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VPK Body Types

According to Ayurveda, the five elements (fire, earth, water, air & space) in their biological form combine to form three basic energies in the body. These three basic energies are the primary life forces or biological humors, called doshas in Ayurveda. These three primary doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. They help regulate physical functions within our body, besides providing us with our individual physical characteristics.

The constitution of a person is primarily determined by the dominant Dosha. Your predominant Dosha could be any one of the three, a combination of any two or all the three in a balanced form:

  • Vata  
  • Pitta
  • Kapha
  • Vata- Pitta
  • Vata-Kapha
  • Pitta-Kapha

There are three types of doshas in the body – Vata, Pitta and kapha. Vata controls movements of the body, breathing, sensations nerve impulses, secretion, excretion etc. Vata also influences thoughts, anxiety on psychic levels. Pitta maintains digestion, metabolism, body temperature, visions, appetite, memory, intelligence, courage etc. Kapha binds the body, provides material for physical structure, lubricates the joints, provides firmness to limbs etc. Ayurveda believes that good health results when these three remain in equilibrium and ill health results when this equilibrium is upset. At the same time, Ayurveda asserts that each individual has his own uniqueness. In Ayurveda, the diagnosis methods are well detailed, indicating various techniques for properly diagnosing the various diseases.


  • Vata is the driving force which creates movements of all kinds in Nature.
  • Its main qualities are movement, quickness, lightness, dryness, and roughness.
  • Vata manifests in the nerves and muscles and rapidly travels throughout the body.
  • Its main home is the colon. When excessive its toxic forms are intestinal gas, constipation, anxiety, fear, fatigue, and pain.

Vata individuals usually have a relatively low body weight and percentage of body fat. They commonly have elongated and thin bones and loosely knit joints. This allows for easy stretching and bending of the limbs. In addition, Vata types have rather under-developed musculature and very responsive nervous systems. This feature makes them emotionally impulsive and lacking in physical stamina but also endows them with great speed and flexibility. Even at younger ages, Vata people tend to be slightly dry which causes them to fatigue easily and promotes stiffness.

The evolution of a Vata excess is that is normally first accumulates in the locus of Apana Vata which is in the colon. From there it spreads through the srotas (channels) to the muscle of the back, the bones of the spine, the heart, and the nervous system including the brain.


  • Pitta is the energy of digestion, transformation, and perception.
  • Its main qualities are heat, slightly oily, acidic, sharp, and penetrating.
  • Pitta manifests in the digestive juices, enzymes, hormones, skin, eyes, and blood.
  • Its main home is the small intestine. When excessive its toxic forms are gastric acid, diarrhea, inflammation, anger, and irritation.

Pitta individuals have an abundance of energy and moderately developed muscles. Their bones and frames are of average dimensions and they possess a good degree of flexibility and strength.

They have luminous complexions, warm extremities, and slightly oily skin. Generally, they are willing to attempt and persist at any asana and will be successful in all but the most 'pretzel-like' because of their limited suppleness (compared with Vata types).


  • Kapha is the cohesive and binding force which creates strength, structure, and tissue mass.
  • Its main qualities are heavy, sticky, oily, slow, cold, stable, and cloudy.
  • Kapha manifests in the intra- and extracellular fluids, blood plasma, lymph, and fluids which support and nourish the tissues.
  • Its main home is the stomach. When excessive it creates mucous and stickiness which circulates through the lymph and plasma throughout the body. It creates resistance to movement, solidity, attachment, congestion, and weight.

Blessed with shorter and thicker bones, Kapha individuals are generally stocky and lack the suppleness that is required for certain asanas. They have poor circulation and suffer in damp and cold conditions. On the other hand they have a tremendous amount of strength and the most stamina of all the constitutional types. Left alone, they may lack precision in their practice and can lose their motivation in the middle of a class. Also, Kapha types may experience difficulty in coordinating the breath with the asanas unless given clear and firm instructions. They may not learn new movements very quickly, but once established will persist with their practice for very long periods of time.

Ayurveda believes that physical or mental disturbances show them selves in the body or mind, through vitiation of Tri – doshas. Vata disturbances destroy mind – power and give rise to anxiety, fear and grief. In pitta vitiation, lust, grief & fear increase bile content. The vitiation of kapha induces lethargy and greed. The diseases like epilepsy, hysteria, diarrhea insomnia, delusion, insanity, fever etc. are considered as mental disorders.

Charaka’s dictum “Purify, Pacify and remove the cause” is the hallmark of Ayurvedic treatment. Ayurvedic practitioners also take into account the basic nature of individual. Ayurvedic term “Prakriti” means the basic nature of the individual patient, the perfectly balanced body. The affected state of the person is called as “Vikruti”

The process of Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Diagnosis) involves placing the index, middle and ring fingers on the patient’s forearm, a little below the wrist, on the radial artery. There are various levels of pressure that have to be applied to read the pulse of the various aspects of the being. The organs, the tridoshas (basic principals which govern the body) and their manifestations, health of tissues, mind, beliefs and patterns stored in the sub-conscious, temperament, sleep pattern, dreams and the energy in the energy centres can all be measured by meditating on the pulse. As the pulse beats, the practitioner reads the different kinds of pulses and comes to a conclusion as to why the patient is experiencing the current state.

Thus one can easily find out the type of body by using the above mentioned Nadi Pariksha or Pulse Diagnosis method.


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