Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words – “Ayus” means life and “vid” meaning knowledge. The “Science of Life” is an ancient art of healing that originated in India about 5000 years ago. And Doshas are considered as your blueprint to achieving optimal health.
Just as each of us is born with a unique ratio of Doshas namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha on our constitution, we are also born with a distinctive proportion of Gunas – sattva, rajas, and tamas. The relationship between the three becomes an individual baseline for what Ayurveda refers to as manas prakriti – The Ayurvedic mental constitution.
The mind and the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
The 3 doshas, each have an essential role to play in our overall health, and when provoked, each of them tends to cause a specific range of imbalances that can manifest either in the physical body or in the more subtle reals. As a result, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha each have a particular flavor of influence on the mind, emotions, and overall consciousness, and each of them can either support or undermine our overall health – it all depends on whether or not they are in harmony.
Vata dosha, which rules the nervous system and the mind, is essentially made up of the air and ether elements. Not coincidentally, the mind is also primarily made up of the air and ether elements, making it especially sensitive to Vata imbalances. When in equilibrium, Vata is usually linked with creativity, intuition, perception, the capacity to connect with the mental realms, profound spiritual belief, and a natural sense of expansiveness. Vata imbalances, on the other hand, typically manifest as a certain immaturity, agitation, or hypersensitivity in the mind, and often involve excess rajas as well.
Provoked Vata can cause accelerated changes in mood, fear, anxiety, contraction, a sense of being scattered, a lack of direction, spaciness, ungroundedness, excessive speed in the thoughts and words, over-activity in the sympathetic nervous system, and a sense of loneliness or isolation. An abundance of Vata also tends to draw us out of our bodies, and can leave us feeling somewhat disassociated or disembodied, disturbing our sense of security and belonging to the material world.
Irritations of Vata in mano vaha srotas are often the outcome of overexertion, overworking, stress, trying to attend to too many things all at once, times of travel or transition, overstimulation (e.g., lights, crowds, technology, etc.), loud noises (or loud music), stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine, and recreational drugs, and excessive exercise or sexual activity. Vata can also be raised as a result of a Vata-provoking diet, which may include too many dry, light, and rough foods like raw vegetables, crackers, dried fruits, and the like.
Pitta dosha, which oversees insight and intellect, is fundamentally made up of fire and water elements. Pitta is closely connected with the gray matter of the brain and has a very relevant connection with the mind as a whole. Pitta is also closely followed with several Rasajic qualities, which can grow in the mind and cause very pitta-specific types of imbalances. Healthy pitta is generally associated with courage, confidence, willpower, intelligence, leadership, a sense of vision, acceptance, contentment, satisfaction, enthusiasm, cooperation, and the capacity to surrender.
But when pitta masses in mind, it causes anger, hatred, irritability, frustration, impatience, resentment, envy, judgment, criticism, a rigid attachment to one’s personal beliefs and perspectives, excessive ambition, and a ruthless appetite for power.
Aggravations of pitta and rajas in mano vaha srotas are often created by excess heat and upward moving energy in the body, imbalances in the liver, periods of intense focus or ambition, as well as a tendency to disregard the needs of one’s body in favor of achieving one’s goals. Pitta can also be elevated in the mind as a result of a pitta-provoking diet, which may include too many hot, spicy, especially sour, oily, or fried foods.
Kapha dosha, which commands structure and lubrication in the body, is fundamentally made up of water and earth elements. Kapha is closely connected with the white matter of the brain, the adipose tissue that comprises the brain and nervous tissue, and is also actively quoted to by our capacity for memory. As the dullest of the doshas, Kapha is also aligned with tamas, which can expand in the mind and cause very Kapha-specific types of imbalances. Healthy Kapha is generally linked with love, compassion, patience, groundedness, loyalty, steadiness, endurance, and an overarching sense of ease in one’s life.
But when Kapha stores in our mind, it directs to cause lethargy, complacency, laziness, depression, stubbornness, attachment, greed, emotional possessiveness, and a tendency to hoard material possessions. Exasperations of Kapha and tamas in mano vaha srotas are often caused by extra density and heaviness in the physical, mental, and emotional spheres and can also involve an excess of downward moving energy inside the body. Excess Kapha in the mind is also triggered by an overly sedentary lifestyle, a lack of stimulation or interest in one’s life, inadequate exercise, a sluggish digestive fire, or a Kapha-provoking diet—which might include too many especially heavy, dense, or cold foods like cheese, ice cream, and fried foods.