What is Tridosha in Ayurveda: A complete Guide


What is Tridosha?

It is better to ask What are Tridoshas instead of What is Tridosha. Tridoshas, categorized as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are the 3 fundamental energies or humors present in the human body. These universal forces govern all bodily functions, whether it is movement (governed by Vata), metabolism (governed by Pitta), or structure (governed by Kapha). This internal energy (dosha) even controls our mental and emotional wellbeing. The concept of Tridosha

is the prime foundation for the diagnosis and healing process in Ayurveda. 

How are Tridosha and Panchamahabhuta related? 

According to Ayurveda, the human body is made up of five basic elements (Panch Mahabhutas) – Space (Akasha), Air (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water (Jal), and Earth (Prithvi). The combination of these five elements determines individual Prakriti or constitution. For optimum functioning of the body, these five elements must be held together and work in harmony. This is ensured by Tridoshas.  Ayurveda defines the combination of these five elements into three Doshas namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. 


What are the main functions of Tridosha?

Vata Dosha : 

Vata dosha is constituted by the elements air(Vayu) and space (Akash). It is the most powerful and significant of the three doshas. It is known as the ‘emperor of doshas’ since it rules the body’s larger life energy and gives movement to the body including tissues (Saptadhatu), wastes (Trimala), and also the other two doshas - pitta and Kapha.

Pitta Dosha: 

Pitta dosha is constituted by the elements water( Jala) and fire(Agni). It is the energy of digestion and metabolism. It provides heat energy to the body and governs all the processes related to conversion and transformation throughout the mind and body.

Kapha Dosha:

Kapha dosha is constituted by the elements earth(Prithvi) and water( Jala). It provides structure and lubrication to the different tissues of the body like joints, etc. It also aids strength and vigour by carrying nutrients to the body.  These qualities help to offset Vata's movement and Pitta's metabolism.

What do you mean by balancing Tridosha?

It is said that when Tridoshas are balanced, the health of our bodies is maintained but any imbalance in them results in different kinds of diseases. Here balancing dosha does not mean that Vata, pitta, and Kapha should be in equal proportions. 

Every individual has all the three doshas in the body but the Prakriti (constitution) of every individual is different. Some have a higher level of Vata, whereas others may have higher levels of Kapha or pitta. Whichever Prakriti a person has, he should maintain that Prakriti throughout his life. This is the balancing of doshas.

The quantity and quality of the three doshas alter in the body according to age, season, time of the day, diet, and several other factors. 

So, keeping in account all these factors we should focus on keeping our doshas balanced to keep ourselves healthy. For that, one should know what type of dosha is dominant in them and what type of food, exercises, and lifestyle to adapt to balance it.

Tridosha and Prakriti

In Ayurveda, Prakriti is defined as the unique constitution of an individual. Every person is classified based on their Prakriti. Every person has a fixed Prakriti because every person has predetermined panch mahabhutas (air, fire, water, ether, and earth), doshas (Vata, pitta, Kapha), and Trigunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) at the time of birth. 

Do you know that a person’s physical build-up, nature and is also dependent on his/her dosha type? And can you believe that a person’s profession can also be determined through his/her Prakriti? 

A person’s Prakriti or dosha type is dependent on the following factors:

family history



diet of mother at the time of pregnancy

dosha type of parents

Quality of sperm and ova

Although there are 3 doshas, there are 7 Prakriti or dosha types. An individual can fall into any one of the dosha types. Everyone has all three doshas. Few have the dominance of one dosha (Eka Doshaja Prakriti) but most people have a dominance of two doshas (Dwandavaja Prakriti). Few have all the three doshas in equilibrium (Sama doshaja Prakriti).

1. Vata dominant

2. Pitta dominant

3. Kapha dominant

4. Vata-Pitta dominant

5. Pitta-Kapha dominant

6. Vata-Kapha dominant

7. Vata- Pitta –Kapha balanced

Dosha types:

1. Vata:  

It is symbolized as dry, cold, rough, light, minute, clear and mobile. People with balanced Vata dosha are usually slim, active, creative, talkative, energetic, and flexible. They are also quick learners, have a lively and fun personality, are full of joy and enthusiasm.

2. Pitta: 

It is symbolized as hot, sharp, light, liquid, and oily. People with Pitta nature have many of the virtues of fire & water within them. People of balanced pitta usually have a high metabolic rate, intelligent and sharp mind, strong concentration power. They are good orators, competitive, courageous, energetic. They can take decisions easily. They put up weight easily and lose weight quickly too.

3. Kapha: 

Kapha is symbolized as heavy, slow, cool, oily, dense, soft, stable, gross, cloudy (sticky). Being a combination of earth and water, Kapha is the heaviest of the three doshas. People with balanced Kapha dosha are generally tall and have large body frames and have a charming personality They have cold body temperature, glossy skin, depleted metabolism. Their appetite is poor. 

The Kapha people like diet inclusive of Warm, light food cooked without much water, minimum of butter, oil and sugar, raw fruits and vegetables,

In general, the nature of Kapha people is easy-going and relaxed. They are hard-working and have a steady mind and have excellent integrity. They are kind-hearted, calm, follow the nature of forgetting & forgiving, maintain relationships, and are non-judgmental. They do not get upset easily and are known to be possessive by nature and so hold on to things and people for a longer period.

4. Vata-Pitta: 

People with this Prakriti have the combination of both the doshas in their appearance and behavior. They have the air of Vata and fire of Pitta. 

5. Pitta-Kapha: 

People with this Prakriti have the combination of fire of Pitta and water of Kapha.

6. Vata-Kapha: 

People with this Prakriti have the combination of pitta and Kapha dosha type.

7. Vata-Pitta-Kapha: 

Very few individuals are found to have the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas in equilibrium. People with the equilibrium of this dosha type are always free of diseases. 

Sub-Types of Tridosha, their function and location:


Vata Dosha

Types of Vata Dosha



 1. Prana Vata 

Controls inhalation, digestion, perception through the senses and governs the mind. 

A body remains alive only due to Prana Vayu. If it is not there, the body is dead.

 Chief location: head

Other locations: throat, heart, tongue, mouth, and respiratory organs.


2. Apana Vata 

Administers & manages all descending urges (urination, elimination, menstruation, sexual discharges, etc.).

 Both the testicles, the bladder, the urinary tract, the navel, the femoral, and the anus.


3. Samana Vata

 Regulates peristaltic movement of the digestive system, i.e. distribution of Rasa produced by digested food to all the nerves & organs.

 Stomach and small intestines.


4. Udana Vata

 Administrates & directs speech, self-expression, endeavour, passion, strength and vivacity, separation of solid and liquid parts of the digested food.

 navel, lungs and throat.


5. Vyana Vata

 Governs circulation, heart rhythm, locomotion. 

It creates motion & circulation in the body.

 Heart and flooded through the whole body.


Pitta Dosha

 Types of Pitta Dosha



1. Pachaka Pitta 
 Governs digestion of food which is broken down into nutrients and waste.

 Located in the stomach and small intestine.
2. Bharajaka Pitta
 Regulates lustre, complexion, colour and temperature of the skin.

 Located in the skin.
3. Ranjaka Pitta
Oversees formation of red blood cells. Bestows colour to blood and stools.

 Located in the liver, gallbladder and spleen.
4. Alochaka Pitta
Administers visual sensitivity.

 Located in the eyes.
5. Sadhaka Pitta
Rules emotions such as pleasure, wisdom, memory, intelligence, thoughts.

 Located in the heart.

Kapha Dosha

 Types of Kapha Dosha




1. Kledana Kapha

 Dominates moistening and liquidity of the food in the digestion process.



2. Rasana Kapha

 Oversees perception of taste, lubricating and moistening of food.


 3. Avalambhana Kapha

 Governs lubrication of the heart and lungs. Provides strength to the back, chest and heart.

 chest, heart and lungs.


4. Shleshana Kapha

 Controls lubrication of all joints, stability & strength in the body.


 5. Snehana Kapha

 Runs calmness, happiness and stability. Nourishment of sense and organs.

 head, sinuses and spinal chord.

Where are Tridosha situated in Our body?

The chief location of Kapha is the upper portion of body upto Heart.

The chief location of Pitta is the region between Heart and Navel.

The chief location of Kapha is the region below navel.

However, these are only the main location where impact of particular dosha is more. The Tridoshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are distributed all over the body. 


Ayurvedic Clock and Tridosha: 

Ayurveda has the prescription of our dincharya (daily regime), that is, the optimal times for sleeping, waking, eating, and other activities. The timings are allotted according to the doshas.

Every day the clock goes through the Tridoshas twice. The two cycles are Sun cycle and Moon cycle.


Sun Cycle (sunrise-sunset):

Kapha Period: 6:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.

Pitta Period: 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

Vata Period: 2:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Moon cycle (sunset – sunrise):

Kapha Period: 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Pitta Period: 10:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M.

Vata Period: 2:00 A.M. – 6:00 A.M.



Vata Period: 

The first phase of the Vata Period is before sunrise. A person should wake up at this period. This is also called Brahma muhurta. This is the best time to meditate, chant mantras, affirmations, and other spiritual practices. 

The second phase is before sunset. The nervous system is most active at this time. Utilize this period for creativity, mental activity, and problem-solving.

Kapha Period:

Kapha is dominant after sunrise i.e. from 6:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. One should wake up in the morning before the Kapha period starts. Being heavy and sluggish, Kapha would promote these qualities in a person if he/she wakes up during Kapha time. It is the best time to do exercise and prepare the body for physical activity.

In the second phase of the Kapha period, i.e. from 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M., we normally have dinner and wind up our work of the day. It is advised to take a light dinner and before 8 P.M. because the Kapha elements (water and earth) are heavy. Taking a heavy meal at this time would produce more Kapha. The later part of this phase should be devoted to soothing and calming activities which would prepare you for a sound sleep.

Pitta period:

Pitta elements (fire and water) are active during this period. Pitta is at its peak at noon. Our digestive fire is also at its peak during this time. So, it is the best time to have the biggest meal of the day, lunch around noon. Pitta rules activity. Hence this time should be devoted to working and productivity. However, People with predominant Pitta dosha should avoid vigorous activities during this phase as it would increase heat in their body and Pitta too has fire element in it.

Pitta is also active at night from 10:P.M.- 2:00 A.M. Although Pitta governs activity, this time should be spent sleeping so that your inner organs could harness this productive time and process of cleansing is done inside the body. This is the reason why eating is not recommended during this time even when the digestive fire is at its peak. By not eating anything during this time, you allow the Liver and other digestive organs to do tissue-level digestion.

Relationship between Tridosha and seasons:

According to the Indian/Hindu calendar, in a year there are two periods, namely Uttarayana (Northern Solstice) and Dakshinayana (winter solstice)and

six ritus (seasons) and to balance the doshas, ritucharya (seasonal regime) should be followed. 

The six seasons are:

Shishir (late winter)

Vasanta (spring)

Grishma (summer)

Varsha (monsoon)

Sharad (autumn)

Hemant (winter)

The first three seasons fall into the first-period Uttarayana and the last three seasons fall into the period Dakshinayana. In Uttarayana the Sun is more powerful whereas in Dakshinayana moon becomes more powerful.

Doshas and seasons:

There are three natural responses of doshas according to seasons. A person will have a disease-free body if the following three responses occur naturally according to seasons.

1. Sanchaya (Accumulation): The doshas naturally accumulate in the body during particular seasons.

2. Prakopa (Aggravation): The doshas naturally aggravate in the body during particular seasons.

3. Prashama (Decrease): The doshas naturally decrease in the body during particular seasons.

Vata dosha and Season Variation: Vata accumulates in the Summer season, aggravates in the Monsoon season, and decreases in the Autumn season.

Pitta dosha and Season Variation: Pitta accumulates in the Monsoon season, aggravates in the Autumn season, and decreases in the Early winter season.

Kapha dosha and Season Variation: Kaphaa accumulates in the Late winter season, aggravates in the Spring season, and decreases in the Summer season.

If the seasonal regime is not followed, the doshas aggravate and get imbalanced, which leads to many diseases.

Prevention for seasonal dosha imbalance

Ayurveda has given the concept of Ritu-sandhi (seasonal junction). This is a period of 14 days comprising the last 7 days of a season and the first 7 days of the next season. 

To maintain the dosha balance, one should gradually give up the food habits and practices of the previous season and adapt the food habits and activities of the next season during this period. It results in a smooth transition without any health deterioration.

Symptoms or effects of Imbalanced Doshas : 

To give a clear understanding of the concept, here is a chart explaining the symptoms or effects of imbalanced Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha dosha.


 Symptoms or effects of imbalanced Vata dosha

 Symptoms or effects of imbalanced Pitta dosha

Symptoms or effects of imbalanced Kapha dosha


Physical Symptoms:

dryness of skin

dry cough


lower back pain

menstrual disorders

abdominal pain

general body ache




loss of weight 




always feeling thirsty or hungry

burning sensation  in body parts



skin problems 



highly sensitive to heat and liking for cool environment 

Difficulty in breathing

excessive sleep


loss of appetite

water retention



sweetness in mouth


Behavioural symptoms:

 becomes impulsive, moody, confused, & emotional 

have the tendency to forget

lack of will-power


have little tolerance, confidence and boldness

full of stress , fear, anxiety sleeplessness.





aggressive attitude









Important Note:

Symptoms are mainly seen in the location of Vata.

Symptoms are mainly seen in the body parts where Pitta is located.

Symptoms are mainly seen in the body parts where Kapha is located.

How to balance Doshas? 

Whatever be your Dosha type, it is important to have dosha in balance because then the body produces Oj or Ojas- the essence of life. Increasing doshas and the results of their imbalance helps one to find out the origin of their disease and seek crucial assistance. Anyone witnessing any of the above-mentioned symptoms and effects should contact an Ayurvedic practitioner /consultant. Dosha balance can be restored through efficient Ayurvedic medication and an appropriate diet.

How to balance Vata?

Food to eat: 

Vata people can include sweet, salty, hot, and sour food in their diet. To bring balance to Vata, the diet is so comprised as to include cooked grains such as rice and cooked vegetables with spices. warm milk, Pungent & nourishing herbs bring balance to Vata. 

Food to avoid: 

bitter, dry, cold, and pungent food is not beneficial to Vata Prakriti.

Activities to balance Vata: 

color and aromatherapies

How to balance Pitta?


Food to eat: 

Light diets along with foods such as raw vegetables, cooked rice, and wheat, as well as most beans are recommended. Take cool, refreshing food in summer. Salads are good, so are milk and ice cream. Overall, food which is cold, dry, sweet, and bitter are beneficial to Pitta Prakriti.

Food to avoid: 

Reduce the consumption of salt, oil, and spicy food, all of which are “heating” to the body. Food which is hot, pungent, and sharp in properties are not good in Pitta Prakriti.

Activities to balance Pitta:


How to balance Kapha?

Food to eat: 

To counter Kapha and restore balance, the nutritional and herbal programs of the opposite values are advised. Food which is light, hot, dry, pungent in properties is beneficial to Kapha Prakriti. Lots of vegetables and are prescribed.

Food to avoid: 

very little nuts or dairy should be taken. Avoid food that is sweet, cold, and heavy.


aroma and color therapies
elimination of  toxins
Ardha Chakrasana

Any disease where Vata-Pitta-Kapha are involved, the vitiated doshas directly affect the Dhatus. With insight into the governing dosha, the cause of a diseased dhatu is accurately determined. The disturbed dosha ( Vata, Pitta, or Kapha) and improper dhatus are always directly involved in the disease process. 

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