Ayurveda believes that every human being is unique and has a specific personality type defined at the time of conception. This personality which is unique to each individual, is called Prakriti or your Ayurvedic Constitution.
It is simply how the forces of nature express themselves in you when you first enter this world. Your Ayurvedic Prakriti lays the foundation or blueprint for how you will inherently and intuitively approach life. It determines how you will respond to the worldly environment physically and mentally.
Our Prakriti influences our natural likes and dislikes, physical characteristics, and disease tendencies. It also affects what truly inspires us or keeps us motivated. If we live in harmony with our inherent nature, we will have greater health and happiness. But if we start deviating from this nature, we lose connection with our true selves and become disconnected from our inner wisdom, creating a state of imbalance where disease and ill health can start taking over.
Prakriti is measured as a mix of three forces of nature called Doshas.
What are the Doshas
Doshas are a combination of the five elements of nature: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. The elements combine to form the Doshas that govern our bodily functions, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is air and space, Pitta is fire contained in water, and Kapha is earth and water. The doshas exhibit the qualities of their elements – for instance, Vata is light and mobile like air, Pitta is intense and sharp like fire, and Kapha is cool and stable like earth. You can read more about Doshas here.
These doshas combine in varying proportions and manifest their qualities in us. For instance, Vata brings creativity, Pitta brings intelligence, and Kapha brings calm and stability.
It is how the Doshas give us our traits, character strengths, skills and propensities, which becomes your Prakriti. Since this unique proportion of doshas manifests at the time of conception, it cannot be changed and remains fixed for the rest of our lives. It is simply who you are, your true nature, your inherent potential, how you can contribute to this world and an insight into how you can live your best life.
To be very specific, the tridosha governs your anatomical, physical and, to a certain extent, psychological characteristics.
Optional reading: Ayurveda has another term for your spiritual and psychological constitution: Manas Prakriti. This mental constitution or manas Prakriti connects to the ego (Ahamkara), and its measure are the three Gunas called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. These Gunas combine to form the five elements, which then combine to form the three Doshas. Thus the Doshas are a gross or more processed form of the subtle energies called Gunas. And since the body and mind are interrelated, the physical and psychological attributes are also interdependent. Thus there will always be a strong connection and influence between the Deha and Manas Prakriti. In this article, I am focussing on Deha or Dosha Prakriti, and I will cover the Triguna in future.
If our lifestyle, habits, and circumstances are not in alignment with our personality, then the doshas can get imbalanced. This state of imbalance is called Vikriti. And this is when the mix of Doshas within you differs from what you were born with. The more the gap between who you are meant to be and what you are today, the greater the imbalance.
And this is a beautiful concept because Ayurveda is trying to tell you that you have a unique purpose in this world. There’s an inherent potential you are born with. You’re particularly good at something specific that you’re meant for, and that’s also what you intuitively enjoy. So by aligning your energies towards that potential, towards your true north, you can live a more fulfilling life. But if you deviate from that, there’ll be imbalances which you will have to manage, or they will create disease and ill health.
That is why Ayurveda recommends a different diet, lifestyle, and seasonal regimens for everyone. It is to help you maintain your state of balance with the ever-changing external environment. It tells you how to play up to your strengths. Also, how to mitigate the impact of circumstances out of your control.
- Prakriti is your birth constitution, and you cannot change it.
- Vikriti is your present constitution, and it keeps changing
- State of health is when your Prakriti is the same as Vikriti. If Vikriti is different, there’s an imbalance.
- You can think of Prakriti as your Genetics and Vikriti as the impact of Epigenetics (lifstyle, diet, stress, environmental factors).
For more, you can watch my YouTube video, where I explain the concept of Prakriti and Vikriti by using some personal examples and stories.
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