We now begin to apply Ayurvedic principles to discover and understand your own unique constitution.
According to Ayurveda, there are seven main body types:
All three doshas are present in each individual at all times, but their proportion varies from person to person. Thus, ten vata individuals, or ten kapha-pitta individuals, will have ten different temperaments, ten unique sets of qualities and characteristics. Maintaining our individual qualitative and quantitative proportion of the doshas is our challenge if we are to remain healthy. When we maintain this proportion our health is good, but when the balance is upset, disease may result.
Prakruti and Vikruti
At the time of conception, each person’s combination and proportion of vata, pitta, and kapha is determined according to the genetics, diet, lifestyle, and current emotions of the parents. As mentioned in the Introduction, the doshas predominant in the parents combine to form the constitution of the new life they are creating.
If, for example, the father is pitta predominant and the mother vata predominant, and the pitta factor is stronger than the vata, and the union is taking place on a hot summer night after eating a spicy meal, then the baby that is born will have a constitution that is pitta predominant. Or if both parents are kapha, and they have a kaphagenic diet and are making love in kapha season, then their child will have a predominance of kapha dosha.
A few fortunate individuals are born with a constitution in which all three doshas are equally present, which gives them the likelihood of exceptionally good health and a long life span, but most of us have one or two doshas predominant.
NOTE: When Ayurveda says health comes from balancing your doshas, this does not mean you should try to have equal amounts of vata, pitta, and kapha. Rather, it means maintaining the balance with which you were conceived.
The unique and specific combination of the three doshas at conception is called your prakruti, which means “nature.” It is your psychobiological temperament. Prakruti does not change during a person’s lifetime. Your prakruti may, for example, be predominantly pitta, with vata secondary and a little kapha. (This can be written as V2P3K1.) For you, maintaining balance means keeping this proportion. If your vata or kapha should increase, moving toward an equal proportion of the doshas, it would not be healthy for you.
As conditions change—due to weather, dietary choices, fatigue, stress, emotional state, exercise or lack of it—the balance of the doshas in our mind-body system also changes. This altered state of the doshas, reflecting the current state of our health, is called our vikruti. If your health is excellent, your current doshic status will be the same as your prakruti. But more likely there will be a discrepancy, and it is this difference between the two that gives a direction for healing. Your aim will be to reestablish the balance indicated by your prakruti.
I know you are eager to find out what your constitution is, so let’s move on to that. Afterward, we will look more deeply into the characteristics of each doshic type.
The Complete Book of Ayurvedic – Vasant Lad, M.A.Sc, Published by Harmony Books, 1998