Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. Although suppressed during years of foreign occupation, Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years.

More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life,Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body.

The Fundamental Energies

Dosha: Kapha
Water and Earth

Kapha Dosha is the principle of stability and maintenance in any living organism and is a combination of the elements water and earth. Kapha Dosha is closely related to the lymphatic and immune system in the body and is responsible for the growth of the individual. The main characteristics of Kapha Dosha in any person are:

Heaviness: Deep voice, tendency towards obesity, large and heavy body, bones and muscles.
Coolness: Cold skin, tendency towards attacks of cold, slow metabolism leading to reduced appetite and thirst.
Softness: Soft skin and hair and tendency toward soft tender nails. Loving, caring and kind attitude.
Oiliness: Oily body including skin, hair, nails, stools. Flexible and mobile joints.
Sweetness: Tendency towards excess intake of sweet foods and drinks. Good anabolic state of the body.
Stability: Patient and relaxed attitude. Firm decisions. Likes sedentary activities like reading, watching television etc.
Sliminess: Excess salivation, thick slimy secretion when suffering from a cold. Thick joints with good mobility.

Dosha: Vata
Air and Space

Vata Dosha is the principle of movement in all living organisms and is a combination of the elements: air and space. Vata Dosha is closely related to the nervous system. According to Ayurveda, the main characteristics of Vata Dosha in any person are:

Mobility: Generally quick actions, fast walking and speech, restless eyes, likes travelling and often has mood swings.
Dryness: Dry body (including skin, hair and lips), an inclination towards constipation as a result of dryness.
Coldness: Dislike towards cold weather, generally cold feet and hands, an inclination towards poor blood circulation.
Lightness: Generally underweight, thin physique (bones and muscles), light sleeper.
Roughness: Rough and cracked skin, nails, hair feet and hand. Crackling joints.

Dosha: Pitta
Fire and Water

Pitta Dosha is the principle of transformation in all living organisms and is a combination of the elements fire and water. Pitta Dosha is closely related to the digestive system, metabolism, enzymes and glands in the body. The main characteristics of Pitta Dosha in any person are:

Heat: Good appetite, strong digestive fire, body temperature is higher than normal, early greying of hair.
Oiliness: Oily skin which is soft. Dislike of oily food.
Fluidity: Excess sweating, passing of excess urine, loose stools tendency towards diarrhoea, excess thirst.
Sour: Acidity, teeth sensitive towards sour fruits, excess salivation. Sour eructation.
Sharpness: Accurate memory, sharp teeth and sharp facial features with a pointed nose and penetrating eyes.
Pungent: Burning sensation on skin, including eyes, throat and stomach. Feelings of anger and hatred.
Spreading: Spread of any infection of the body e.g. a rash, acne etc. Tendency towards desiring fame.