In Ayurvedic theory, the whole world and all it’s inhabitants are made up of 5 elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space). Each person, plant and place is made up of a unique blend of these elements, which we call your “Prakruti” or Birth Constitution. Your Prakruti differentiates you from every other person in the world… isn’t that cool?
Your Birth Constitution Determines Your:
- Body Shape, Size, and Build; Skin, Eye and Hair Texture and Colour.
- Metabolism and Body Functions (eg. digestive strength, energy levels, sleep patterns, fertility…)
- Personality, Temperament, and Mental patterns (eg. dreams, learning style, memory…)
- Likes and dislikes (season, climate, food…); Immune and organ strength/weakness (when you get ill…)
HOW YOU GET YOUR CONSTITUTION (PRAKRUTI)
Your unique mix of elements was present in your embryo at conception, and it determined how your body and mind took shape in utero. As your mother’s pregnancy continued, you were born, and your life took shape throughout childhood, many factors have influenced the balance of elements in your body and mind. However, one thing never changes, and that is your base constitution or Prakruti. Most people are born with a naturally balanced constitution, meaning that it is still in it’s Prakruti state. But it doesn’t stay that way for long, as explained below.
EVERYTHING HAS AN ELEMENT AND THESE ELEMENTS AFFECT YOU
Everyting has it’s own “prakruti”, and that includes the things in our enviroment. All of the things in the list below will affect the elements in your body when you come into contact with them: foods, environment, emotions, occupations, friends, pets, herbal medicine, travel, exercise, thoughts and habits.
Eg. Eating avocados increases water in your body, whereas eating chillies increases fire. Dancing salsa increases fire in your body, but motorsport increases air. Having a pet cat increases earth in your body, and having a budgie increases air. Listening to music increases space in your body, and going for a bushwalk increases earth. (These are very simplistic examples, so you can understand how it works)
As the elements in our bodies change day-to-day, it creates a state we call “Vikruti” or Imbalance. This state of imbalance makes your body feel uncomfortable and alters its function: causing you to feel unwell, changing your mental and emotional state, and eventually developing into signs of ill health. We aim to get you back to your “Prakruti” state through changes in diet and lifestyle, because this is where your body is healthiest and most comfortable.
HOW DO WE FIND YOUR PRAKRUTI AND VIKRUTI?
There are many online tests and quizzes in books which you can take to supposedly find your body type, however none of these are accurate at all. The reason for this is that your “vikruti” gets confused with your “prakruti”, and you end up with a totally false answer.
There is only one guaranteed way to find your body type correctly, and that’s by using pulse diagnosis. Some skilled practitioners can get a good idea of your body type by meeting and talking with you, but even then, a pulse diagnosis is necessary to confirm and clarify the subtleties of your unique self.
By taking your pulse, a trained practitioner can find:
- Your true Prakruti (constitution) and whether it was imbalanced before birth or not.
- Your current Vikruti (imbalance) .
- Many practitioners can also feel the pulse at different levels, to access information about your mind, emotions, organs, and many other things too (such as information about the growing fetus in a pregnant woman).
THE DIFFERENT CONSTITUTIONS EXPLAINED…
Ayurveda further categorises the elements into three main “Doshas” or Constitutional Types, known as “Vata”, “Pitta” and “Kapha”. Vata is a mix of air and space. Pitta is a mixture of fire and water. Kapha is a mixture of earth and water.
We each have all of these doshas in our constitutional mix, at differing levels. In most people two of these doshas are most dominant. A few people have only one dosha predominant, but this is fairly rare. There are also a very few people who have the three doshas in a relatively even mix, and these people are known as “Tridoshic” (3 Doshas).
The Different Dosha Combinations
Your practitoner will tell you which are your main doshas. Here are the different combinations:
- VP: Vata-Pitta (has mostly vata, a little less pitta and not much kapha)
- VK: Vata-Kapha (has mostly vata, a little less kapha and not much pitta)
- PV: Pitta-Vata (has mostly pitta, a little less vata and not much pitta)
- PK: Pitta-Kapha (has mostly pitta, a little less kapha and not much vata)
- KV: Kapha-Vata (has mostly kapha, a little less vata and not much pitta)
- KP: Kapha-Pitta (has mostly kapha, a little less pitta and not much vata)
- Then there are the different single or Tridoshic combinations (eg. VPK, KPV, PKV etc…)
Your practitioner should also tell you what your imbalance is. For example:
“Your Prakruti is Vata-Kapha, but you have too much Vata and Pitta, and your Kapha is lowered.” In this case, your practitioner will give you advice on how to come back to Prakruti by lowering Vata and Pitta, and increasing Kapha.
The Three Doshas
Have a read through the different dosha types below and you will find that you recognise yourself in some of their attributes. You can find a more detailed chart here.
VATA (‘waa-ta’) – Air and Space
General Attributes: Light and sometimes weak and susceptible in the body. Often very tall or short, loses weight understress. Hair, skin, nails and teeth are thin and can be dark and dry. Their lifestyle is generally irregular and spontaneous, energy levels come in bursts. Like to daydream and read, are very quick in thought, speech and action, and are often intellectuals or creative. Don’t sweat much. They love hot, wet weather/ food.
Prone to disorders of: Joints, bones, circulation, digestion (colon), mind (due to stress).
PITTA (‘pi-ta’) – Fire and Water
General Attributes: Medium build body, can be athletic. Hair, skin, nails and teeth are medium, and can be yellowish and oily. They love regularity, order, logic, planning, and working. They enjoy competitive sports, and games of skill (chess, squash). Very passionate, they often have very fast metabolism, and get hot easily (in mind as well as body!). Sweat easily, and a lot. Love cool, dry weather/foods.
Prone to disorders of: Stomach, liver, small Intestine, heart (attack, blood pressure), eyes, inflammation, rashes.
KAPHA (‘ka-fa’) – Earth and Water.
General Attributes: Larger body build, hard to lose weight, easy to gain. Hair, skin, nails and teeth are thick and can be pale and oily. Very calm and sometimes slow in mind and body. Good memory, can be sentimental, generally even-tempered, love sleeping and eating! Good endurance and strength of body, but can be lazy. They love warm, dry weather/foods.
Prone to disorders of: Heart (cholesterol), lungs, sinuses, bladder/kidney, fluid/weight retention, sluggishness, depression.