Know All About Vata Pitta and Kapha Dosha

Sep/26/2021 / by Team SEEMA
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Combined Dosha

As a 5,000 year old holistic healing method from India, Ayurveda which is the science of understanding life. It focuses on balancing the body with the spirit and mind. Ayur is Sanskrit for life, while Veda is knowledge or science. Let’s explore the three doshas Vata Pitta Kapha (Combined Dosha) and how to keep them in balance.

The Three Doshas: Vata Pitta Kapha

Combined Dosha
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Because energy, diet, stress and emotions play a big part in our lives, it is important to focus on the universal energies or elements. These include air, space, fire, water and earth. As they each represent a part of our makeup or personality, they are called doshas. Their names are Vata Pitta Kapha. The Sanskrit word for Dosha is something that causes problems. Hence, there are substances in your body and mind based on a three-dosha theory or tridoshic that the doshas are actually phlegm, wind and bile.

Doshas exist in the body and are based on different seasons of the year and times of the day. They also aid in or can hinder our digestion and affect how we age, grow, handle our emotions and process food and eliminate it.

The Vata Pitta Kapha Elements include:

  • Vata has space and air elements
  • Pitta has water and fire elements
  • Kapha has water and earth elements

Knowing your makeup or personality type can help you to better understand your moods and emotions. Additionally, based on your dosha and Prakriti, or personal nature, you can determine which foods might affect your health and which to avoid as they might contribute to diseases and different illnesses.

For example, a person with a Pitta Dosha might be a red-head with freckles and fair skin. They may have a fiery temper at times and get hot and sweat easily. Hence, understanding each dosha can help you address how to keep it in balance. That same Pitta Dosha might need to stay in cooler climates and avoid becoming stressed or overworked to keep Pitta in balance.

Combined Dosha
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Vata Pitta Kapha: What If You Have More Than One Dosha?

A concern with Vata Pitta Kapha is because you have all three of them, one might be very predominant. This may show up in a particular season or during a certain time of the day. Hence, you might show another type of dosha in your makeup and need to regroup in order to correct the imbalances that come in.

Some people have two doshas that are dominant or they may exhibit a time when all three are evenly balanced. But, keeping them balanced is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing.

Here is a helpful way to understand Vata Pitta Kapha:

Combined Dosha
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Kapha

A good way to understand Vata Pitta Kapha is to know that if Kapha is your dominant dosha, your elements are earth and water. This dosha is very protective and supportive of others. As an example, they can stay up all night talking on the phone.

Because Kapha is fluid, see it like the various fluids that run through your body (water, serous, synovial, mucous, urine, sweat, sexual secretions). Hence, fluid is important as it protects the body from shock. It regulates your temperature, moistens tissues, protects the tissues and organs, and carries oxygen and nutrients to your cells. It also lubricates your joints and flushes toxins out of the kidneys and liver as waste.

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Kapha has the following traits: 

  • Quality: Represents lubrication and includes characteristics like dull, heavy, cold, static, wet and dense.
  • Characteristics: Kaphas suffer from respiratory problems, they can get depressed easily and need to stay motivated. With slow metabolisms, they usually have broad frames but strong bones. Their skin is cool and they are wise, patient, calm, caring, supportive and love to sleep in!
  • Season: Found towards the end of winter into the early spring season, its nature is rain and the moon.
  • When Balanced: The mind is patient, nurturing, loving and compassionate. Body characteristics are strength, lubrication, reproduction, fat, fluids, nourishment and protection.
  • When Imbalanced: The mind is attached, aggressive, greedy and it can hold grudges or carry envy. The body’s characteristics include sinus problems, congestion, allergies, lethargy and excessive weight gain (obesity).
Combined Dosha
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Pitta

To better understand Vata Pitta Kapha, Pitta Doshas have water and fire for their elements. The energy from Pitta is responsible for emotions and digestion. It’s also responsible for how you perceive your surroundings and interpret the interactions of others.

Pittas are quick learners and good leaders with clear voices and excellent vision. Sometimes impatient and prone to conflicts, they are sensitive to heat. Pittas can also have ravenous appetites. However, because they are so active, they might suffer from inflammations and acne (due to their diet).  

Combined Dosha
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If you have Pitta as your dominant Dosha, your characteristics might include:

  • Quality: Represents energy of movement and transformation. Its characteristics include mobile, smooth, sharp, hot, oily and light.
  • Characteristics: Pittas are athletic with muscular builds. Very goal-oriented, their competitive streak can come across as aggression. Season: Found towards the end of the spring into the early summer season. Its nature is heat and the sun’s rays.
  • When Balanced: The mind is intelligent and the memory is strong. Body characteristics are that the metabolism is high and the brain and heart work well together. The digestion is regular and the eyes, skin and blood are functioning properly. 
  • When Imbalanced: The mind is filled with controlling thoughts, the temper might run hot with the person moody. There may be thoughts of anger or hate present. The body might experience heartburn, migraine headaches, nausea or acid reflux. The blood pressure may also go up and cause an elevated or imbalanced heart rate.
Combined Dosha
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Vata

In exploring Vata Pitta Kapha dosha traits, Vata Dosha includes air and space for its elements as it regulates movement. This can include digestion and how you eliminate waste, your breathing, how your eyes blink and how you move your arms and legs. Hence, when there’s a disturbance with Vata, you can become anxious, suffer from panic attacks and experience stress.

Combined Dosha
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If you have Vata as your dominant Dosha, your characteristics might include:

  • Quality: Represents energy that leads to movement. It includes characteristics like light, cold, dry, mobile, subtle and rough.
  • Characteristics: The person might be slim, very energetic and flexible. They are creative but suffer from mood swings. They may occasionally have poor circulation and irregular eating habits.
  • Season: Found towards the end of the fall season into the early winter season, its nature is the wind and cooler or cold air.
  • When Balanced: The mind is calm, spiritual, creative and at peace. Body characteristics are consistent blood flow, the person wants to travel and move more as their creative juices are flowing, they are organized and actions are fast and accurate.
  • When Imbalanced: The mind is full of worry, anxiety and fear. There is stress in the mind and there can be memory lapses. The body may show signs of gas, constipation and dry skin. The person may experience PMS symptoms or experience osteoporosis and joint pain or arthritis.

Not sure which dosha is your dominant one? Run an Ayurvedic body type test or take a dosha test to find out!

Combined Dosha
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Combined Doshas Vs. TriDoshic Vata Pitta Kapha

Maybe you looked at the Vata Pitta Kapha examples above and can now tell if you identify with one, two or three doshas. That’s because it’s possible to have a dominant dosha or combined doshas.

When you have Vata Pitta Kapha balanced, you will see signs of each dosha at different times. Hence, it’s helpful to read the descriptions about the doshas to understand if there’s an imbalance so you can make corrections.

To see how all three doshas might be present, look at all the characteristics above and then look at this example below. In your own life, ask yourself which physical characteristics best represent your body? Which qualities and characteristics closely match your mindset and thinking? Do you identify with any of the imbalances or balances that the doshas have? Let’s look at an example of what it’s like to have a combination of Vata Pitta Kapha doshas.

Tridoshic Vata Pitta Kapha Example

Let’s say that you think you might be tridoshic, meaning you think Vata Pitta Kapha each represent themselves pretty evenly in your body. An example of a person that is tridoshic might mean that their body is Kapha. Hence they gain weight and are more sedentary. They may also emotionally eat.

Now, let’s also assume that their mind is Pitta because they occasionally have a hot temper and are very goal-oriented but sometimes have to back down as they can be workaholics. Let’s also say that this person has Vata in their lives, too. They may suffer from joint pain, have arthritis and dry skin as physical symptoms. They might also suffer from anxiety and find it difficult to stay focused if they are experiencing stress in their lives.

Hence, having all three doshas active can be quite a lot to juggle! But, having more than one dosha is not bad at all. Tridoshic people have equal balance with each dosha and they are usually in great health with consistent emotions. It also means that your doshas are contributing to your health.

Combined Dosha
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Combined Doshas

With Vata Pitta Kapha, maybe you are wondering what kinds of combinations doshas can have.Apart from the general dosha descriptions, there are also combined body types or double doshas. These can include Pitta-Vata, Vata-Pitta, Kapha-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha and so forth. When you see combination doshas, it’s a sign that two doshas are present but one dosha may be dominant and like bickering siblings, they don’t always get along. One trait or another type will present itself at a time.

Here are a few examples.

Combined Dosha
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Vata-Pitta

You might be thin but domineering, talkative and fun-loving. However, with Pitta present, you may be competitive or overly ambitious.

Because Pitta gives you stability, you may occasionally have a fiery flare-up with your temper but also have strong digestion which can, in turn, improve your circulation.

If Pitta were the dominant dosha, you would have more muscles but Vata would cause you to be more nervous and prone to stress. Learn how to keep your doshas in balance.

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Kapha-Vata

It’s not that often that you would see Vata and Kapha because they are such opposites. With a Vata dominance, the person will likely be of a smaller build but a Kapha dominance would make them bigger in stature. They might also have a laid back attitude and good disposition which is a Kapha characteristic. Vata dominance means the person needs to take caution with their diet to avoid digestive disruptions. Check out these combination dietary tips!

While the Kapha side might lead to procrastinating, the Vata side might kick in and help with completing projects in record time as Vatas are quite creative. Here are helpful Kapha Vata balancing tips. Both Vata and Kapha types don’t like cold weather so have the cozy blankets, warm sweaters and socks ready!

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Pitta-Kapha

Kaphas have a relaxed mindset and can sometimes be a little lazy. They need to stay motivated to avoid working slumps and falling into depression. Here’s how to manage these combination doshas.

Because they are more sedentary, Kaphas have bigger, heavier physiques and may be stronger. A Pitta influence would make them more muscular than heavy.

The Pitta dominance can also lead to a more ambitious side as Pitta is creative and loves spearheading projects. However, Pittas can be very critical and have quick tempers when angered, tired or hungry. Speaking of hunger, here are some helpful Pitta-Kapha tips.

As you can see and based on the examples, it’s fun to monitor Vata Pitta Kapha doshas! You can actually regulate and keep track of your moods. You can also learn from the doshas what to eat, how to keep an eye on and optimize your sleep patterns and how to care for your skin.

For example, you might say, “Wow, I lost my temper the other day” and realize that’s Pitta dominance. Or you might say, “Why was I so anxious and stress-eating last night?” That’s Kapha and Vata.

To best help you understand Vata Pitta Kapha dosha dominance, here are a few takeaways:

  • Look at the predominant trait or characteristic in your body and mind.
  • You might find one dosha present for your mind and one for your body.
  • Hence, you may need to balance the one dosha physically and then work to balance the other dosha mentally.

Studying the doshas can help you appreciate your particular makeup, help you stay healthy and keep all three areas balanced!

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Dealing with Tridoshic Imbalances

A concern some might have is how to deal with dosha imbalances if you find that all three doshas are not in balance. Hence, what if you have Vata Pitta Kapha all competing? Tridoshic imbalances require careful steps to rebalance them. Learning which to pacify first can be a little tough to juggle. Here’s an example.

Lisa, who is Pitta-Vata, is going into the fall season feeling constipated. While she knows Vata is increasing, she feels Pitta dually increasing because she’s more irritated and angry. With her colon blocked, her abdomen is distended and she’s uncomfortable. She wants to cool down Pitta by getting to bed early, performing more self-love, hot baths, etc. However, her concern is increasing Kapha which might make her digestion worse and slow her metabolism even more. She’s also concerned because she doesn’t want the additional water weight and the heaviness she feels makes her feel self-conscious. 

Here is a Vata Pitta Kapha plan of action…

Multiple imbalances can come from the different doshas provoking one another. It’s like taking prescription medications where one causes symptoms and you need another medicine to counter the effects of the others. Hence, Ayurveda offers holistic healing to help balance the doshas. Because they have different qualities, careful consideration should be given.

To start, break down each symptom. In this case, it’s Pitta with irritation, mood swings and anger. Then there’s Vata with constipation and dry colon. Kapha’s part is the weight gain and sluggish metabolism. Next, we’ll work on how to eliminate the confusion and break down caused by each dosha.  

1. Who started it?

Like fighting siblings, you need to isolate and separate Vata Pitta Kapha. Treat the primary dosha that’s causing the biggest disruptions. Addressing the main dosha may help the others to back down. Here, Vata is instigating with constipation and causing the others to increase/overflow. So, let’s calm and treat Vata, who is at fault for pushing against Pitta. 

2. What season is it?

Whether it’s single doshic imbalances, combined or tridoshic, factor in the weather with Vata Pitta Kapha. As an example, don’t give spicy foods to Kapha in the hot summer. Give Kapha cooling foods or you will inadvertently trigger Pitta. In this example, it’s autumn and time to reduce Vata.

3. Who comes first?

To help irritated Vata Pitta Kapha doshas, treat the main dosha first. With this example, you need to eat foods that will promote bowel movements but won’t heat Pitta or be too heavy for Kapha. Vatas need warm, oily and heavy foods but you don’t want to trigger Kapha which has oily and heavy characteristics.

Hence, because it’s fall weather and you want to reduce Vata:

  • Have broth-based soups like bone broth.
  • Opt for quinoa porridges, oats, wheat and white rice to aid in digestion.
  • Include spices like cumin, cardamom, ginger, fennel and turmeric as these don’t have a lot of heat.
  • Oil the foods with sesame or sunflower oil or use ghee.
  • Eat steamed vegetables, skip the dairy and use almond milk.
  • Add balancing dishes like tridoshic mung dal or red lentil dal.
  • Try a cleansing kitchari or quinoa kitchari but avoid cold, rough and raw foods.
  • Ensure your food is homemade, not processed and make small quantities to avoid leftovers. Hence, these Vata-reducing foods won’t trigger Kapha and Pitta.

4. Who’s nearest/highest?

Treating Vata Pitta Kapha imbalances locally is also essential. Let’s say you are treating constipation (Vata) but feeling irritated (Pitta) and heavy (Kapha). In this case, Pitta is demanding because the anger, mood swing and irritation are increasing Pitta.

Look for soothing activities like meditation that can correct emotional imbalances. Another helpful remedy is to use massage oil and apply it to your forehead, neck and scalp at bedtime. This can calm your emotions, stop anger and heal your mind. Look for tridoshic oil which includes natural herbs like Vetiver, specific to alleviating Pitta minds.

Separately, you might also want to add gentle yoga and include breathing exercises. Try Prana Nasya to reduce the irritation and anger. It can also target any emotional imbalances. Now, for Kapha. If this is high instead of Pitta, you may see weight gain and slow digestion. To do this, a few options include a CCF tea between your meals. Have a honey, lime and ginger appetizer before you eat and go take a walk.

A 15-30 minute walk daily can help. Because you want to lighten Kapha (and avoid packing on extra weight), avoid taking a nap during the day and don’t eat dinner past 6:00 pm each night. 

5. Which herbs, diet and lifestyle changes can you add?

Do you need a special Kapha Dosha diet or Pitta Kapha diet? If you’re unsure which Vata Pitta Kapha dosha is highest or at fault, use treatments that help to rebalance each of them. Exercise, herbs and dietary changes can calm the colon in the example above which will inturn calm Pitta and improve digestion for Kapha.

Here are ideas to help balance Vata Pitta Kapha:

Herbal teas and drinks for Vata Pitta Kapha

  • Agni Churna: This spicy mixture can be applied to meals as it helps with digestion.
  • Detox Tea: It boosts Agni, your digestive fire and is gentle enough to use daily.
  • Om Shanti Tea: This cooling tea targets Pitta and reduces irritation, anger and emotional imbalances.
  • Prana Nasya: This is a tridoshic oil for the nose to relax the emotions.
  • Triphala Churna: This tridoshic powder treats constipation.
  • Triphala Ghrita: This tridoshic ghee improves digestion/elimination and it rejuvenates and cleanses.

Lifestyle changes to balance Vata Pitta Kapha

  • Walk 15-30 minutes daily and do gentle cardiovascular exercise up to 3 times a week.
  • Meditate, do gentle yoga and deep breathing exercises or Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath).
  • Use tridoshic massage oil before bed and sleep no later than 10:00 pm. Avoid eating after 6:00 pm and get up before sunrise.

FAQ

Can you be a combination of doshas?

Yes, at times everyone may have a Vata Pitta Kapha dosha that’s dominant or competing. Ideally, you want your doshas equally balanced. Hence, a balanced diet, exercise, yoga, meditation and dietary changes can help. Study your makeup to see which doshas may be dominant and which symptoms stand out to identify your primary dosha.

How many Dosha combinations are there?

Do you think you have a Vata Pitta dosha combo? There are 3 doshas but several combinations. Common combination doshas include Vata Pitta, Pitta Kapha and Vata Kapha.

Can you be all three doshas?

Yes! It’s normal to have all three as there should be a healthy balance of the doshas. Vata Pitta Kapha doshas each present themselves at different times of the day and in different seasons one may be more dominant than the others.

How do I know my Dosha type?

Study your makeup or body type and your dominant personality traits. For example, Pitta is very fiery and has a temper, while Kaphas are very supportive and loving. Then explore your digestion and any dietary imbalances. For example, Kaphas have a slow metabolism and shouldn’t take naps during the day.

What are the types of Dosha?

Dosha types include Vata Pitta and Kapha.

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