Prakriti in Ayurveda means the nature, character and constitution of an individual. Every person is born with various proportions of one of the three doshas as per Ayurveda, and his/her body constitution needs to be understood accordingly. It is important to note that Prakiriti of a person is decided at the time of development of the fetus in the mother's womb, and it remains constant throughout one's life.
Prakriti is primarily divided into two parts: Doshaja Prakriti (humoral constitution) and Gunaja Prakriti, the person's psychological constitution. Knowing one's innate body condition helps to steer a healthy, regulated lifestyle Know Your Body Type 47 BODY Dosha Prakriti is of seven types: Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Vata Pittaja, Vata Kaphaja, Kapha Pittaja and Vata Pitta Kaphaja.
The first three constitute a single dosha constitution, while the next three constitute a dual humoral constitution. People with single dosha, i.e. purely Vata, Pitta or Kapha types of body constitutions, are extremely rare. Persons with such body constitutions are known to suffer from ill-health.
Most of us possess a dual or mixed type of constitution, which means a combination of two doshas, with only just a few symptoms of the third dosha. The seventh type of prakriti viz. Vata Pitta Kaphaja is known as a balanced constitution (sama dosha prakriti), which is rare. A balance between all the three doshas is very hard to achieve, though such a type of constitution is considered superior (sreshta).
The Gunaja Prakriti which represents the mental faculty of the person is of three types, namely, sattva, rajas, and tamas. The sattvic one is free from defects and it is considered as endowed with auspicious qualities. The rajasic type is defective because it promotes wrathful disposition, while the tamasic one is equally defective because the person suffers from ignorance.
Knowing the three Ayurveda body types (doshas) can help a person understand his or her personality. Each person contains a unique combination of the three doshas that define his temperament and characteristics. Ayurveda seeks to regulate both physical and psychological factors in Prakriti. For example, the body may be vata-kapha and the mind is tamas and rajas.
Prakriti analysis also considers the mental factors under the realm of tridosha. For example, excessive talkative nature, tendency to roam with or without purpose, mental approach of not sticking to a decision taken but changing it repeatedly, are features of the vata type. Short temper, sensitive to others' views, dominant or argumentative nature are features of pitta type, while calm, composed, calculative mind, and a sense of personal organisation are features of kapha type.
Importance of Prakriti
There are clear benefits of knowing the Ayurveda body type. First, it helps the Ayurvedic doctor to know the diseases that a person is prone to get. Second, it helps to choose the right type of diet and other habits. Thirdly, it helps the physician to judge the severity of the disease suffered by the person and forecast the effectiveness of treatment.
There are physical activities for a healthy daily routine prescribed by Ayurvedic physicians according to the prakriti nature of the person. Vata body types are usually hyperactive. Hence, they need to lower their body and mental activity levels. It is best to restrict their physical activity for just 10-20 minutes daily, and it is best for them to take up activities such as walking, yoga, simple aerobic exercises, and such activities which require systematic and rhythmic movement of body parts.
Vata people are generally known to love music. It may be good for such people to take up classical dance forms which require systemic movement of the body. If such people cultivate a habit of consuming sesame oil and ghee regularly, the range of their physical activities and the duration can be increased.
Pitta Body Types
People with pitta disposition have excessive body heat and they sweat a lot. Hence, for them, indoor activities are more suited than outdoor games, with light to moderate intensity aerobic exercises for a duration of about 30 minutes. Water games and swimming which cool down the body could be good for them.
They should take up yoga postures which do not cause excessive sweating. Like vata types, if the pitta type people cultivate the habit of taking ghee regularly, the range of physical activities and duration can be raised.
Those kapha body types are in a way fortunate, as their bodies can tolerate a good amount of exercise. They can exercise for up to an hour daily, or even more, depending on their strength and capacity. For such people, fast movement activities such as outdoor games, and vigorous gym exercises are useful. Kapha people, however, need to be cautious about indulging in water sports including swimming, as coolant activities could worsen the kapha condition especially during winter and spring.
Dr JV Hebbar