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What Is Health? – Part 2

In our previous article we discussed how health means balance, and this balance is determined by the way in which the tridoshavata, pitta and kapha – are combined in each individual.  We also discovered that one of the causes of diseases is ama – accumulated toxicity in the body when it is unable to properly digest food – which is caused by an imbalance of the doshas.

In this article we will show how your inherent nature – your prakriti, or your particular combination of the doshas, determines how the body metabolises food.

Prakriti – your inherent nature

You are unique

The tridosha make up one’s constitution, or prakriti (inherent nature), which determines how to accept, process and absorb the food we eat as well as how to respond to the environment around us.  Each individual’s physical and mental body is determined by the relative proportions of the three doshas at the time of fertilization.  When the embryo is formed, the constitution is determined.

Unique constitutions mean that each person is different in their own way.  This is why a diet programme can work well for some and not at all for others; why some people get ill during certain seasons while others don’t; why some eat a little and gain weight, while others eat a lot and not gain any; why some get tired after little physical work, whereas others seem to be endowed with an inexhaustible store of energy; and so on.

According to Ayurveda there are seven main constitutions with one or more predominant doshasvata, pitta or kapha predominant, vata-pitta, pitta-kapha or kapha-vata predominant, and vata-pitta-kapha in equal balance (a rare occurrence).

Understanding your Prakriti

Below is a list of the physical and mental traits of each dosha.  From these, you can determine which dosha is most prominent in your nature.

Body frame/type
Thin, lean
Medium, athletic
Large, stocky
Curly, dry, thick
Straight, grey, bald
Silky, thick, oily
Small, unsteady
Sharp, reddish
Large, oval, clear
Thin, dry, cracked
Pink, medium, soft
Full, smooth
Thin, dry, rough, cold
Smooth and warm
Normal, cool
Body Temperature
Cold when touched
Hot when touched
Norma, cool
Lose easy, gain hard
Steady, slow change
Gain easy, lose hard
Strong every 4 hours
Caffeine, sugar
Spicy, intense foods
Ice cream, cheese
Regular constipation
Rare constipation
Slow, steady, regular
Light, restless
Sleep well 7-8 hours
Deep, hard to wake
Run, dance, move
Competitive sports
Mild, gentle
Hard to sweat
Sweat easily
Quick, light step
Average, strong step
Slow, steady steps


Lively, enthusiastic
Motivated, intense
Relaxed, accepting
Breadth over depth
Analytical, in-depth
Common topics
Quick grasp and loss
Sharp, clear
Slow grasp, not lost
Leads, likes to be boss
Employee, guided
Rarely completed
Sets goals, executes
Take time, completed
Emotion under stress
Anxiety, fear, worry
Angry, irritable, jealous
Laziness, withdrawal
Difficult, overthinking
Quick, confident
After contemplation
Fast talker
Direct, persuasive
Calm, deep voice
Unattached, mobile
Busy, well-structured
Routine, constant
Dislikes cold, winter
Dislike heat, humidity
Dislikes cool, rain
Faith and beliefs
Ever changeable
Strong, extremist
Stable/set in stone
Art, travel, experience
Sport, business, politics
Comfort, family, food

Ayurveda is a holistic medicine that treats your body as a whole rather than focusing on its different parts.  Ayurvedic literature suggests that when one part of the body ails or fails, it is usually a symptom of a larger problem manifested throughout different parts of the body.  Hence Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatments cover the body in its entirety, rather than addressing one or more of its parts.


In general, common Western medicines follow a reactive, symptomatic, curative approach, where the pharmacist or doctor prescribes the required medicines to cure a certain ailment or region in the body, based on the symptoms displayed by the patient.  In general, one doesn’t approach the doctor unless there are certain physical or mental symptoms that appear.

In contrast, Ayurveda follows a proactive, preventative approach emphasising healing, rejuvenation, and purification therapies.  The goal is to maintain the body in its natural, clean state that allows it to self-heal – a miraculous property of a well-kept body.  Thus, this approach cures the long-term root cause of disease and prevents it from gaining a foothold in the system before it arises.

LongevityAyurveda’s methods of healing are 100% natural and supplement one’s lifestyle with therapies, foods, medical herbs and activities that stimulate physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  This helps to improve immunity in the body, and promotes a better state of well-being on a day to day basis, which improves life in the long-term


Some other systems of medicine provide temporary health improvements by masking an ailment with chemical medications or sedatives.  This short-term fix suppresses immunity instead of promoting it, thus leading to weaker and weaker immunity over time, making one prone to more diseases in addition to faster ageing and degeneration of body cells.

The system of Ayurveda cures the imbalances from the roots, whereas other medical systems simply suppress the symptoms.  All systems of medication, including Ayurveda, have their own place and importance, so it is not a question of one method being superior to the other.  We have to acknowledge the importance of all different approaches for finding our health and healing.  So, we should not be dogmatic about it, but try to integrate them according to their place and the state of one’s health.  Ayurveda should be considered as the first line of healing in order to prevent the disease because it uses natural remedies.  However, there is certainly a place for allopathic and other methods when diseases have become advanced.  In all cases, however, prevention is better than cure, so adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle will minimise the risk of advanced disease.

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