According to Ayurveda, there are five fundamental elements that all of nature can be divided into:
- Space (Akasha)
- Air (Vayu)
- Fire (Agni)
- Water (Apu)
- Earth (Prithvi)
These elements are also what encompass the human physiology. Therefore, everything that is in nature is also within us. By looking at what the elements do in the body and how they function together, Ayurveda pin- points three principle physiological energies or forces, called Doshas. The three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, arise from the naturally occurring couplings of the elements. The Vata dosha is made up of space and air. The Pitta dosha is the combination of fire and water. The Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth.
The energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are in everyone, but we each inherit a unique proportion of these Doshas upon conception. This unique combination of the three Doshas is called your Prakriti or your constitution - it is your blue print in this life, depicting the best model of you that will ever be, that is, your truest self. While it is not unheard of for people to have nearly equal proportions of the three Doshas (tridoshic) or just one very predominant Dosha (monodoshic) as their Prakriti, most people have two leading Doshas that are more or less equally dominant, with the remaining one more passive.
For good mental and physical health to be maintained, the three Doshas within you need to be in balance. That does not mean they need to be equal, unless you were born with equal Doshas; it means that you need to maintain your original Doshic make-up or Prakriti to experience your best self, your best life.
When your unique proportion is askew, you will notice imbalances that cause discomfort and ailment. Some factors that can affect our Doshic balance are: dietary choices, lifestyle choices, climate, environmental pollution, work/career, various relationships with people, even just the passage of time. It is virtually impossible to stay in perfect balance, as nature intended, 100% of the time, but life isn't defined by perfection of being, but more so by integrity of action. And Ayurveda teaches us how to act in utmost accordance with our true selves to experience absolute health, wellness, and beauty.