In Ayurveda, each individual is composed of 3 life energies or doshas. It is the unique harmony & balance of these energies (both within oneself & also with nature) that is the key to the Ayurvedic lifestyle.
The 3 doshas are:
Thus, each person is defined & characterized by a primary dosha. By eating the appropriate foods & following a specified diet, an individual can learn to achieve internal balance with the other doshas.
Vata is the principle of movement. Individuals with a strong & dominant vata dosha are highly energetic, imaginative, creative, extroverted and outgoing. They are usually cheerful & bubbly in their personality. If there is an imbalance in vata, this often leads to fear, anxiety, depression, fatigue and nervousness. Individuals must practice the Ayurvedic principles & recommended diet for balancing vata.
Pitta regulates metabolism within the body. Individuals with a prominent pitta dosha are decisive, ambitious, enterprising, strong willed, focused and responsible. They have a strong dominant personality. An imbalance in pitta may cause moodiness, irritability, anger, restlessness, lack of concentration, impatience & stress. Pitta individuals must take steps to ensure that their dosha remains in proper balance & harmony.
Kapha promotes stability and permanence. Individuals with a primary kapha dosha are gentle, kind hearted, good natured, thoughtful, generous and down to earth. They have a strong self confidence & a high self esteem. They have a good sense of humor and a fun loving personality. A kapha imbalance will often lead to stubbornness, lethargy, instability, increased emotional sensitivity and apathy. Thus, individuals with prominent kapha energy should follow the Ayurvedic guidelines to guarantee that kapha remains in balance.
Ayurvedic principles also believe that all material forms (including the human body) are composed of 5 basic essential elements that represent the 5 states or qualities of energy or matter. It is important that these elements remain in harmony & balance.
AIR: The air element is gaseous and has airy qualities. It is characterized as light, clear, dry & its movement is dispersing.
EARTH: The earth element is substantial with qualities of hardness and heaviness. However, its movement is only slightly downward.
FIRE (or Energy): The fire element is pure power of change & transformation. Its qualities are heat & dryness combined with an upward movement.
SPACE (or Ether): Space is the most subtlest of qualities. It is characterized as being smooth, soft, clear with a distinct absence in movement.
WATER: Water is the purest of qualities, it is cool & fluid with a strong downward movement.