Health has been a concern since the formation of life on this planet. Even animals do certain things to ease their illnesses like eating particular leaves for specific basic diseases. They have a natural instinct at it, which the mankind lack. So when a prehistoric man fell ill, he tried many different methods to reduce his discomfort. Some involved learning by copying the animals, some observed the nature to get answers and some turned to superstitions.
All these trials and errors and the exchange of these collected information, is the basis of the first form of medicine. As time went by, these sciences not only gave treatment methods but also explained about the basic functioning of the human body. Ayurveda being one of the ancient sciences of the Indian Sub-continent also has its share of theories explaining the working of the human body. Let us try to understand a few basics of the human body through the point of view of this age-old science.
Way the sages saw things ….
Ayurveda is more a branch of science than a form of medicine, since it speaks not only about diseases and its treatment but also about all aspects of life. Thus the name Ayur – “of life” Veda – “science / knowledge”. It is not a work of a single person or a small group, it is the compilation of ideas, observations, experiments, researches, trials etc. of innumerable number of sages over thousands of years.
According to Ayurveda, the life is a combination of body, mind and soul, where soul is the energy that is alive, mind is the mental faculty and body is the physical substratum. The body can be understood as having both physical and functional/physiological aspects. We can may be compare it with the computer which has both hardware and software for functioning. The hardware is the physical body which includes the muscle, bones, organs, nerves, skin etc. and the software here are the three dosha
What are the Tridosha?
The three dosha are the functional units of the body according to ayurveda. They are a collection different qualities and functions that are grouped together to be called as a dosha. They are named; Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The imbalance of the doshas in the body leads to diseases and their harmony begets health. Vata is responsible for all the movements, transportation, degeneration etc and can be elicited by dryness, coldness, roughness, lightness etc. Similarly, pitta is about conversion of energy, metabolism, vision, transformations etc. and is elicited by mainly heat. On the other and kapha is responsible for stability, nourishment, structural integrity etc and can be elicited by coldness, softness, oiliness, heaviness etc. This is just a gross explanation for the understanding of the lay men. As mentioned above, the equilibrium of these three results in health but the equilibrium point for each individual is different. The levels of vata, pitta and kapha which corresponds to the health in a particular individual is called his prakruti.
What is prakruti ?
Prakruti literally means ‘natural, it denotes the natural state of a person. Let us understand it though a simple example of colours. As many of you may know, there are only three primary colours and all other colours are combinations of these three in varying concentrations. Similarly, there are only three dosha and varying levels of these dosha make up the prakruti of a person. Each person may have a different prakruti but they can be generalised according to the dosha that is predominating in them. Thus we have different types of prakruti like; vata prakruti, pitta prakruti, kapha prakruti, vatapitta prakruti, pittakapha prakruti, vatakapha prakruti and samadosha prakruti. The predominance of the dosha is not only reflected in the physical body and its functions but also in the mental faculty. There are many signs told in the text to understand ones prakruti. For example, it is told that the person with vata prakruti will be very lean, have dry skin, dry and rough hair, be very fast in his activities, have irregular appetite, learn and forget easily etc. There are similar descriptions for pitta and kapha predominance also.
Why should you know your prakruti ?
The prakruti of a person not only decides how he is but also predicts what type of diseases he is prone to. It also helps predict what kind of things may trigger a disease in the person. Lets take the example of pitta here, the pitta predominant person generally has a higher body temperature, has very good digestive capacity, gets thirsty easily, maybe hot tempered etc. He is prone to skin diseases, bleeding disorder, gastric ulcers, premature greying of hair etc. He may be easily affected by high temperature, spicy food etc. The kapha predominance has its own pros and cones too. The doshas are manipulated through the use of things with similar and opposite qualities as food, medication or therapy. Hence the knowledge of ones prakriti is of great importance to maintain one’s health and also treat a disease condition. Have you noticed such small nuances in your body, like how your skin texture is different from that of your friend or how he/she can handle spicy food better than you? All those are due to the difference in prakritiesTo know your prakriti for free or for clearance of any other queries related to health and Ayurveda, please contact our panel of Ayurveda experts.