The Easiest Way To Understand Doshas

One of the biggest task for any beginner in Ayurveda is to get a good understanding of Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. While it takes at least 3 months of Ayurveda learning to understand Tridosha very clearly, there are some shortcuts as well. Here is the easiest way to understand Doshas. 

How To Understand Tridosha?
The best way to understand doshas is by its qualities. You can observe the qualities of Tridosha very easily in your own body. Here’s how.

Qualities of Vata Dosha are – dryness, Laghu – Lightness, Sheeta – coldness, Khara – roughness, Sookshma – minuteness, Chala – movement

Dryness – Any symptom in the body, that is associated with dryness is influenced by Vata. For example – Dry skin. Dry and cracked foot, Dry eye syndrome, dry lips etc. All the skin diseases with dryness as a feature is due to Vata Dosha.

Lightness – Because Vata Dosha is composed of Vayu (air) and Akasha (ether), it is naturally very light. So, whenever you feel there is lightness in the body, you can blindly assume that Vata is influencing your body. For example, at the end of digestion process, your stomach will be feeling light. That lightness is due to Vata. This is why, in the last article, while learning about Dosha dominance,  we learnt that the last part of digestion process is influenced by Vata. Makes sense?

Coldness – Coldness and dryness are inter-connected. Like, during winter, your skin tends to feel dry. Notice that both cold and dry are Vata qualities. Whenever your hands or legs are feeling cold, you can assume that there is Vata increase. During winter, the sensation of pain will be more. Pain is a symptom of Vata, and coldness is increasing the Vata symptom.

Roughness – dryness and roughness exist with each other. Like roughness in lips, rough cracked foot, etc are characteristic of Vata activity.

Minuteness – Vata, being made of ether and air, it can penetrate through all the body channels, into deepest tissues.

Chala – movement – increase in movement is due to Vata.

  • For example, in extreme cold, your hands start to shiver. Coldness causing increased movement of limbs.
  • The movement of fluids, food, nutrients etc inside body, gastro intestinal track is due to Vata.
  • Locomotion activities such as walking, limb movements is due to Vata.
  • Anything that is related to movement is due to Vata.
  • Excretion of feces, urine etc are due to Vata only.
  • Vata body type person usually can not keep his legs still. He will be moving his legs continuously.

Qualities of Pitta Dosha – Sasneha – slightly oily, unctuous, Teekshna – piercing, entering into deep tissues, Ushna – hotness, Laghu – lightness, Visram – bad smell, sara – having fluidity, movement, drava – liquidity are the qualities of Pitta.

Pitta Dosha can be compared to fire.

Slightly oily, unctuous – For fire to burn, you would require some oil or ghee as fuel. If you add oil to fire, the fire would increase.

Piercing, penetrating – Because Pitta is made up of fire and water, it has the capacity to enter into deep body tissues.

Ushna – hotness – All the warm factors in the body is influenced by Pitta Dosha.

  • For example, digestion, body temperature etc.
  • All the metabolic activities also generate some amount of energy, and hence are influenced by Pitta Dosha.
  • Whenever there is increase in temperature, as in fever, there is increase of Pitta in the body.

Lightness – because Pitta is made of water and fire components, and fire part is higher than the water part, lightness is also a quality of Pittha.

Bad smell – The bad breath problem is usually influenced by Pitta Dosha. The bad smell in feces and urine are also influenced by Pitta.

Fluidity, liquidity – are also qualities of Pitta. Pitta can be conceptualised as a liquid fuel burning.

Qualities of Kapha Dosha – 

Snigdhna – oily, unctuous, Sheeta – cold, Guru – heavy, Manda – mild, viscous, shlakshna – smooth, clear, Mrutsna – slimy, jelly, sthira – stability, immobility are the qualities of Kapha.

Oiliness and unctuousness – the oily factor brings in lubrication.

  • Hence all the lubrication factors in joints (synovial fluid), vertebral discs, cerebro-spinal fluid around brain, pleural fluid etc are Kapha factors.
  • Oily skin is due to Kapha
  • Generally all the oils, oily food stuff, deep fried food tend to increase Kapha.

Cold – is due to both Kapha and Vata Doshas.

  • Kapha is formed by water and earth matters.
  • Cold is a nature of water, hence it is a quality of Kapha as well.
  • Winter brings in respiratory diseases. Winter means cold, respiratory diseases are more commonly due to Kapha Dosha.
  • Cold food stuff like ice cream, cucumber, frozen food stuff increase Kapha.

Heavy – Wherever you can observe heaviness, there is definite influence of Kapha. Like heaviness in head. Heavy body, or being overweight has influence of Kapha.

Mild and viscous – delay in expressing feelings, delay in understanding etc are features of Kapha body type. Person with such a body types will take a long time to make decisions. He usually walks slowly.

Smoothness, jelly – are qualities of Kapha.

Clear – clarity – is a quality of Kapha Dosha. usually person with Kapha body type, though may take a long time to understand and decide, his belief system will be very clear. He usually has a clear white sclera (white part of eye), without prominent blood vessels.

Stability and immobility are due to Kapha Dosha. Wherever there is stiffness, there is definite influence of Kapha. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis (Amavata), Kapha has influence.

In extreme cold, there will be body stiffness. Note here that both cold and stiffness are due to Kapha.

So, understanding the Tridosha theory becomes very easy, when you try to understand it by its qualities.

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  1. Nice informative article, but what when we have contradictory symptoms like in my case I have dryness which says “Vata” dominance. but my body is very hot then others in any weather, specially my hand and foot palms !!

    • Dr JV Hebbar says:

      Two symptoms of two Doshas can manifest at same place. Like dryness and burning sensation can both be manifested in palms and feet. Hope the point is clear?

  2. Suzanne Gano says:

    I am so grateful for all of your educational information. Would there be any chance that you may start some sort of certificate program for those of us who learn this information? Thank you

    • Dr JV Hebbar says:

      Many thanks for your kind appreciation. Let me assure you that this is only the beginning. And Ayurveda is an ocean. So a very long long way to go and lots and lots of things to learn.
      As of now, I do not have any such certification program. I do not have any offer from any Ayurveda institute regarding that. Starting an institute on my own is a herculean task for me. It will be very costly and I am a poor guy. I have learnt Ayurveda for 11 years, and have been teaching the same through my website for three years. I will continue to do that.
      What I suggest to you is, learn Ayurveda from here, and join any 1 year / 2 year certification program which may already be there in your country.

  3. Thanks a lot Dr. for the invaluable information you provide on your website. Much appreciated.

    Question for you – Does taking aswagandha Churna and licorice powder daily affect hypothyroid. I am a vata dosha.



  4. my digestion is very weak due to atony of intestin .is this is due to pitta dosha or kapha dosha bcoz both results in indigestion?i m vata person sure.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, Atony of intestines and weak digestion is usually due to Kapha Dosha aggravation.

  5. Siddharth says:


    These articles are a very good source of knowledge about Ayurveda. I love reading your articles.
    I faced some problem in browsing through this website. I didn’t found a suitable place to write this so writing in comments section.

    There are some discrepancies in links, like “Dosha dominance” link in this article redirects to
    while the original link is

    I have seen this in a few of the posts till now. Can your team fix these errors, there might be more!!

    Warm Regards

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