Understand Your Constitution
Each person is born with a unique identity with a combination of certain doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha that are prominent in their makeup and remain constant over the course of their lifetime. It represents one’s natural state of equilibrium. It influences your physiology, your tendencies and habits, and your mental character and vulnerabilities.
The current state of balance changes over time as we move through different climates, seasons, relationships, stress levels, stages of life, etc. Your vikriti is the present state of Doshas in your system. Thus, the level of doshas can change in your system creating imbalance.
The Five Elements
Ayurveda recognizes five elements as the fundamental building blocks of nature—earth, water, fire, air, and ether (space). Every substance, every cell, contains all five of these elements. That said, in a given substance, one or two elements are typically predominant over the others.
The Three Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Then there are the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of them embodies a particular combination of elements and qualities to create a functional entity—an energetic force of nature. The doshas can be identified in various seasons, climates, landscapes, activities, plants, and animals. In our bodies, all three doshas are necessary to facilitate important physiological functions. But if they accumulate beyond healthy limits (those determined by one’s constitution), the doshas can also wreak havoc on our health.
The gunas are essential to understanding the Ayurvedic principle that like increases like and that opposites balance. There are 20 gunas in Ayurveda. At the heart of the Ayurveda, we can apply the energy of opposites in order to steer our bodies in the right direction. The 20 qualities, and their grouping into ten pairs of opposites makes for a fairly intuitive grasp of how this wisdom can be applied in practical terms.