Why you need to know your Vikriti – not “your Dosha”

Arguably the most talked-about aspect of Ayurveda, the doshas are also the most misunderstood.

There are three doshas in Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – and each individual possesses a unique combination of all three.  The balance of the doshas helps us to understand what foods, herbs, exercise and environment is best for us as an individual.  For this reason, many people become fixated on finding out their “dosha” and making their choices accordingly.

First things first.  Dosha, literally translated from the Sanskrit, means “that which is at fault”.  As a practitioner, when people ask me to tell them their dosha, what they really want to know is what their Prakriti and Vikriti is.

Prakriti and Vikriti describe the balance of the three doshas in an individual.  Prakriti is the constitution which we are born with.  It is unchanging throughout our life and can be likened to our genetic blueprint.  It is completely unique to each individual; we all have Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha to some degree – it’s impossible not to possess one of the doshas as they all have critical functions to maintain life.  A person’s Prakriti can be described one of these ways:

  • Vata
  • Pitta
  • Kapha
  • Vata/Pitta or Pitta/Vata (dual-doshic)
  • Vata/Kapha or Kapha/Vata (dual-doshic)
  • Pitta/Kapha or Kapha/Pitta (dual-doshic)
  • Tri-doshic (Vata/Pitta/Kapha)

Someone who is Vata, Pitta or Kapha single-doshic possesses a higher level of that dosha in comparison to the other two.

Someone who is dual-doshic possesses a higher level of two doshas (which are approximately equal) in comparison to the third.

Someone who is tri-doshic has an approximately equal level of all three doshas.

Now we come on to Vikriti.  Just as Prakriti is unchanging throughout our life,  Vikriti describes the balance of doshas which does change.  It is influenced by the food we eat, our work and home environments, the weather, the season, the company we keep and so on.  Vikriti is our current state of health. Therefore when we are looking to maintaining good health or addressing an illness, Vikriti is key.  We need to know what dosha is out of balance as that is often the starting point for illness and disease.

Sometimes but not always, Vikriti will mirror Prakriti and the dosha which is dominant in our Prakriti will be the one which becomes aggravated.  This is not always the case however.  For example, someone with a Kapha dominant Prakriti may find that Pitta dosha becomes imbalanced during a very hot summer.  Or someone who is very Pitta dominant may find that, over time, excess heat in the body leads to dryness and that their Vata-related symptoms emerge.

It’s fun and insightful to know our Prakriti as it gives us an window into the person we are and allows us to recognise certain traits and behaviours.  More crucially, however, Vikriti is relevant to knowing what state of health we’re in and providing us with information on how to redress any imbalances.

I often see people in clinic who have perhaps completed an online questionnaire to establish their Prakriti, follow food lists and practices which correspond to this but can’t understand why they still feel unwell or why their symptoms worsen.  This is because the illness that is has arisen is due to an imbalance in the doshas so they should be looking at the food lists, practices, etc, which pacify the doshas indicated in Vikriti not Prakriti.

As our environment – both internal and external – is constantly changing we need to become adept at recognising when a dosha is going out of balance so we can steps to correct it before it leads to illness. If you would like to learn how to do this for yourself, click here to get in touch.  I’d love to hear from you!

1 thought on “Why you need to know your Vikriti – not “your Dosha””

  1. This is so interesting. I found your article while trying to work out why I feel such different things at the moment from my normal vata/pitta profile.
    Sleeping deep & late in the morning, feeling sluggish, unmotivated, even depressed. Not wanting to move or exercise. Then it hit me, we’ve had an endless kapha winter/spring with so much rain! I did a vikruti test and sure enough: kapha. Explains a lot. Why don’t more posts talk about this? It all seems to be prakriti based.

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