha. You may be inclined to go a bit overboard on ice cream, spend too much time talking on the phone late at night, or neglect sleep when you need it most.

Whatever your habits, they all result in a shift in your make-up which could lead to the beginnings of disease if you don’t balance yourself with care and a healthy diet.

Getting to know and appreciate your dosha is key to knowing yourself. It provides clues for what you should eat and what things you should address when your energy gets out of whack. The more you know about what may cause certain reactions or tendencies, the easier it will be to balance them.

To learn which dosha you are, take the online dosha quiz. For guidance on how to make adjustments in your life based on your dosha, visit an Ayurvedic health practitioner or doctor. You never know, addressing your needs according to your dosha may prevent an expensive and painful breakdown and could even add years of quality living to your life.

Find dosha-specific recipes by Chef Johnny. Also, buy his cookbook, Eat-Taste-Heal

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About the Author
Chef Johnny Brannigan
Chef Johnny Brannigan is an international Ayurvedic vegetarian and vegan chef with a deep knowledge base in Vedic wisdom and holistic medicine, and a lifelong love of food and cooking. Trained in Ayurveda and as a teacher of meditation by the Maharishi in Switzerland and Thailand, he has cooked and taught in over 33 countries, writing new recipes along the way. He co-founded The Organic Snack Company in 1998 in the U.K. and then travelled to the United States, where he cooked at The Raj, the top Ayurvedic spa in the country, and wrote The Global Vegetarian , his first cookbook. He’s also the chef/co-author of the seven-award-winning cookbook,...Read more