Saturday, November 28, 2015

Concept of Saar

Saar is the result of properly nourished dhatu (tissue quality) and is the essence or quality check of the dhatu. If the dhatu are made of bad quality food for example, then saar is compromised.

Its assessment is an essential part of patient examination to determination the overall strength of the patient (Pravar bala, excellent strength, Madhyam Bala, medium strength, or Heen Bala, low strength). Determining their saar, along with other factors such as age, habits, constitution or mental strength for example, helps to decide where and how any intervention would best be made.

However we can also talk about people being one kind of saar person or another. It is difficult to determine the optimum weight of a person, or how they should look at their best, without knowing their saar. If a person has weak bones (deficient asthi saar) or other dhatu are not good but rakhta dhatu is strong, Ayurveda considers that person a rakhta saar person. It could be their genetic constitution or a blockage which could be determined with rogi pariksha, diagnosis of illnesss.

1. Tvatcha saar pariksha
These people have skin which is healthy, neither thin nor thick. They tend to be enthusiastic people with good energy levels.

2. Rakta saar pariksha 
Reddish hands and feet, reddish flush on chest, skin pinky red, eyes and tongue red
These people are intelligent and excitable, they can get angry quickly and suffer from skin diseases. They have good rakhta dhatu.

3. Mansa saar pariksha
They build strong (not necessarily big) muscles quickly. These people can be a little proud, and selfish.

4. Meda saar pariksha
Their ears, eyes, skin, lips are oily/moist, that it they have excellent meda dhatu. These people are generally happy, content and satisfied. Their touch is soothing and very kind.

5. Asthi saar pariksha
These people have big, sturdy bones, a big frame, good hair. They are generally brave, (very courageous in battle) and generally happy.

6. Majja saar pariksha
These people´s skin is fine but strong, moist and wrinkle free, their eyes look very content and loving. They tend to feel a lot of satisfaction and contentment, and have strong immunity.

7. Shukra saar pariksha
These people are naturally very attractive to the opposite sex. The women are said to be curvy with large breasts and hips and good skin, while the men are said to be virile, with large sexual organs, and both smell very good. These people are fertile and can have many children if they want to.

8. Sattva saar pariksha
People with sattva saar have a very strong mental capacity,  are intelligent and well mannered, have good common sense, are not easily confused, and solve problems quickly. They like to speak. They are generally happy, content, pure, and they attract others with their problem-solving abilities, and their inspirational qualities. They can make excellent inspirational speakers.

There are three classification of saar:

Uttam saar, supreme saar person, very healthy and strong, has all the genetic advantages
Madhyam saar, middling health and strength
Heen saar, least health and strength, prone to sicknesses

Someone with Heen Saar or Madhyam Saar can maintain and strengthen their dhatu strength/ saar, (although they may never be as strong as someone with a genetic advantage) If someone has Heen Saar they must take even more care of their health.

We should always try to find out the optimum level for that individual. Have they been stronger or more vital in the past? The point of comparison should always be to their own best health, not to the health or strength of others.

For example, someone seems very pale, grey or very thin. Are they naturally pale or anaemic? Are they underweight for their constitution and saar, or are they naturally slender?  We could say that it is difficult to establish in the case of someone who has never known optimum health and vitality even in childhood, but that in itself may give pointers to genetic weakness and the need for strengthening of dhatu through diet, breathing and lifestyle. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Concept of Dhatus II

Our bodily tissues, dhatu, ''element which constructs'', are continuously formed, destroyed and reformed in the body, using materials derived from the food and drinks we take in (see part 1 here).When all the stages of digestion are functioning properly, and our digestive fire is balanced, we are able to build the tissues that make up the structure of our body and which support and maintain us. The last dhatu metabolized, shukradhatu, nourishes 'ojas', that is, 'immunity' 'strength' and 'stamina'. It forms no waste products and can be considered distilled and concentrated nourishment.

The texts state that seven major tissues form sequentially, each one building on the layer that came before it, although each dhatu is also able to take what it needs from circulating rasadhatu.

Kedari Kulya Nyaya    First Law of Fields              50% (irrigation)

This law states that when rasadhatu is filled up, then nutrition overflows to rakhtadhatu, then to the other dhatu respectively in a process of irrigation. We have already seen that it takes far less time to form plasma and blood, than to form bone marrow or healthy reproductive tissue.  

Khale Kapot Nyaya      Field Bird Law                    50% (selection)

This law states that the circulating rasadhatu allows the dhatu to operate like birds in a field of grain, where each takes what it needs directly from the rasa circulating in the body.

Modern concepts of nutrition suggest that our bodies instinctively perform a kind of triage when resources are scarce, supporting the First law of Fields. (The term triage comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate, sift or select and is a recognized concept in hospital or emergency settings, when resources are in short supply) For example the body prioritises immediate needs over long term survival and may shut down reproductive functions if it recognizes that conditions are unlikely to result in a successful pregnancy. (However this depends on the saar and prakriti of the individual, as even in the worse conditions a minority of women with strong constitutions will still manage to become pregnant and give birth to healthy babies.)

Here is a table that outlines the main purpose of each dhatu, the element that dominates it and the dosha which governs it. We can see at a glance why aggravated Vata causes such havoc in the areas of skin dryness, weak muscles, weak, porous or cracking bones, underweight, problems in conceiving or bringing to term a pregnancy, as well causing as a general lack of juice, confidence or physical solidity or wellbeing.

dhatu                       purpose                                     bhoota                                    dosha

Rasa                        to circulate nourishment              jal                                kapha
Rakhta                   to oxygenate blood                      tejas                            pitta
Mansa                     to clothe bones                           prithvi                          kapha
Meda                      to lubricate                                  jal & prithvi                 kapha
Asthi                       to sustain/support body                prithvi & vayu             vata
Majja                      to transport impulses/fill bones     jal                                kapha
Shukra                   to reproduce                                jal & tejas                    kapha

Rasa  include all non-blood fluids: plasma, lymph, breast milk and white blood cells (some texts also say menstrual flow) Its function is to circulate nutrition, provide nourishment, moisture and satisfaction. Optimal rasa would provide a glowing complexion, healthy hair, and a happy, cheerful and content mood. Excess rasa leads to heaviness in the body, cough, excess phlegm. Deficient rasa leads to dryness in the body, nervous tremors, exhaustion, dizziness and general weakness.

Rakta includes red blood cells, blood vessels and tendons. Its function is to transport nutrients to every cell in the body, providing energy and vitality. Well formed rakta gives good colour to hands, cheeks and lips, the skin is warm to the touch and the person feels vital and invigorated. Excess rakta can be seen in skin diseases, allergies, jaundice, excess bleeding, any kind of blood disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure or emotions of anger or jealousy. Deficiency can be seen in low blood pressure, dry cracked skin, lack of energy, weak metabolism, lack of colour and luster in the skin, and coldness in the body generally.
Mamsa  includes muscle tissue, ligaments and skin. The function of mamsadhatu is to clothe the bones, provide physical strength and protect vital organs. Good muscle tone and development, strength, stamina, and courageous are evidence of optimal formation. In excess, mamsa may lead to tumors, enlargement of the glands in general, obesity, and fibroids. A deficiency will show itself in emaciation, fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness in the body, painful joints, sunken cheeks, and a lack of energy, courage, and endurance.
Medas – fat in the body. The function of medas is lubrication throughout the body, protection, energy reserve, insulation, providing moisture and contentment of body and mind. In its optimal state it provides adequate body fat under the skin, good energy reserves, healthy cholesterol levels, softness and moisture in the body, healthy metabolism, the ability to love and be loved, affection, and humour. Too much medas leads to sluggish thyroid, tumors/growths, spleen/liver/gall bladder disorders, obesity, lipomas, heaviness, fatigue, diabetes, heavy sweating. A deficiency leads to emaciation, cracking joints, brittle hair, nails and teeth, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism.
 Asthi includes bone tissue and cartilage, teeth.  The fiunction of asthi is structural support for all tissues in body; it provides shape to the body; protects the delicate organs of the brain, heart and lungs and removes heavy metal waste through hair and nails When optimal we see healthy and strong bones and teeth, healthy shiny hair; thick nails; strong joints; stamina and groundedness. Too much leads to bone spurs, bone cancer, extra teeth. A deficiency results in weak bones, osteoporosis, cracking joints, osteoarthritis, joint pain, spontaneous fractures, brittle hair, teeth or nails, hair loss, and insomnia and worry.
Majja includes bone marrow and nerve tissue, eye sclera. Its function is to fill the spaces in the body, it also transports incoming sensory message to the brain and outgoing motor functions from the brain to the body. When I optimal amounts it keeps the mind sharp, the memory good, the eyes clear, allows pain tolerance, and promotes compassion and open mindedness. An excess of majja may result in a feeling of heaviness in the eyes, eye infections, non-healing of sores, bone marrow cancers (leukemia), nerve growths and tumours, fluid in the brain. A deficiency results in lightness of bones, osteoporosis, anemia, arthritis, neurological problems (Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, attention deficit disorder), nerve pain, numbness, sciatic pain, sacral pain, dizziness, darkness around the eyes, sexual debility, and feelings of fear and emptiness.

Shukra  is basically reproductive fluid and tissue (ova in females, sperm in males) Its function is procreation, love, creativity, enjoyment, strength, pleasure, vitality, joy. When shukradhatu is well supplied we see lustrous hair and eyes, attractive body, charm, love, empathy, compassion. Too much shukra may cause an excessive interest in sex, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), prostate inflammation and cancer, ovarian cysts. A deficiency in shukradhatu leads to a lack of vigor, loss of sexual desire, sterility, impotence, delayed ejaculation, lower back pain, amenorrhea and infertility. Brahmacharya (sexual continence) is advised particularly for men in Ayurveda as excessive ejaculation depletes masculine energy, vigour and virility, ie ojus.
If each of these tissues forms properly, then ojas is produced.  Ojas, which is sometimes considered the 8th tissue, is the subtle energy that provides us with vitality, immunity, stability, stamina and strength.  It is considered the end-product of perfect digestion.  Without sufficient ojas we become tired, weak and susceptible to a range of physical and mental disorders.
When our body properly digests the correct food and drink, our tissues are maintained in a state of equilibrium. When our body is unable to process what we take in, the disease process starts.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Concept of dhatus 1

A dhatu can be considered an ''anatomical classification of the human body'',  ¨that which supports the body´´

Dhatus are seven basic supporting structures of the human body formed by food. Our bodily tissues are continuously formed, destroyed and reformed in the body, using materials derived from the food and drinks we take in. When all the stages of digestion are functioning properly, and our digestive fire (agni) is balanced, we are able to build the tissues that make up the structure of our body and which support and maintain us.

The dhatus consist of Rasa (which can be considered a vital fluid resembling plasma), Rakhta (blood), Mansa (muscle), Meda (adipose tissue), Asthi (bone and cartilage), Majja (bone marrow, the fatty part), and Shukra (reproductive tissue, ovaries, eggs, semen). These dhatus must not be considered to correspond completely with plasma, blood etc., but should be considered on their own terms.

Dhatu are formed by aharasa, the substance first created after food has been metabolised. Ahar literally means food or ´intake´. Food or ´intake´ is metabolized by ´agni´, ´fire´, an Ayurvedic concept which I will consider in detail in another post. First, food is metabolised by Jatharagni (literally the ´fire´ in the stomach which breaks down raw materials into rasa), and second, by the five Bhootagni in the liver (ie the ´fires´ of ether, air, fire, water and earth which metabolise the corresponding property of foodstuffs). Finally, each dhatu has its own corresponding dhatvagni (therefore 7 dhatvagni) which sorts the previous dhatu´s apportation into useful nutrition for its own dhatu and mala (waste) to be expelled.

These seven major dhatu form sequentially, each building on the one that came before it, (although in principal each dhatu may also able to take what it needs from circulating rasadhatu). In other words the dhatu are nourished in two ways. The first way, the principle of overflow, suggests that aharasa must be of sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy the requirements of circulating plasma before the subsequent dhatu, raktadhatu can be nourished. Then raktadhatu must be well nourished, in order for mamsadhatu to form properly. We can imagine the classic image of abundance of the pyramid of champagne glasses, where the champagne overflows from the top glass into the second, third and subsequent layers. All layers depend on the previous one to be filled to capacity and overflow.

However we must remember that this process is ongoing as the body continues to ingest food and use it to make aharasa, allowing all cellular processes to take place. Rasa is in each cell, as is ´agni´. Each dhatu is made up of innumerable paramanu (cells) which both receive nutrients and expel waste. Sukshma strota are tiny pathways throughout the body (for example leading to the pores of the skin)  

How does this work exactly? Each dhatu generates ' prasada' , literally food or nutrition which forms the subsequent dhatu. Each is produced sequentially, one after another, so if there is a breakdown early on in the process of tissue formation, then it affects all other tissues in the body.  Because our vitality, immunity and strength (ojus, the essence of nourishment, or what is left when aharasa has been absorbed by lesser dhatu and all wastes have been removed) is only produced at the end of the cycle, it is essential for our overall health that the tissue formation process is functioning properly. You may also note that the reproductive system is the last tissue system to be nourished, so when someone is having problems conceiving, ultimately, an improper digestive system or lack of proper nourishment may be the root of the problem.

Ahar forms Aharasa, the raw material of nutrition and preliminary Rasadhatu within a day or two. Raktadhatu takes betwen 7 and 10 days to form, Mamsadhatu between 14 and 20 days, Medadhatu 5 to 7 days, Asthidhatu 7-10 days, Majjadhatu 7-0 days and Shukradhatu between 30 and 72 days. Marma, Asthi , Sandhi (the latter ´joints´) being the deepest tissues, take longer to be nourished. Note the order of the depth of the tissues. If you scratch the skin, first simple fluid is seen, then later blood. If you were to penetrate further into the body you would pass through fat and muscle to the tendons and bones. At the deepest levels we find bone marrow and reproductive tissue.

If rasadhatu is malnourished you will see the consequences quickly, in terms of dehydration, skin, eye and tongue dryness, weakness, dizziness etc. If shukradhatu is affected it will take much longer. For example skin will dry out in a matter of hours due to a lack of fluids, but amenhorrea tends to occur after months of extreme malnutrition, eating disorders etc.

Medadhatu circulates as fat globules in aharasa and has a unique blocking quality, tending to block the strota, causing later malnutrition as nutrients cannot get through to support deeper tissues. It can be seen as cholesterol in the blood, yellow motes in the eyes, fatty liver, etc and explains why someone can appear well nourished, overweight or obese but when nutritional levels are checked they are in fact malnourished. When medavahastrota is blocked by ama we tend to see overweight, alongside badly nourished dhatu, so feelings of heaviness, tiredness, lack of appetite and energy, and cravings are common.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Types of Kapha

 ´Kapha gives stability, lubrication, holding together of the joints and such qualities as patience.´Ashtanga Hridaya XI. 1-3 

1Tarpak kapha

Tarpak kapha is found in the head, brain, spinal cord and the sensory organs. It provides strength to the sensory system. It can be compared with cerebro-spinal fluid and its function is to nourish and protect the brain. It also acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the brain against external stressors.

2 Bodhak kapha

Bodhak kapha is located in the mouth and tongue as a liquid which allows us to taste our food properly. It allows us to perceive different tastes, as we can only taste that which is soluble (completely dry food could not be tasted by a dry mouth). Bodhak kapha as saliva is involved in the first stage of digestion, as chewing reduces food to small pieces with a greater surface area and amylase helps to break down carbohydrates in the mouth. Bodhak Kapha lubricates the mouth and other sensory openings in the head.

3 Kledak kapha

Kledak kapha appears the secretions of the mucous cells lining the stomach, and protects it from stomach acid. It can be damaged by painkillers, smoking, alcohol, spicy food, but is self –repairing. It is responsible for the moistening and liquefaction of food and digestion.

4.Shleshak kapha

Shleshak Kapha provides nourishment and lubrication to the joints (it can be compared with the synovial fluid). It is responsible for holding the joints together.

5 Avalambak kapha

Avalambak Kapha is found in the chest region as a kind of liquid that provides support to the circulation of the blood. Rasa (first digested material) provides strength to the lungs, protects the chest region and supports other Kapha functions in the body. Avalambak Kapha is found as fluid linings of heart, lungs and chest.

Normal functions

Kapha maintains strength and structural integrity, immunity, stamina and protection. It governs all anabolic processes, creates healthy structures, and is responsible for the proper formation of strong tissues and quality physical mass. It supports immunity, allowing the body to withstand external stressors, such as disease, parasites, viral and bacterial infections, as well as a less than optimum lifestyle or diet. It promotes stamina, the longstanding ability of the body to carry out the necessary functions year in year out, as well as performing marathon feats at work and home without flagging. It promotes wound healing. Kapha is responsible for the protection of all major organs (which it also confines to their specific locations). It maintains fluid levels in the body and acts as a shock absorber. It governs fertility and reproduction. which are compromised when Kapha is low.

Normal mental functions

Kapha governs feelings of contentment, satisfaction, forgiveness, kindness, love, loyalty, values family and tradition, peacefulness, calm, and, through nourishing the mind, gives emotional and intellectual stability. Zeal, memory and knowledge are also positive mental functions of Kapha.

Abnormal functioning

Obesity, heaviness, high cholesterol, diabetes, mucous, lack of appetite/cravings, low digestive power, sinuses, chest infections, eye gunk, lethargy, oedema, swellings, itching. accumulation, congestion, any kind of fluid imbalance, phlegm or congestion.

Abnormal mental functioning

Lack of interest in life, people and events, lack of motivation and drive, unwillingness, indifference to others, especially those outside the immediate family, area or culture. Lack of universal love. Apathy, depression and laziness may be seen. Possessiveness, smothering, clinging, or greed may also be signs of improper Kapha functioning, ie the right relationship with other people, things or food is disturbed.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Types of Pitta dosha

1 Sadhak pitta

Sadhak pItta is found in the brain and heart. It governs well being, concentration, trust, courage, daring, initiative, desires, creative originality and self-belief. It provides strength to the heart, increase of intellect/discrimination, intelligence, rational thought and pride (in the sense of healthy self-esteem and dignity). When Sadhak pitta is functioning properly it is said that a person is easily able to achieve the four purushártha, that is,´objects of human pursuit´ - dharma (duty), artha (financial status), káma (desires) and moksha (liberation from the wheel of life and death).

Ayurveda itself, by preserving and healing the body, mind and spirit, exists to enable us to pursue these worthy goals of our precious human lives. Where else do we live? From where do we act?  ´The body is the greatest dharma´ means that we inevitably experience this life, with its pleasures, pains and challenges, while incarnated in a physical body, thus we can see the vital importance of Sadhak Pitta. When the intellect is clouded, when courage and/or self belief are in short supply and when self- esteem is low, we lack the mental and emotional resources to fulfill our purushártha.

2 Alochak pitta

Alochak pitta is located in the eyes and governs vision. It can be compared with rhodopsin and iodopsin. rods and cones, although this is not an exact correlation and we must remember that pitta should rather be considered an energetic function. Alochak pitta interprets the visual stimuli of light and colour, converting electrical impulses into vision that can be understood and read by the brain. It processes and assimilates information. It has been argued that Alochak pitta governs internal as well as external vision, ie the Third eye or pineal gland but this question is moot.

3 Pachak pitta

Pachak Pitta is located in the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.  It is responsible for the digestion of food through metabolic activity into nutritional gastric juices, that is ,all the enzymatic and pancreatic juices. Pachak pitta is responaible for the formation of other types of pitta in the body and is therefore of the utmost importance.

4 Bhrajak pitta-

Bhrajak Pitta is found in skin tissue. One of its functions is to absorb whatever may be applied to skin through the pores, including the herb infused oils and ointments that need to reach deeper tissues. It also provides glow, aura, and brightness of the skin. It regulates skin and body temperature within defined parameters through sweating.

5 Ranjak pitta

Ranjak pitta is found in the liver, another seat of pitta. It converts rasa (first digested product) into rakta (blood). yakrit (liver), pliha (spleen), amashaya (stomach) and hridya (heart). forming blood cells. Ranjak pitta determines the colour of twak (skin), kesh (hairs) and netra (eyes). Ranjak pitta in the small intestines imparts color to urine and stools, which are importat to diagnosis in astavidha pariksha, the eightfold examination.

Normal functions of pitta

Normal digestion of food, metabolism and elimination, normal formation of blood, maintenance of temperature, sweating function, shine and glow of skin, proper vision, ie converting images accurately.

Normal mental functions

Enthusiasm, self-confidence, courage, happiness, emotional balance, self expression, bravery, feelings of well-being, happiness and courage, confidence, integrity, endorphins, love of life, decisiveness.

Abnormal functioning

Burning sensation, infections, external or internal inflammation, disturbed digestion, hyper-acidity, gastric acid reflux disorder, piles, any bleeding disorders, ulcers, herpes, diarrhoea, anger, burnout, disturbed sleep, disturbed vision, hepatitis, jaundice, acne, pimples, irritation, urinary tract infections, gallbladder problems, red burning eyes, pancreatitis, excessive hunger or thirst, discolouration of skin, or waste products, reduced or excessive production of hormones and enzymes is also seen.

Ultimately the very production of pitta dosha is affected and the body may become cold and dry.

Abnormal mental functioning

Anger, overconfidence, violence, extremism, jealousy, competition, irritation, feelings of hatred, aggression or the reverse, loss of self-confidence, self esteem and drive..

What aggravates Pitta?

Pitta is aggravated by smoking, citrus fruits, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, hot and pungent spices, mustard oil, burning, stimulants, fighting, sun, central heating, mental tensions, austerities, and whatever is hot in nature. Strong emotions, such as anger, feelings of competition, pride, envy, revenge, also aggravate pitta, so we can see anger and other ´hot´ emotions as both cause and consequence of deranged pitta dosha.

What soothes Pitta?

Cooling treatments, such as takradhara, shiroabhyangam with cooling, oil spending times near bodies of water, such as lakes or reservoirs, waterfalls, time in nature, sleeping on rooftops, eating foods whose nature is cooling, sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, such as fruit, green leaves or tea, or tridoshic, such as ghee and lavana, spending time with loved ones and friends in a relaxing, non-competitive atmosphere, the practice of cooling pranayama breathing techniques or hatha yoga (not ashtanga) , gentle exercise and meditation.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Five types of Vata

Vata dosha is light, dry, hard, cold, mobile, rough, flowing, subtle (it can penetrate every aspect of the body) and clear. Vata is best understood in terms of its sub-doshas, which determine direction of movement and govern specific actions in the body. Remember that Vata dosha is formed of air and ether and is naturally associated with breath, lumens, spaces and air or gas in the body.
Prana Vata

Prana Vata is situated in the head and chest region covering the lungs, the whole respiratory system, esophagus and heart, tongue, mouth and nose.

It is responsible for respiration and heart-rate and thoughts. It helps food to reach the stomach, gives strength to the heart and enables spitting, belching, and respiration (inhalation). It determines the type of experiences or influences we attract and draw into the body. It is considered upward moving.

Udana Vata

Udana Vata  is situated near the umbilicus, diaphragm, chest region and throat. It is responsible for moving air out of the body, exhalation. It enables proper speaking and singing ability. It is also responsible for strength and feelings of patience in the body and for increasing memory function.

Samana Vata

It is situated in stomach, the small intestines and the upper abdomen. It helps in digestion through the secretion of digestive enzymes. It also creates the feeling of hunger and thus the impulse to eat. It carries nutrients into the circulatory system and represents the quality of absorption. It helps in the separation of wastes from useful nutrients and in the formation of semen.

Vyana Vata

It nourishes the whole body and is found throughout the body. It has three movements, urdharv gaman (upwards), adho gaman (downwards), and tiryak gaman (lateral movements) in the body.  Vyana vayu controls all voluntary actions, deliberate movements, the contraction and expansion of the heart muscles and other muscles and promotes the circulation and nourishment of the body. It also governs sweating, yawning and the sensation of touch.

Apana Vata

It is situated in pakwashaya (intestines), vrishan (testis), vasti (bladder), shishin (penis), nabhi (umblicus), kati pardesh (pelvis), guda (anus) and creates the urge to expel wastes out of the body. Its movement is downward, involving lower body functions, such as urination, excretion, menstruation, passing gas, giving birth, and the ejaculation of sperm.

Normal functions of Vata dosha

Normal heart-rate and breathing, normal thinking capacity, interest in life, creativity, imagination, normal speech, normal digestive movements, normal appetite, circulation and activity of motor organs, normal evacuation of waste products, proper menstruation, normal ejaculation.

Lack of proper functioning/Aggravation

Heart-rate problems, breathing difficulties, asthma, stammering, autism, gas, bloating, disturbed digestion, lack of appetite, varicose veins, circulation problems, cramps, cold hands and feet, menstrual disorders, ejaculation, constipation, lower back pain, lumbago, dryness, cracking or painful joints, cracked heels, breaking nails, stress, anxiety, fear, insomnia, memory loss, Alzheimer's, weight-loss, paralysis, Muscular Dystrophy, arthritis, and all forms of physical and mental degeneration.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Concept of Tridosha Part 2

We have established that dosha are not physiological or personality types at all, but rather functions in nature and in the body, made up of the five universal properties.. All these functions are indispensable and interrelated and any attempt to separate them out is necessarily a simplification. We must remember that these functions are taking place in every cell in the body at every moment. When they cease to work in harmony, illness develops and if one of them were to stop working we would die.

Main functions of sharir dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)

Vata dosha (made of akasha, vayu) determines movement, communication and knowledge. Who or what is it that communicates and reacts? The brain and central nervous system.
Pitta dosha (made of tejas) controls metabolism and transformation. What is it that metabolizes? Enzymes,  gastric juices and whatever catabolizes in the body.
Kapha dosha (ap, prithvi) creates stability and cohesion. What nourishes? Nutrition, food, anabolic processes.

Vata is the source of voluntary and involuntary movement, internal and external triggers of knowledge, stimulus, reaction, brain impulses, messages to the body to react, receptiveness to the world. When aggravated, Vata is responsible for degeneration, and pain.

Pitta has to turn anything which is different to the body either into the body itself or has to turn it out of the body – ie it digests and transforms it so that it can be absorbed or changes it in order to expel it as waste. Transformation, metabolism, expulsion, the assimilation into plasma and tissues, all of these are Pitta functions. When aggravated, Pitta creates inflammation and excessive heat and related disorders.

Kapha creates the physical structure of the body, stability, the power of repair and healing, nourishment, immunity, and strength. It slows down the degeneration of the body, and is the end result of nutrition, forming and reforming all the tissues of the body. When intake is good and Vata and Pitta work properly good kapha is created, giving immunity and strength. When Kapha is aggravated, the result is congestion. Bad kapha results in poor quality and toxic tissues. If the end result of optimum Kapha is ´ojas´ (the concentrated, refined and high quality nourishment/immunity remaining when all tissues have been formed and wastes expelled) the end result of ´bad´ kapha is ´ama´(a kind of toxic sludge found in tissues, pathways and organs of the body and mind)


Main seats of Vata

brain and central nervous system           messages, knowledge
colon, large intestine                             nervous, dry, movement down
skin                                                     receives information, knowledge
lower back                                           nerves, movement of legs
joints                                                   articulation, movement
pelvis                                                   stability, weight transformation

1 Here you can see functions of Vata more clearly
2 Here is where when accumulated, or aggravated you can first see the effects.

Physical properties

dryness       ruksha
coldness     sheeta
light            laghu
rough          khara
penetrative tikshna
active          tiksna

WhenVata is aggravated, these are the qualities that increase.

Normal functions
Normal heartrate and breathing, normal speech, normal digestive movements, normal appetite, circulation and activity of motor organs, normal evacuation of waste products, menstruation, ejaculation.

Normal mental functions
Normal thinking capacity, interest in life, creativity, imagination

Abnormal functioning
Heartrate problems, breathing difficulties, asthma, stammering, autism, gas, bloating, disturbed digestion, lack of appetite, varicose veins, circulation problems, cramps, cold hands and feet, menstrual disorders, premature or delayed ejaculation, constipation, lower back pain, cracking joints, cracked heels, dryness in the body, breaking nails, insomnia, memory loss, Alzheimer's , weight-loss, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, and any kind of degeneration

Abnormal mental functioning
Stress, anxiety, fear, accelerated thinking, circular thinking, losing touch with reality, recklessness, panic.


Seats of pitta

small intestine                           digestion
skin                                           protection, temperature of body, shine and glow
eyes                                          converts images
blood                                        transformation
liver and spleen                         makes and destroys red blood cells, general properties of pitta
brain and heart                          courage, happiness

1. These are where you see the function most clearly
2. These are where you first see the effects of accumulation or aggravation

Physical properties

hot                                            ushna
moist                                         ardra
Penetrative                                tikshna
Liquid                                       drava
Flowing                                     sara
bitter when healthy, acid when unhealthy 
green when healthy, yellow when unhealthy
bad smell generally

Normal functions
Normal digestion of food, metabolism and elimination, normal formation of blood, proper maintenance of temperature, appropriate sweating function, shine and glow of skin and eyes, proper vision, ie converting images accurately.

Normal mental functions
Enthusiasm, confidence, courage, happiness, valour, bravery, well-being, leadership, initiative, endorphins

Abnormal functioning
Burning, infections, inflammations, disturbed digestion, hyper-acidity, acid reflux, piles, bleeding disorders, ulcers, herpes, diarrhoea, burnout, hepatitis, jaundice, acne, pimples, irritation, UTIs, gallbladder problems, red burning eyes, pancreatitis

Abnormal mental functioning
Anger, over-confidence, arrrogance, hatred, extremism, jealousy, competition, aggression, rigid thinking .

What aggravates pitta? Strife, smoking, citrus fruits, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, lemon, spices, mustard oil, burning, stimulants, sunshine, sauna, whatever is hot in nature


Seats of kapha

brain                     cerebral fluid, shockabsorber
tongue                  saliva, taste functions
sinuses                  humidifies air, isulates sensitive structures
chest region          fluid linings of heart and lungs
stomach                mucous cells
joints                    synovial  fluid

1. These are where we can see the functions clearly
2. These are where kapha accumulates first and where we first see ay aggravation.

Physical properties

clear liquid fluids      vishada when healthy
slimy fluids               pichila when unhealthy
sweet when healthy, salty when unhealthy   madhura/lavana
transparent when healthy, whitish, yellowish, greenish when unhealthy (see above)
heavy                       guru
sluggish                    manda     
cold                         sheeta
damp, moist            drava
snighda                    unctuous
heavy                       guru
sweet                       madhura

Foods that build kapha are oils, milk, butter, ghee, cream, rice, meat, avocado, olives, rabbit, nourishing, porridge, dates, cashews, almonds, raisons.

Normal functions
Kapha maintains strength, immunity, stamina, structure, nourishing formation of dhatus, healthy tissues and bones, helps in tasting sensation, protection of all major organs, reproduction, structural integrity, confines organs to specific locations, fluid balance, potential energy, immunity.

Normal mental functions
Contenment, satisfaction, forgiveness, kindness,  love, peacefulness, calm, emotional and intellectual stability

Abnormal functioning
Obesity, heaviness, laziness, apathy, high cholesterol, diabetes, mucous, phegm, lack of appetite/cravings, low digestive power, sinuses, chest infections, eye gunk, lethargy, oedema, swellings, lack of interest. accumulation, congestion,

Abnormal mental functioning
Lack of interest in anything, complacency, closed-mindedness, indifference to others, possessiveness, clinging, greed, laziness.

In myh next post I will explain the main types of Tridosha and their principal functions,