In Ayurveda, your mental and physiological type is called Prakruti, the Sanskrit name for “Nature”. It's commonly known as "Constitution". Here you'll find information about what it means, why it is important and how to determine it.
How is our Prakruti determined? At the time of conception, each person’s combination and proportion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha (Doshas) is determined according to the genetics, diet, lifestyle and current emotions of the parents. These Doshas predominant in the parents combine to form the constitution of the new life they are creating. These psychobiological traits don’t change during your lifetime.
How many body types are there? There are seven:
Mono types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Dual types: Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, Kapha-Vata
Triple type: Vata-Pitta-Kapha It’s important to note that all three Doshas are present in each one of us at all times, but their proportion varies from person to person. Most people will have one Dosha predominant, a few will have two Doshas approximately equal and even fewer will have all three Doshas in equal proportion.
Why is it important to know our constitution? Because keeping healthy means to maintain your Prakruti in balance. When the balance is upset, disease may result. Ayurveda also talks about other causes of disease but I’ll write about this in another post.
How can the Doshas become unbalanced? As conditions change –due to the weather, dietary choices, age, fatigue, stress, season, emotional state, too much exercise or lack of it- the balance of the Doshas in our mind-body system also changes. This altered state which is the current state of our health, is called Vrikruti (Imbalance). If your health is excellent, it means that the state of your Doshas is the same as your Prakruti. But more likely there will be a discrepancy between your Prakruti and Vrikruti. THIS DIFFERENCE should serve you as a guide to make decisions regarding your diet and lifestyle.
Ayurveda uses this knowledge among others to base their line of treatment and restore balance.
How to determine your constitutional type? Initially by means of a questionnaire (please see attachment). But please take in consideration the following when answering:
- Base your choices on what is most consistently true about your life as a whole, over many years. This indicates your Prakruti.
- You can fill out the form for a second time considering how you have been feeling in the last month or two. This is your Vikruti or present condition.
- It’s helpful to verify your answers with someone who knows you pretty well and can be more objective.
- After filling out the chart, add up the number of marks under Vata, Pitta and Kapha to discover your constitution.
Important: Please remember that this can provide only a rough guideline. The subtleties of each person’s mental, emotional and physical makeup are many and can be accurately assessed thoroughly following a specific Ayurvedic diagnostic technique.
How to use this information? To help you grow in the self-understanding and as a guide to plan your diet, exercise, regime, and other aspects of your lifestyle for maximum health.
If you'd like to discuss your results and go deeply into what it means and how to practically incorporate food and habits convenient for you, I can help. I've gone through this process myself and have assisted my clients with different needs to feel their best. Please click here to find more about the different services I offer.
Dash, R.K Sharma & Bhagwan. Caraka Samhita, Vol 1. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Studies, 1972.
Lad, V. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Piaktus: London, 2006.