Knowing and understanding your primary Dosha is the first step in Ayurvedic healing. Your dosha refers to your unique, specific collection of personality traits, characteristics, physiological processes, and more, and it falls predominantly into one of these types: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. Each of these three mind, body, and spirit descriptors have certain tendencies, habits, and ways of being that separate them from the other types. Once you understand your type, as well as your less predominant types, you’ll be better able to spot an imbalance and know what to do to put your three doshas back in harmony.
To determine your dosha take the: Ayuverdic Dosha Quiz
There are three dosha states:
- Balanced: All three doshas are in harmony.
- Increased: One dosha exists in greater proportion, called “aggravated” or “excess.”
- Decreased: One dosha exists in a lesser proportion, called “depleted” or “reduced.”
Typically imbalances occur in your predominant dosha, are most likely experienced in excess, and are usually triggered by stress or diet.
Remedies can include any of the typical Ayurvedic principles, such as massage, yoga, or meditation. In the article, we will suggest tips based on a diet with mindfulness, lifestyle, and time-saving tips sprinkled throughout to support your ability to get back on track.
No two people are alike; therefore, no two treatments will be exactly the same. If you would like to learn more about your dosha & Ayurveda, we suggest you visit and Ayuverdic doctor which will get a full picture of your imbalances and will give you a program & tips to improve your state.
Click on the Dosha you would like to read more about.
When associating doshas to natural elements, vata personalities mirror the qualities of air and space. That’s why their body types tend to be thin, tall, and lanky with prominent joints and bones, while their thoughts and movements are quick, light, and rapidly changing. In the body, vata energy is located in the joints and bones, skin, brain, hair, colon, muscles, nerves, brain, legs, and feet. If vata were an animal, it would be a butterfly—airy with delicate, rapid wings; a thin body; and fast, fluttery actions.
Vata is critical to keep in balance for everyone because it governs the flow or movement of your body: processes like circulation, heartbeat, breathing, blinking, muscle tension, mobility, thoughts, and waste elimination. Without vata, kapha and pitta wouldn’t exist, so be sure to keep vata balanced.Vata in Harmony:
When vata is in harmony, you’ll experience great creativity, vibrancy, and vitality with heightened senses, enthusiasm, reasoning, memory, and logic. You’ll be “in the zone.” You’ll digest food well and eliminate toxins, like sweat and waste, easily and regularly.
An excitable, joyful, creative personality, this dosha prefers hot weather to cold; warm, nourishing foods to chilled; and tends to crave spice, whether it’s in their foods or fragrances, over milder scents and flavors.
Vatas pride themselves in being quick learners who grasp difficult or new concepts and knowledge faster than most, but on the flip side, they’ll forget as quickly as they learned. They’re fantastic communicators, adept at expressing themselves and typically very social. Often considered the life of the party, they’re the ones who are quick to laugh, elevate the mood, and love to have fun. Spontaneous and enthusiastic, they’re also the ones who shy away from routine and are happy for last-minute changes in plans. In fact, their moods are just as changeable and impulsive. Because of this, vatas should try to maintain regular habits, routines, and schedules to keep them in balance—mindful and peaceful rather than frenetic, stressed out, and burned out.
Vata doshas should enjoy moderately intense activities that keep them engaged without overstimulating them. Frenetic, strenuous, challenging, or competitive workouts can throw them out of balance. Meditative activities like yoga, Pilates, walking, tai chi, qigong, or swimming complement their routines nicely.
As smart, unpredictable, and energetic as they are, the downside is that they run out of fuel quite easily when they get overly engaged, overexerted, or overworked. In a hectic, busy lifestyle, vatas are quick to become overstimulated and imbalanced, which means they need to use calming techniques to bring their natural constitutions back into balance. They’re also quick to become bored, can lack commitment and focus to stay on projects, and seek variety over routine.
If you’re vata predominant, you’ll know you’re out of balance when you have:
- Fear, worry, anxiety, or stress
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- A racing mind or distracting thoughts
- Skin problems like dryness, roughness, or breakouts
- Dry or brittle hair
- Pain or issues in the abdomen (digestive or menstrual cramps) or lower back
- Constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating
- Fatigue or body aches
- Coughs, sore throat, earaches, or headaches
- Cold hands and feet
TIP: For a quick way to remember what keeps you balanced, think grounding, routine, and warmth.
When vatas need to get calm, cool, and collected again, they require foods that are heavier, warmer, moister, or oiler—think comfort foods like hot cereals, thick stews, hot milk, roasted vegetables, or nuts—as well as salty, sweet, or sour in flavor. They should avoid foods that are cold, dry, crispy, crunchy, pungent, bitter, or raw as well as cold or raw vegetables and carbonated beverages like seltzers and sodas.
Use these foods when you experience symptoms of imbalance and need to rebalance. You may also rely on them proactively to keep energies in balance if vata is your dosha.
- Chicken or turkey (both organic), wild-caught seafood, or eggs in lieu of red meat or pork for meat-eaters.
- Dairy, including yogurt and warm milk (always boil first, according to Ayurvedic principles).
- Grains like rice and wheat, but reduce quantities of rye, oats, buckwheat, and millet.
- Nuts of any type, provided you don’t have a nut allergy, especially in warm, spiced recipes.
- Oils of all types pacify, or stabilize, vata.
- Soy (tofu), mung dahl, and other small beans; otherwise reduce intake of larger gas-producing beans, like black, kidney, red, white, or artisan, gourmet varieties.
- Sweeteners of all kinds, including honey, agave, fruit extracts, and sugar, in moderation.
- Fruits (warmed, cooked, or eaten alone if possible) that tend to be sour, sweet, or heavy like stone fruits (peaches, avocado, cherries), bananas, tropical fruits (pineapples, mango, papaya), sweet berries, and melons. Limit intake of light, dry, or dried varieties including apples, pears, citrus, cranberries, and pomegranates.
- Vegetables (cooked), preferably organic, including asparagus, carrots, and beets. In moderation when cooked with vata-enhancing spices: leafy greens, potatoes, celery, cauliflower, and broccoli. Avoid gas-producing sprouts and cabbage.
- Warming spices and herbs (nearly all types), the fresher the better, with the exception of pepper, which should be enjoyed in moderation. Especially supportive are cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cumin, cloves, and mustard seed.
TIP: When vata gets imbalanced and out of sorts, often the easiest way to unwind and relax is to take a 10-minute break to meditate, stretch, breathe, or simply do nothing.
Beyond diet, there are additional activities you can incorporate into your life to keep vata energies in check. Try these when you feel imbalanced or proactively to support your health before you need to:
- Stick to warm temperatures. Keep warm when temperatures drop because vata are prone to colds.
- Enjoy warm foods. Limit raw foods or those served chilled.
- Indulge in comfort foods that lean toward being warm, heavy, or oily, like stews, casseroles, or roasts.
- Maintain regular sleeping hours, including an early bedtime and early wake time.
- Incorporate daily self-massage with sesame oil.
- Steer clear of stimulants, as the vata personality is prone to excitement.
- Keep a daily routine to avoid stress, anxiety, or worry.
- Warm spiced milk before bed to encourage sleep.
- Change up gym routines to stay engaged and committed to fitness.
- Enjoy a variety of hobbies that keep you stimulated mentally.
When associating doshas to natural elements, kapha personalities mirror the qualities of earth and water, and in relationship to the pitta and vata energies, kaphas balance them by keeping them grounded. That’s why kapha body types tend to be larger, heavier, and more overweight, while their thoughts and movements are slower, more sluggish, and prone to depression. In the body, kapha energy is located in the fatty tissues, throat and lungs, lymph, chest, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues. If kapha were an animal, it would be a tortoise with its slower, lumbering movements, thicker body, and seemingly thoughtful, deliberate actions.Kapha in Harmony:
When kapha is in harmony, you’ll experience enormous feelings of love, joy, happiness, and forgiveness. You’ll be easygoing, relaxed, affectionate, and generous while not sweating the small stuff. A calm and peaceful presence, balanced kaphas seem to let life roll right off their backs. Generally speaking, their features lean toward the softer, gentler side as well. With large, inviting eyes; a low, soft voice; and relaxed movements, kaphas come across as quite tranquil, serene, and calm.
This demeanor often puts them in leadership roles or positions of respect in their businesses, communities, and social circles. Even-keeled, good-natured, and dependable, they’re the ones you can count on when something needs to get done or a high-pressure situation arises.
Kaphas also pride themselves in being understanding, reliable, stable, loyal, and committed. Unlike vatas, kaphas have big energy that lasts. Physically, they’re sturdier, larger, heavier, and more grounded than other doshas with tendencies to be slow-moving or sluggish when out of balance. While kaphas aren’t as quick thinking as vatas or pittas, they’re slower to learn but less likely to forget what they read, hear, or see thanks to an incredible long-term memory.
Kapha doshas should enjoy moderately intense aerobic activities that help them resist being sedentary or putting on weight. Unlike vatas, kaphas should engage in strenuous or competitive sports or workouts to keep their fires motivated and stimulated. They’re naturals at endurance activities such as basketball, soccer, and marathon running. If they complement their routine with meditative activities, like yoga, Pilates, walking, tai chi, qigong, or swimming, they should choose more strenuous practices and/or ones that push their mental or physical limits. For instance, if they walk, it should be briskly and for 30 minutes or more.
Kaphas generally have a relaxed demeanor and the ability to handle stress without missing a beat. In addition, they tend to have very strong immune systems and great health. As even-tempered and kind as they tend to be, when out of balance, kaphas can become possessive, overly sensitive, overly attached, addictive, and lazy.
If you’re kapha predominant, you’ll know you’re out of balance when you have:
- Insecurity, envy, jealousy, or judgment
- Excess weight Cellulite
- Colds, flu, congestion, sinus problems, headaches, and respiratory problems like allergies or asthma
- Problems with overeating
- Emotional eating habits like late-night snacking, bingeing when stressed, and eating sugary foods to soothe negative feelings
- Little to no exercise in your daily routine; laziness
- Bad TV habits, like weekend TV marathons or days spent on the couch watching reruns
- No desire for intellectual or physical stimulation
- Difficulty making or committing to social engagements
- Homebody tendencies
- Feelings of possessiveness or materialism
- Resistance to change
- Toxic or difficult relationships, often where you’re getting the short end of the stick
- Dry skin or hair (Kaphas are known for silky, hydrated, healthy skin and hair.)
- A dull, lifeless outlook on life
- Excessive sleep or napping
Through Foods When kaphas need inspiration, excitement, and motivation, they should opt for dry, spicy, warming, or light foods that perk them up and give them a boost of energy. Think spiced teas, zesty citrus, or foods with ginger, garlic, or pepper. They should avoid heavy, sour, cold, sweet, or watery foods.
Use these foods when you experience symptoms of imbalance and need to rebalance, or proactively to keep energies in balance if this is your body type:
- Barley, millet, buckwheat, and rye over oats, rice, and wheat.
- Beans of all types—large and small—with the exception of soybeans (tofu).
- Ginger tea to stimulate slow digestion.
- Oils in very limited quantities, and stick to olive oil, ghee, almond oil, or mustard oil.
- Seeds and nuts on a limited basis, although pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be enjoyed in moderation.
- Spices of all types, especially invigorating ones like ginger, black pepper, chilies, cumin, or cinnamon, while avoiding salt.
- Vegetables of all types, preferably organic, with the exception of those that are starchier, moister, and more sugary, like sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, corn, and tomatoes.
- Dark, bitter greens like endive.
- Lighter, smaller meals eaten frequently, with your largest meal at lunchtime and the smallest at dinner—and no meals within three hours of sleep.
- Lighter fruits like apples, pears, cranberries, pomegranates, and apricots instead of heavier options like tropical fruits, stone fruits, bananas, melons, dates, and figs.
- More raw foods than cooked.
- Pungent, bitter, and astringent foods, while avoiding sugary, oily, or buttery options.
- Raw honey in limited amounts, but avoid other sweeteners.
- Stimulating, hot, or spicy flavors, ingredients, or cuisines.
- Warm coffees, teas, or meals, while avoiding cold foods or drinks.
- Zesty citrus flavors like lemon or lime.
TIP: For a quick way to remember what keeps you balanced, think stimulation, self-expression, and dryness.
Beyond diet, there are additional activities you can incorporate into your life to keep kapha energies in check. Try these when you feel imbalanced, or be pro-active to support your good health:
- Any routines or regimens that are new or different, including something as simple as a new route to work, a different gym class, or a change in hobbies.
- Social events that require you to socialize and meet new people.
- Experiences that stretch your mind, body, or spirit to think, feel, move, or engage in a different way.
- Stimulating activities that require quick thinking or frenetic movements.
- Avoid sugary, oily, or processed foods.
- Avoid too much relaxation, indulgence, or leisure.
- Maintain a regular sleep routine—early to bed and early to rise—with no naps during the day.
- Create personal boundaries to prevent your nice nature from being taken advantage of.
- Spend time in warm climates or environments, like saunas or beaches.
- Use rejuvenating aromatherapy scents (eucalyptus, for example) to invigorate or energize you throughout the day.
- Walk, bike, or stretch after meals to keep moving and avoid lethargy.
- Distract yourself from eating when you’re feeling emotional by phoning a friend, taking a walk, or engaging in an activity you love.
- Incorporate a dry self-massage (i.e., using no oils or lotions) morning and night to increase circulation and energy levels.
- Add workouts that are challenging, uplifting, frenetic, or competitive, like dancing, running, kickboxing, cycling, or aerobics.
- Trade out neutral or muted fashions for fabrics with bright colors or interesting patterns.
When associating doshas to natural elements, pitta personalities mirror the qualities of fire and water. Pittas balance vata and kapha energies by keeping them fired up. The pitta dosha is associated with transformation and change, so they’re generally considered more flexible and nimble, both in body type and thinking. Pittas are also able to move quickly into action. Pitta body types tend to have a medium build with strong muscle development, warm or oily skin, and loads of body heat. Their thoughts and actions are passionate, expressive, loud, strong and prone to dominating conversations.
In the body, pitta energy is located in the stomach, liver, spleen, small intestine, blood, eyes, sweat, and pancreas. By nature, they tend to overheat both physically and mentally when under stress. If pitta were an animal, they’d be a tiger because of the hot, sharp, aggressive, fluid, acidic, and acerbic qualities demonstrated in their physical and mental acuity.Pitta in Harmony:
When pitta is in harmony, you’ll experience contentment, confidence, focus, strength, and intelligence. Pittas tend to have strong impulses and desires, including a healthy appetite for food, sex, and social interaction. They’re highly extroverted, intelligent, and insightful and often steer the attention and spotlight to themselves—a situation they love. And people love to be around the pitta energy because it’s joyful, radiant, powerful, courageous, and mentally astute.
Pittas also pride themselves on being focused, decisive, successful, ambitious, and highly competitive. You’ll often find them at sporting events, either participating or playing and striving to be the best at whatever they endeavor to do. Because they’re so willful and energetic, pittas achieve what they set out to do and get what they want out of life.
This demeanor often finds them in leadership roles in business, politics, or social networks where their public speaking prowess, managerial skills, and entrepreneurial abilities can be on full display.
Pitta doshas are very self-motivating and need no incentive to push themselves to participate in strenuous or competitive sports or workouts. Their challenge is to not become overly competitive, serious, or hard on themselves. Instead, they should remember to have fun and enjoy their activities, versus being the best or pushing themselves to win no matter what it takes. Pittas should complement their routine with leisurely or meditative activities, like yoga, Pilates, walking, tai chi, qigong, or swimming. Pittas love a pool. They can swim off pent-up aggression and cool off their innate fire.
If you’re pitta predominant, you’ll know you’re out of balance when you have:
- Ulcers or other symptoms of repressed feelings
- Anger, rage, irritability, or judgmental thoughts
- Temper tantrums or outbursts
- Impatience with others, both at home and work
- Skin problems like rashes, eczema, bruises, sunburn, boils, skin cancer, freckles, or acne
- Gray, thinning hair or baldness
- Overly controlling nature about money
- Overly narcissistic or attention-seeking tendencies
- Addictions like caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol, which are stimulants that quickly put their energies out of whack
- A competitive streak on overdrive
- Mood swings that quickly move from laughter to arguments
- Excess sweat or overheating
- Bitterness about your life
- Harsh, overbearing opinions about others
- Inflammation in the body that results in fever, disease, or infection
- Digestive issues like heartburn or acid stomach
- Insomnia or fatigue
- Extreme perfectionism
Pittas need cooling, calming foods to balance their fiery demeanor; therefore, they should eat more cool, juicy, and sweet foods, rather than sour, spicy, salty, oily, acidic, or warm options.
Use these foods when you experience symptoms of imbalance and need to rebalance. You may also rely on them proactively to keep energies in balance if pitta is your dosha:
- Apples, mango, melons, grapes, lychee, dates, coconut, and pomegranate, but avoid apricots, berries, cherries, citrus, tropical fruits, plums, and rhubarb.
- Beans of any type are fantastic, with the exception of lentils.
- Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, celery, lettuce, peas, mushrooms, potatoes, squash, zucchini, celery, corn, and parsnip. Limit beets, carrots, chilies, pickled veggies, radish, spinach, turnip, tomatoes, avocados, and eggplant.
- Butter (unsalted), buttermilk, soft cheese, sweet lassi, and ghee, but limit heavier or sour dairy products like yogurt, ice cream, sour buttermilk, hard cheese, and sour cream.
- Grains like barley, rice, oats, and wheat, but not millet, buckwheat, rye, or corn.
- Herbs and spices like turmeric, lemon-grass, mint, rose, cardamom, coriander, dill, fennel, and cumin, which have cooling, calming properties. Limit heat generators like basil, bay leaves, caraway, cinnamon, mustard seed, onion, cayenne, sage, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, or chilies.
- Salads and leafy greens like kale, arugula, dandelions, and endive.
- Sunflower, soy, and coconut oils work well with this body type. Use corn, sesame, peanut, almond, and olive oils in moderation.
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds and coconut are suggested, but reduce the intake of all other nuts and sesame seeds.
- Cool drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, chilled water or milk, and coconut milk are ideal. Limit coffee, tea, and other hot drinks, plus alcohol and carbonated drinks like seltzer and sodas.
- Natural sweeteners like sugar, honey, agave or fruit nectars, rather than artificial sweeteners.
TIP: For a quick way to remember what keeps you balanced, think calm, moderation, and cooling.
Beyond diet, there are additional activities you can incorporate into your life to keep pitta energies in check. Try these when you feel imbalanced; rely on them proactively to support good health:
- Spend time in nature.
- Enjoy friends and family in relaxed environments, such as during a walk after dinner or taking a yoga class together.
- Physical exercise that is calming and doesn’t lend itself to overheating or competitiveness, like swimming, tai chi, qigong, walking, yoga, or stretching.
- Regular mealtimes. (Pittas don’t like to skip meals.)
- Short work breaks throughout the day to stay mindful, focus on breath, or meditate.
- Cool or moist environments rather than hot weather, sun, or heat, which makes pittas tired and overheated.
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.
- To calm you when you’re feeling stressed, try 1 teaspoon of rose petal jam on crackers, toast, or plain.
- Avoid overworking, and instead commit to work-life balance.
- Limit fried, pickled, and spicy foods, which contribute to pittas’ overheating.
- Charity or other nonprofit work that cultivates generosity, sharing, patience, honesty, kindness, and ethics over achievement, competition, and aggression.
- Anger management exercises or therapy.
- Self-massage five minutes a day with coconut oil anywhere there’s tension, especially feet and scalp.
- Start the day with ½ cup aloe vera juice combined with ½ cup pomegranate or apple juice instead of coffee or black tea.
- A cool bath or shower before bedtime to help you sleep.
- Cool evening walks when the sun goes down to relax you after a tough day.
- No electronics or exercise after work to allow time to relax before bed.
- Lunches that contain cooling foods, as pitta dosha energy peaks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., causing you to crave the wrong foods like onions, garlic, chilies, and other warming spices and herbs.
What are the Blended Doshas?
Most people have one dominant dosha, but in some instances, you might have two equal doshas, with third lesser energy. For example, you might be vata-pitta dominant in terms of your personality and exercise habits, but with the occasional kapha trait or tendency. Say you have long-lasting, deep friendships. If you’ve got double doshas, those energies don’t necessarily “blend.” In other words, if you’re vata-pitta, you won’t have one big compilation of vata and pitta tendencies running all the time. Instead, you’ll find that one dosha is more prominent than the other, depending on the day, the situation, your environment, or certain circumstances going on in your life.
Conversely, you can also be one dosha in your mind and another in your body. For example, you can have vata physical characteristics – tall, lanky, and energetic with frenetic motions- but kapha mindset in how you approach aspects of your life. Say you’re more relaxed or confident about work, rather than worried, or you’re more cool and quiet in social situations, rather than the life of the party. The 3 types of double dosha are:Vata-Pitta:
Read about both vata and pitta doshas to determine which traits resonate most with you. If you’re vata in the body, then your physique likely follows that of a typical vata-dominant energy: You’re thin, energetic, and mobile as well as a great conversationalist who is energetic, spontaneous, and fun-loving. Pitta mental traits will add a touch of fire, even irritability, along with better digestion and circulation.
Pitta energies in the body will give you a more medium build with greater muscle tone, complemented by the vata mental energies that pull you toward anxiety, stress, and worry.
Because vata and pitta have drying characteristics, you need to focus on a diet that contains moist, oily, and hydrating foods to keep skin, hair, joints, and tissues lubricated. Minimize light, dry, or hot foods while incorporating sweeter options. Salty, pungent, and bitter flavors should be avoided.
Vata-pitta energies can stay in harmony better by the seasons: pacifying or stabilizing pitta in the hot weather, while reducing vata in the cooler fall and winter months.
Read about both pitta and kapha doshas to determine which traits resonate most with you. If kapha dosha is dominant in the body, you’ll likely have a sturdier, stockier frame, with some muscle tone thanks to pitta characteristics. Mentally, you’ll be more ambitious, competitive, driven, and social thanks to pitta energy, and at times, even quicker to anger, judgement, or impatience.
If pitta is present in the body, look for a more medium build with good muscle tone and a more laid-back, easygoing way of being. On the downside, kapha energies can have a tendency to make the normally work-hard, play-hard pittas lazier and less motivated than they’d normally be.
Because both energies share the water elements, this double dosha should focus on foods that are astringent and drying, rather than oily, sweet, or moist.
Pitta-kapha energies can stay in harmony better by the seasons: pacifying pitta in the hot weather, while reducing kapha in the cold, damp winter and spring months.
Read about both vata and kapha doshas to determine which traits resonate most with you. That said, this combination isn’t often seen because these two energies tend to be direct opposites in many ways. Think about the energetic and mobile nature of the butterfly-like vata energy combined with the slower, more sedentary tortoise-like kapha nature.
If you’re vata-predominant in the body, you’ll likely have the thinner frame combined with the chilled-out, peaceful demeanor of the kapha energy. However, a kapha-predominant body type lends itself to a larger frame with potential for weight gain, combined with the more energetic, creative, and enthusiastic love of life from the vata dosha.
In terms of diet, kapha-vatas should seek warm foods because fire is a missing element in their constitution, and they’re often imbalanced by cold foods, cold weather, over- or under-eating, and fasting. Because the vata energy causes you to eat fast while kapha tends toward emotional eating, you’ll find this dual dosha tends to rely on convenience foods, like empty-calorie junk foods.
(Use of extracts from the book The Easy Ayurveda Cookbook: An Ayurvedic Cookbook to Balance Your Body, Eat Well, and Still Have Time to Live Your Life)