Prakriti and Vikriti Explained - Fundamentals of Ayurveda

Prakriti and Vikriti Explained - Fundamentals of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient science of medicine that believes in the balance of three fundamental energies, or doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each person has a unique combination of these doshas, which affect their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Understanding your dosha can help you optimize your health and wellness. In this article we want to guide you through “Prakriti & Vikriti” which is essential before learning about Dosha. Dosha is associated with Panchabuta(five elements) as per Ayurveda.


PANCHABHUTA (Five elements)

The fundamental theory of Ayurveda is based on the theory that a living body is composed of five basic principles or building blocks of existence known as Panchabhuta, which are Prithvi (Earth), Apas (Water), Teja (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Akasa (Ether, Space).  These structural principles are represented as Tridosha, the three functional principles known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha in a living organism.

i.e. Vayu(Air) and Akasa(Space) represented by Vata, Agni(Agni) by Pitta and Apas(Water) and Prithvi(Earth) by Kapha.


According to Ayurveda, the functions of a living being are governed by Tri-dosha, the three bioregulating principles namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When these principles are in normal state (perfect balance) in a living being, these are called Tri-dhatu. However, as these are never found in equilibrium in a living body, these are called Doshas, because their disequilibrium is the root cause of disease.

Vata is the regulating or motivating force that keeps everything moving (Movement). Vata is responsible for all the sensation and activities in the body.

Pitta is responsible for all kinds of transformation of food in the body, all metabolic processes and every reaction in which heat is generated.

Kapha is responsible for firmness, stability, flexibility and calmness. It aids anabolism and so builds up tissues. It's formative and aids preservation.


The Tridosha forms the basic human character called Prakriti, translated as Constitution or Temperament. The dominant Dosha determines the psychosomatic character type to which a living being belongs. This character type is inherited from birth and remains unaltered throughout life. Eg Vata prakriti person can never be changed into Pitta or Kapha prakriti and vice versa during one's lifetime.

The peculiarities of the respective temperaments and the characteristic features of each person as described in the classical treatises on Ayurveda, namely Charaka Samhita (1 AD) and Susruta Samhita (6-7 BC) are used for determining the Prakriti.

In Ayurveda, "Prakriti" refers to an individual's inherent or natural constitution, which is determined at the time of one's birth. It is a unique combination of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Prakriti influences a person's physical, mental, and emotional characteristics, as well as their susceptibility to imbalances and diseases. Understanding your Prakriti is essential in Ayurveda as it helps in tailoring diet, lifestyle, and therapeutic approaches to maintain or restore balance and health. There are various Prakriti types, such as Vata, Pitta, Kapha, or combinations of these, each with its own set of characteristics and recommendations for well-being.

There are seven primary Prakriti types, based on the predominance of one or more doshas:

  • Vata Prakriti: Dominated by Vata dosha.
  • Pitta Prakriti: Dominated by Pitta dosha.
  • Kapha Prakriti: Dominated by Kapha dosha.
  • Vata-Pitta Prakriti: A combination of Vata and Pitta doshas.
  • Pitta-Kapha Prakriti: A combination of Pitta and Kapha doshas.
  • Vata-Kapha Prakriti: A combination of Vata and Kapha doshas.
  • Tridosha Prakriti: All three doshas are equally balanced.

Characteristics of Each Prakriti Type:

  • Vata Prakriti: Individuals with Vata Prakriti tend to be thin, have dry skin, and often experience qualities such as creativity, quick thinking, and variability in energy levels.
  • Pitta Prakriti: Those with Pitta Prakriti tend to have a medium build, good digestion, and a strong intellect. They can be competitive and passionate.
  • Kapha Prakriti: Individuals with Kapha Prakriti typically have a sturdy build, smooth skin, and a calm, stable nature. They may be prone to weight gain and congestion.
  • Dual Dosha Prakriti: People with dual dosha Prakriti exhibit characteristics of both doshas in varying proportions.
  • Tridoshic Prakriti: Tridoshic individuals have an equal balance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha as their constitution.

Understanding one's Prakriti helps in making lifestyle and dietary choices that promote balance and prevent illness. It also serves as a reference point for Ayurveda practitioners when determining an individual's susceptibility to certain diseases.


Vikriti, deriving from the Sanskrit roots "vi" meaning "after" and "kriti" meaning "creation," refers to the state of the three doshas in a human being. It is an essential concept in Ayurveda and provides significant insight into an individual's constitution.

When human beings are exposed to various environmental conditions, food, and lifestyle, the state of their three doshas can be altered. In a less-than-optimal environment, the three doshas can become disturbed and upset the normal physiology, resulting in symptoms of disease. It is important to take care of ourselves and maintain a balanced lifestyle to avoid such disruptions to our doshas and prevent disease.

In Ayurveda, Vikriti refers to the current state of the three doshas in the body and mind. It helps us understand imbalances or symptoms due to the less than optimal environment most of us experience.

Factors Contributing to Vikriti:

  • Vikriti can result from various factors such as dietary choices, lifestyle habits, emotional stress, seasonal changes, and environmental influences.
  • It is common for Vikriti to change over time due to life circumstances and external influences.

Assessing Vikriti:

  • Ayurveda practitioners assess Vikriti by observing changes in an individual's physical and mental health. Symptoms, pulse diagnosis (Nadi pareeksha), and other diagnostic methods are used.
  • For example, if someone with a predominantly Vata Prakriti starts experiencing digestive issues, anxiety, and insomnia, their Vikriti may indicate a Vata imbalance.

One of the primary objectives of Ayurveda is to gain a thorough understanding of an individual's vikriti and to identify the contributing factors in their environment that have caused the disturbance. Once these factors are identified, the next step is to rectify the environment. The term "environment" here encompasses everything that a person takes in through their five senses, as well as the nature of their lifestyle. While an understanding of a person's prakriti is necessary for comprehending their deepest tendencies, knowledge of their vikriti is crucial for developing an effective treatment programme. Ayurveda addresses the present condition of the doshas with its treatment. By addressing Vikriti and restoring balance, Ayurveda seeks to help individuals live in harmony with their original nature (Prakriti) and optimize their health.

For a deeper dive into each of the doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—their unique characteristics, and practical tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle according to your Prakriti, check out our detailed article here.

Older post