“Imitation is the surest form of flattery and failure. I am not interested with your talk about my ideas. I am more interested in your applying them to your life. If you do not, then you are essentially not in accord with your own mind.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings

Doshas – Constitution

n

Constitution

We are born with a certain kind of engine which has a given quality. Some people are born with a small engine (great for driving around in the city, not really suited for long journeys), others are born with race-car engines (great for getting around fast) and others are born with big-truck engines (great for going long distances with heavy loads). We cannot change the nature of our engine. We need to recognize and embrace our individual capacity, learn to live within it and to keep it running in good condition.

An engine’s capacity is described as a constitution – a combination of the three Doshas (vata, pitta & kapha). A constitution is usually described as having one primary & dominant quality. For example:

  • An engine that is Pita (fire) dominant – has a big fire (which usually needs a a lot of fuel, which means either a big gas tank or frequent refueling).
  • An engine that is Vata (air) dominant – has plenty of air flow (which usually needs regulation).
  • An engine that is Kapaha (water) dominant – has plenty of fuel available to it (and needs to be used. otherwise it gets heavy and cumbersome).

Fulfilling Potential

An engine has a natural given potential – this is called Prakriti. Prakriti is determined by the constitution of parents at the time of inception. It is an individual balance, unique to that engine – it is the optimal configuration for that engine. Engines that are constantly used usually shift away from their optimal balance.

An engine’s current mode of operation is called Vikriti. Vikriti is determined by the circumstances in which the engine is currently running. If the engine is well maintained then it ma be running close to it’s full potential – its Vikriti will be similar to its Prakriti.

If an engine is worn down and out of tune, it is as if it is another engine altogether – an engine that is not aligned with it’s natural tendencies (taking a family sedan to the race track). An engine that is not in tune is said to have a defect.

Defects

A core idea of Doshas is that when an engine is out of tune, it’s defects will manifest as an excess in it’s dominant quality – “too much of a good thing”:

  • When a Pitta (fire) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely to burn too strong (overheat).
  • When a Vata (air) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely become irregular (erratic flow).
  • When a Kapha (water) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely to flood (overflow with fuel).

The literal translation of Dosha is “defect”. When we are ill, the illness will most likely manifest as an excess of our dominant quality – our dominant Dosha.

In Body

Each of the three doshas are associated with an area in the body – this is said to be the “seat” of the dosha:

  • Vata (air) is associated with the lower abdomen. It’s manifestation can be gas (flatulence) – an excess of air in the abdominal area. Vata is associated with catabolic processes which lead to of dispersal of energy and elimination
  • Pitta (fire) is associated with the mid-torso area. It’s manifestation can be heartburn – a burning excess of heat. Pitta is associated with metabolic processes which lead to conversion of fuel into energy.
  • Kapha (water) is associated with the chest area. It’s manifestation can be phlegm which may inhibit flow of breath. Kapha is associated with anabolic processes which lead to growth and building.
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