3.2 The Three
Humors: Vata, Pita and Kapha
3.2.1 Vata, Pita and
Kapha (humors): introduction
In Ayurveda three basic constitutional types (or humors) are recognized. These basic types combine to make seven possibilities. These seven possibilities vary according to the degree that they function in an individual.
It is said that our constitution is fixed at the moment of conception. Both the cosmic humor of the moment (i.e. Time of day and season) and the dominant humor in each parent determine the childs constitution. The physical constitution remains fixed for life, but it is possible to change the quality of your mental constitution through spiritual practice. These practices work on the three qualities, or gunas, that pervade the manifestation. Ayurvedic psychology work to balance these three qualities (see chapter
The best way to view the different humors is by seeing each of them as a principle, force, or milieu that helps create an internal environment, and thus a biological being. These three basic principles of prana - the humors - are in constant play with each other. The balance in that interaction determines your level of health. Your ability to maintain that balance determines the length of your life. In Sanskrit these forces are named the imply a multitude of meanings. I have heard it said that every word in Sanskrit has at least four meanings. Thus it is important to recognize that these terms indicate a principle of the life-force. They are not literal translations of the word air, fire, and water. I will use the traditional Indian names: vata, pitta, and kapha.