Which should I tackle first? My constitution or my imbalances?

Susan Pulley, About Ayurveda

5  March 2015

And what’s the difference, anyway?

Prakuti, your Ayurvedic constitution, is your unique ratio of Vata, Pitta, Kapha at the time you were born. It’s when Vata, Pitta & Kapha are behaving themselves, and you’re feeling healthy, vibrant and at your best.

Vikruti, or your current state, is still a ratio of VPK, but instead, it indicates what’s out of balance for you now. This can be short-term, as in: “My Vata is high today so it’s difficult to concentrate” or long-term, as in: “My Vata has been high for years so I have a chronic dry stool that’s difficult to pass”. (These are just examples of many, many, many symptoms of Vata.)


So which should you work on, your Prakruti or your Vikruti?


Basically, it boils down to this:

People in excellent health should follow advice for their constitution.

People with signs of imbalance, even relatively early signs, should address that imbalance first. Then, all the doshas are quiet, they can follow advice for their constitution.

It’s a simplification, but a good guideline when you’re starting with Ayurveda.

So let’s talk about an example.

If I eat a heavy meal of pasta, cream & cheese late in the evening in winter or spring, I would likely experience a temporary Kapha increase. What does that feel like? A groggy, sluggish morning with, let’s say, a lack of enthusiasm getting out of bed, plus not being hungry for breakfast, feeling low energy throughout the day. Maybe a foggy head that makes it difficult to focus or take initiative.

So Kapha temporarily increases, and that’s good!

Remember, the doshas act like protective buffers, and if you’re in tune with what those signs are, you’ll listen to the body and make adjustments to provide the proper ecosystem, and your body will be able to easily eliminate an extra Dosha. You don’t have to anything but give it a chance!

Which should I tackle first? My constitution or my imbalances?

About Ayurveda

In our example, Kapha starts to increase, and your body is saying: “I’m still busy dealing with last night’s heavy late dinner, please don’t send more heavy quality foods today, and please don’t be sedentary today. “

At this stage, it’s easy to bring yourself back to balance. So eat light that day, add some pungent spices into the mix, increase your heart rate with some warming movement, and your body will naturally eliminate that excess Kapha. Underneath these extra actions, you would continue advice for your constitution (Prakruti).

If, however, you repeat the same story the next day, and the next, and the next, your body gets increasingly overwhelmed. The level of Kapha dosha continues to rise, and you start experiencing longer term symptoms- weight gain, lethargy, frequent phlegm, slow elimination of the bowels and stagnation of hormones, toxins and other substances. Then, it is time to turn your attention away from your constitutional advice and get seriously busy with Kapha-reducing lifestyle tricks, foods, spices, movement and even herbs.

It’s time to start working on your Vikruti– your imbalanced state once a dosha (here, Kapha) reaches a significant level that it starts to interrupt healthy functions in the body. That means you can be a Pitta-predominant person who needs to turn away from following a regimen for your Pitta constitution and start addressing the Kapha that is more of a problem.

Have questions about which of the three doshas should be your top priority?