Swastha or health is when the digestive fire (agni) is balanced, tissues are adequately nourished, when the body has a normal output of substances no longer required by the body, when the mind and consciousness are in harmony with the body and all the bodily doshas or functional energies are balanced.
(Knowing your dosha and its imbalances is a technique in Ayurveda to detect from which tissue layer the disease is being created. There are seven tissues: plasma, blood, muscle tissue, fat tissue, cartilage, bone marrow and sperm and oocyte.)
Finding out your dosha or natural body-mind complex constitution would be most accurate if done by an expert through pulse diagnosis – Ayurvedic consultation. Our own perception of which elements might be predominant in our body and mind could also be misinterpreted by the influence of our imbalances. The simplest principle to balancing our dosha is that opposite balances and what is alike aggravates.
See below the main characteristics of each dosha to learn more how they can be balanced by their opposite principles:
Formed of Air and Space elements. Principle responsible for movements in body and mind - Characterised by these qualities: light, cold, mobile, dry and fine.
Formed of Fire and Water elements. Principle responsible for metabolism and transformation - Characterised by these qualities: moist (wet), pungent, sharp, liquid and hot.
Formed of Earth and Water elements. Principle responsible for hydration, binding and nourishment - Characterised by these qualities: slow, heavy, stable, cold and oily.
Vata dosha, formed of air and ether or space, is responsible for circulation, the nervous and breathing systems, thoughts, creativity, listening. Vata increases with bitter and astringent tasting food, and decreases with salty tastes. It increases in the summer and diminishes in the autumn season. This body constitution is long and skinny, usually with dry skin and difficulties to gain weight. As far as emotional state is considered, they can come across as scattered and spacey, but when more balanced, as inspiring.
Pitta dosha, formed by fire and water, is responsible for digestion, metabolism, bodily temperature, vision, intelligence, courage and self-esteem. Pitta gets increased with spicy hot tasting food. It is strong in the autumn and decreases in early winter. This body constitution is well defined with muscles, pinkish skin and easy to gain and lose weight. The emotional attitude is described as focused, or when not in balance – angry.
Kapha dosha, formed by water and earth, is responsible for the balance of bodily fluids, stability, body structure, memory. Kapha increases with sweet and decreases with pungent taste food items. It increases in late winter, is strongest in spring and decreases in the summer season. This body constitution is heavy and hard to lose weight, with oily skin. Kapha emotions are usually stable, yet, when imbalanced, they can be stubborn.