Saturday, January 2, 2010


Ayurvedic Body Types
The Ayurvedic texts provided specific guidelines to help us identify our constitutional nature. These guidelines enable us to live wisely on the earth while safeguarding our health. From the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, seven body types were originally identified. Our body type, which is determined at birth is our constitutional nature, our prakriti. This prakriti is derived from the particular combinations and permutations of the five elements in the sperm and ovum that exist during conception (ref to the chart below). Once birth has made its elemental imprint, we cannot alter it without adversely affecting our balance of well-being.
The human constitution, or prakriti, is comprised of all three doshas. This means that every individual has within himself the dynamic forces of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The difference between individuals is the degree to which the three doshas interact with one another within each body type. Only our physio-psychological aspects change, influenced as they are by social, environmental, and cultural factors operating in our lives, and as well as by our personal choices.

The Seven Original Body Types
Originally, Ayurveda defined seven body types. These were Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Sama, Vata-Kapha, Vata-Pitta, and Pitta-Kapha. The first three types occur in their pure from very rarely, so seldom is it that anyone is primarily influenced by one dosha alone. Even more infrequent is the Sama dosha (all three doshas in balance).  More common are the combination body types, referred to as dual prakriti, i.e. Vata-Kapha, Vata-Pitta, and Pitta-Kapha. In more recent times, these three dual types have been expanded to include six dual types. By reversing the two doshas within each dual type and considering it a separate type, i.e. Kapha-Vata, Pitta-Vata, Kapha-Pitta. A person who has both Vata and Pitta dominant may, therefore, be either a Vata-Pitta or Pitta-Vata type, depending on which of the two doshas is more dominant.
Because the body types are the basis, from which all Ayurvedic diagnosis begins, they are explained here in some detail. This explanation is also intended to help you better understand your own personal constitution.

Elemental Source of Body Types

Rare Body Types
1)         Vata                                         air/space
2)         Pitta                                         fire/water
3)         Kapha                                       water/earth
4)         Sama                                        balance of all three doshas

*NOTE- The relation between dosha & their elements refer to the chapter on TRIGUNA, table no.1, & table no.2

Dual Body Types (original classification)

1)         Vata/Pitta                                  air/space main; fire/water subordinate
2)         Vata/Kapha                               air/space main; water/earth subordinate
3)         Pitta/Kapha                               fire/water main; water/earth subordinate

Additional Dual Body Types (recognized by contemporary practitioners)

1)         Pitta/Vata                                  fire/water main; air/space subordinate
2)         Kapha/Vata                               water/earth main; air/space subordinate
3)         Kapha/Pitta                               water/earth main; fire/water subordinate

Body Type Qualities
VATA (like wind)          Kapha (like water)         Pitta (like fire)
            dry                                           oily                                           hot
            cold                                          cool                                          oily
            light                                          heavy                                       light
            mobile                                      stable                                       intense
            erratic                                       dense                                       fluid
            rough                                        smooth                         smelly
            bitter                                         sweet                                        sour
            astringent                                  sour                                          pungent
            pungent                                    salty                                         salty

Table 10
Characteristics of body types
For a better understanding of your Ayurvedic constitution and to cross-check the results of the test, listed below are the principal physical and psychological characteristics of persons with the predominant single dosha constitution.

VATA - Physically such people are very tall or very short, non- muscular, with thin and bony limbs and have a quick gait with short fast steps. Skin is generally thin, darkish and cool. The hair is thin, dark, coarse and either kinky or curly. The face is usually long and angular, often with an underdeveloped chin. The neck is thin and scrawny. Nose is small and narrow. May be long, crooked or asymmetrical also. Eyes tend to be small, narrow or sunken, dark brown or grey in colour, with dull lustre. The mouth being small, with thin, narrow or tight lips. Teeth are irregular, protruding, or broken, set in receding gums. And while the voice is weak, low or cracked, speech is fast with interruptions.
Creativity ~ Enthusiasm ~ Freedom ~ Generosity ~ Joy ~ Vitality
Vata people have restless minds and weak memories. They avoid confrontation. Have active and sensitive natures and express themselves through sport and creative pursuits. Likely to be artistic and creative with a good imagination, they will sometimes overindulge in pleasures. And are sexually the very active. Fearful, worrisome and anxious they are into questioning, theorising and over-analysis. Often dissatisfied with and unable to sustain friendships, they spend money quickly, often on trifles. With light, interrupted sleep of 5-7 hours a day.

PITTA - A moderately well developed physique with muscular limbs and a purposeful, stable gait of medium speed. With a loud, strong voice and precise, convincing speech. The skin is fair, soft, lustrous, warm, and tends to burn easily in the sun – has freckles, many moles, and a tendency to rashes. And the bodies are hot and sweaty. Characterised by fine and soft, either fair or reddish/ light brown hair that tends to grey soon. Face is heart-shaped, often with a pointed chin. While the neck is proportionate and of average size. A neat, pointed, and average sized nose matches the average sized eyes that are either light blue, light grey or hazel in colour, with an intense lustre which gets red in summer or after bathing. The mouth being medium, with average lips and medium-sized, yellowish teeth.
Ambition ~ Concentration ~ Confidence ~ Courage ~ Enthusiasm for knowledge ~ Happiness ~ Intelligence
Pittas have an intellectual and precise disposition due to a very alert, focussed mind. Sharp and knife-like in anger, they are irritable, jealous and aggressive by nature. Discriminating and judgemental, they are articulate, learned and proud. With a developed sense of responsibility, they can take decisions and organise affairs well. Argumentative, but with a sense of humour, their selectively excellent memory makes them fast learners. Moderately passionate in their sexual pursuits, they spend moderately, usually on luxuries.

KAPHA - A thick, broad, well-developed frame and large, long limbs go well with a pleasant, deep and resonant voice with low, slow, rhythmic speech. The skin is usually thick, oily, pale or white and cold. Plentiful, thick, wavy, lustrous and generally brown/black hair is set on a large, rounded and full face. The neck is solid, with a near tree-trunk quality. A large, rounded nose and large, attractive, blue or light brown / black  color of eyes are found ,in a mouth that is large with big, full lips. Teeth too are big and white and set in strong gums.
Caring ~ Centeredness ~ Compassion ~ Contentment ~ Faith ~ Fulfillment ~ Groundedness ~ Patience ~ Sense of being nourished ~ Stability ~ Support ~ Tenderness
Kapha predominated people are calm, steady, considerate - stable, patient personalities they are slow to anger. Not easily provoked, once angry they do not calm down easily. They are honourable, true to their word and avoid lies. Loyal, forgiving and understanding, they can be lethargic, even lazy, if not driven by others. Learning may be slow but memory will be strong. Excellent in logical analysis, they take time before reaching conclusions. Long hours of deep sleep and a strong, enduring sex drive come naturally. While they do save money, it does get spent on food. And there can at times be an element of dullness, given that a kapha mind is usually too content to seek fresh mental stimulation
Nurturing Requirements
VATA: Nurtured by the elements fire, water, and earth
                                    moist                            sweet
                                    heavy                           salty
                                    smooth             sour

PITTA:  Nurtured by the elements water, air, space, and earth
                                    cool                              sweet      
                                    aromatic                       astringent

KAPHA:            Nurtured by the elements fire, air, and space
                                    dry                               pungent
                                    warm                            bitter
                                    light                              astringent

Table 11                                   
Do's and Don'ts

Warm, well cooked food. Sweet, sour and salty tastes
Warm to cool rather than steaming hot. Sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.
Decreased quantities of warm food.Pungent, bitter and astringent taste. Healthy Kapha types should observe fast one day per week.

Oil Massage
With calming and warming oils such as Mahanarayan Oil etc.
With cooling oils such as chandanbala Laxadi oil etc.
With stimulating oils such as sahacharadi oil etc.

Moderate exercise such as yoga, walking and light weights
Moderate exercise which may include jogging, swimming, Yoga, cycling and weight lifting
Regular and vigorous.

Herbal Dietary supplements
Ashwagandha, shatavari, haritaki, Guggul, Trikatu ,Vata tea, Calming Tea.
Haritaki, Bhumiamla, Chyavanprash, surakta, sitopladi churan,pitta Tea.
Guggul, sitopladi churan, trikatu, chyavanprash, Kapha Tea.

Factors that increase vata
Exposure to cold , lack of routine in your life, eating too much dry, frozen or leftover food, or food with bitter, pungent or astringents taste.
Fasting, too much traveling, too much or inappropriate exercise, suppressing natural urges, abdominal surgery.
Not oiling the skin.

Factors that increase pitta
Exposure to heat, eating too much red meat, salt, spicy or sour foods. Indigestion and irregularity of meals. Exercising at midday, Drugs especially antibiotics.
Too much intellectual work/thinking. Alcohol, Fatigue. Anger, Hate ,fear.

Factors that increase kapha
Exposure to cold , eating too much sweet ,meat ,fats, cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, fried food, excessive use of salt. Excessive intake of water , taking naps after meals. Doing nothing .Sedative and tranquilizers. Doubts, greed, and possessiveness. 
Determining Your Ayurvedic Body Type
Generally, everyone possesses characteristics from all three categories of body type, although one or two will usually predominate. Approach the chart below honestly. Remember that your evaluation will be coloured by the qualities of your present lifestyle. Six week after making the necessary changes in your diet and daily activities and doing the cleansing  as given in the forthcoming pages, re’-do the Body Type chart. The latter response will be more in keeping with your true constitutional nature.
Directions : Move horizontally across each of the sections set out in the chart below and circle the attributes that you feel most accurately reflect you. Choose at least one from each section. Ask a spouse, parent, or friend to assist you with the Emotional Characteristics portion of the assessment so that your choices will be as objective as possible. Men are advised to seek the assistance of a women – a spouse, a friend, or mother – for both the Physical Characteristics and Emotional Characteristics section of the chart. Then, moving down each of the three columns, count how many characteristics you circled for each body type. Which ever column yields the highest score indicated your Ayurvedic body type. For example, if your scores are 15 for Vata, 12 for Pitta and 5 for Kapha, then your Ayurvedic body type is Vata/Pitta.

Table 12


Body Frame
Thin, irregular, very short or very tall
Medium, proportionate, toned
Heavy, board, evenly proportioned

Hard to gain, easy to lose
Easy to gain, Easy to lose
Easy to gain, Hard to loose

Cold, dark or dusky
Warm and reddish, sunburns easily
Cool, fair or oily, tans easily

Dry, frizzy, thin, dark
thin, fine, reddish, premature, balding or graying
Oily, wavy, thick, lusturous.

Brown, gray or unusual color, small,nervous eyes
Green, hazel, light brown, peircing eyes
Black, blue, dark brown, big, sensual eyes

Dry, grayish, rough,brittle
Clear, well formed,soft, pink
Square, white, even


Constipated, irregular, small quantity
Loose, regular, large quantity,soft
 regular, moderate quantity


Poor, exertive
Moderate, driven

Poor, variable
Moderate, light
Long, deep

Low, moves slow

Cold, dryness, wind
Heat, sunlight, fire
Cold, damp

Immune function
Low, variable
Moderate, sensitive to heat

Disease tendancy
Fever, inflammation
Congestion, oedema

Table 13

Mental characters          

Fearful, indecisive, nervous, perceptive
Angry, intelligent, arrogant, successful
 calm, stable, stubborn

Learns quickly
Learns quickly
Learns slowly
Forgets quickly,quick but absentminded
Forgets slowly, sharp & clear
Forgets slowly, slow but study

Erratic, talkative,fast
Decisive, articulate,sharp
Slow, cautious, melodious

Variable, erratic
Strong, determined
Steady, slow to change

Flying, fearful, erratic, frequent
Fiery, violent, intense,moderate
Watery, sensual, infrequent ,long sequences

Cold, variable
Hot, intense
Warm, enduring

Positive emotions

Negative emotions
Superior qualities are allotted to the Kapha body type as far as physical and emotional characteristics are concerned. But when body types concerned with more than one dosha is concerned, the ‘sama’ type where all the doshas are in equal quantity is the best of all body types which is very rare to find.


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