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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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Pitta

This means, 'that which digest things'. It is the principle of fire, the energy of metabolism. It is responsible for all chemical and metabolic transformations in the body. It regulates digestion, absorption, assimilation and body temperature. It also governs our mental digestion, our capacity to perceive reality and understand things as they are.

Kapha
This means, 'that which holds things together'. It provides substance and gives support and provides the structural principle of our bodily tissues. It promotes anabolism, the creation and growth of new cells and also cell repair. It lubricates our joints, moisturizes the skin, helps to heal wounds and maintains immunity. Kapha provides strength, vigor and stability. It also provides our emotional support in life and governs such traits as love, compassion, patience and forgiveness.

Seat of the Doshas

  Vata  
Pitta
Kapha

- colon
- small intestine
- chest
 

Doshas and the Gunas
Students of Ayurveda frequently ask whether there is a relationship between the three doshas and the three gunas. There is no direct correspondence. The gunas are the subtlest principles in all forms of energies. Every form of energy physical or mental will have the gunas in a particular ratio. The doshas are grosser energies that makes up the physical body. So each dosha will have all the three gunas in some proportion. Vata is approximately 75% rajas, 20%sattwa and 5% tamas. Pitta is 50% or a bit more sattwa, 45% rajas and 5% tamas. Kapha is 75% tamas 15% sattwa and very little rajas. This is just an approximation not a fixed rule. The proportions can vary. Also it can be understood in this way. Sattwa is present in vata as clarity, creativity and lightness; in pitta as knowledge, understanding; in kapha as love, compassion and forgiveness. Rajas is present is vata as hyperactivity, nervousness, fear, anxiety and ungroundedness; in pitta as aggressiveness, competitiveness, power and prestige; in kapha as attachment, greed and possessiveness. Tamas is present in vata as confusion, indecisiveness, sadness and grief; in pitta as anger, hatred, envy and jealousy; in kapha as depression and deep confusion.

The Doshas and their qualities

Vata
The vata individuals have light, flexible bodies. They have light muscles and little fat. They tend to be slim or underweight. They may be too tall or too short. They sometimes appear under developed with flat chests and less strength and stamina. Their bodies need sweet, sour and salty tastes. Constipation is the most common ailment. Vatas walk quickly, eat quickly and always in a rush. Vatas are drawn to a lot of sexual activity but excess sex is one cause of aggravated vata. Vatas have clarity of mind, mental flexibility and creativity, good imagination and come up with new ideas.

 

   
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