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Principles of Ayurveda

Dosha, Dhatu, Mala and Agni?

Dosha Ayurveda  believes five basic elements Panca mahabhutas (space,air,fire,water and earth) manifest in the human body as three basic humours known as tridosas(Vata, Pitta and Kapha). These three govern creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissues as well as the assimilation and elimination. These doshas control how your body works –

  1. Vatadosha (Space and Air) – Movement
  2. Pitta dosha (Fire and Water)- Transformation and action
  3. Kapha dosha (Water and Earth)- Stability and Cohesion

Ayurveda emphasis a lot on how to remain within our threshold and understanding the three dosha. According to Ayurveda, doshas are the energy patterns that flow around our body, governing our thinking and behavior. There are three primary doshas and we are all born with all three of them, but one is usually stronger than the others and each one control a different body function. It’s the dominance of one or two of these doshas that defines who we are. To enjoy a balanced mind, body and spirit, our unique dosha constitution needs to be in a state of equilibrium. When it isn’t, we fall ill.

Vata DoshaVata dosha is the combination of Air and Ether elements and it contributes to the manifestation of shape, cell division, signalling and movement, excretion of wastes, cognition and regulates the activities of  Kapha and  Pitta. Those who practice Ayurveda believe this is the most powerful of all three doshas.

It controls mind, breathing, blood flow,  heart function and ability to get rid of waste through  intestines. Things that can disrupt it include eating too soon after a meal, fear,  grief and staying up too late. If Vatta dosha is main life force, there will be more chances to develop conditions like  stress and anxiety,  heart diseases ,  skin problems, bloating, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis etc.

Pitta DoshaIt is the synergy of Fire and Water elements therefore it has the qualities of both but mainly of fire, hotness, penetrating nature and sharpness; it is in the form of liquid due to quality of water. This energy controls digestion, metabolism (how well the food break down), temperature regulation and certain hormones that are linked to appetite. Things that can disrupt Pitta dosha are eating excesses sour or spicy foods and spending too much time in the sun. If it’s in main life force, there will be more chances to develop conditions like Crohn’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, infections etc.

Kapha DoshaKapha  is the synergy of Earth and Water elements therefore, it is cool, moist, heavy and stable. It controls the water content of the body and fills the cavities and space in the body. This life force controls muscle growth, body strength and stability, weight and immune system. It can disrupt by sleeping during the day, eating too much sweet food and intake of things that contain too much salt or water. If it is main life energy, there will be more chances to develop conditions like asthma and other breathing disorders, cancer, diabetes, nausea and  obesity.

Dhatu(tissue system) can be defined as one, which supports the body. Ayurveda identifies seven vital tissues that provide nourishment, growth and structure to the entire body.  There are seven Dhatus (tissue system) in the body.

Dhatu  Relation/Represent

Rasa Dhatu  –   Body fluids

Rakta Dhatu  –  Blood

Mamsa Dhatu – Muscular tissue

Meda Dhatu    – Adipose tissue

Asthi Dhatu     – Bony tissue

Majja Dhatu    – Bone marrow and nervous tissue

Shukra Dhatu – Generative tissue including semen and ovum constituents  

Mala means waste products. It is third in the trinity of the body i.e. doshas and dhatu. There are three main types of malas, e.g. stool, urine and sweat. Malas are mainly the waste products of the body so their proper excretion from the body is essential to maintain the proper health of the individual.

AgniAll kinds of metabolic and digestive activity of the body takes place with the help of the biological fire of the body called Agni. Agni is a concept associated with the power of digestion related to the digestion of food and its metabolic transformation to all tissues. The digestive system is the leading part of the body associated with the intake of foods and their preparation for degradation and subsequent absorption of substances that give the body energy to exist. Often the cause of the health disorder lies precisely in the disturbed function of Agni. According to Ayurveda, health is a harmonious integration by maintaining a delicate balance between body, mind and spirit. Our physiological imbalance will affect our digestive system(agni) so body cannot digest food and results in accumulation of undigested waste (Ama- toxins) in our body and further infiltrates into the tissues causing pathological changes.There are several types of agni related to the influence of the three energies:

Sama agni Balanced and strong digestion that breaks down all food perfectly well. This is the best state of functioning of the digestive system. When certain amounts of energy accumulate in the functions of agni, certain disturbances occur that lead to the formation of toxins (ama).

Vishama agni This is a metabolic state associated with accumulation of the Vata energy. The digestive process requires a certain amount of heat and since Vata is characterized with dryness, lightness, coolness and dynamism it can either increase or decrease this heat. This creates a feeling of inconsistency as digestion is sometimes enhanced while weakened at other times.

Tikshna agniAffecting digestion through an aggravated Pitta energy. The heat, lightness and sharpness associated with Pitta enhance the agni, while at the same time leading to speeding up the metabolic processes. As a result, digestion is fast and there is a strong and well-pronounced feeling of hunger. Food passes through the digestive tract faster, accompanied with intense heartburn.

Manda agni When excess Kapha energy is accumulated in the process of digestion a delay in metabolic processes occurs. There is a clash between the heaviness, oiliness, coldness and softness of Kapha, and the heat of the digestive process. As a result, digestion becomes a general reluctance for food is observe slow and cumbersome. The sensation of hunger suddenly diminishes.

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