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5 Elements & the Doshas

Elements & Doshas

In Ayurveda, the five elements found in all living things — ether, air, fire, water, and earth — are the building blocks of life. While this foundation unites all beings, the manifestation of those elements give rise to our differences. How the three doshas appear, and in what proportion, makes each of us physiologically unique.

From the perspective of Ayurveda, there are three universal, holistic,, fundamental forces, or doshas, that pervade all of material nature: vata, pitta, and kapha. The ancient records describe in detail which dosha produces certain elements, qualities, tastes, smells, shapes, colors and moods. Vata is a combination of the elements space and air (as well as the qualities born of those elements); pitta: of fire and water; kapha: of water and earth. These fundamental forces work in every individual and all of nature to govern all physical, mental, and emotional processes.

All matter manifests from a combination of all five of the elements in different proportions. We are all made up of a unique combination of all three doshas. This unique combination gets determined at the moment of conception, and becomes your own personal blueprint, or prakruti (balanced nature). As you move through life, the proportion of each of the three doshas constantly fluctuate according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. Because of this, balance is not something that is ever attained, but rather a dynamic state that we constantly move towards (or away from) as we make micro adjustments to harmonize with our external circumstances. As they move into and out of balance, the doshas can affect your health, energy level, and general mood.

There is a simple equation that Ayurveda uses to bring us back into a state of balance:

like increases like: If you feel cold and you drink something cold, you will feel colder.

opposites balance: If you feel cold and you drink a hot beverage, you will move towards a state of balance.

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