The doshas are the three mind-body constitutions. According to Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old sister science to yoga, there are five elements that make up everything in the universe: earth, water, air, fire, and space (or ether). These elements, in different combinations, make up each of the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha.
Just as the five elements make up the doshas in different combinations, we, ourselves, are made up of the doshas in different combinations. Vatta is mostly air and space; pitta is mostly fire with air and water influences, and kapha is mostly earth and water. Most people have one or two predominant doshas, although some people (not many) are balanced across all three.
A vata predominant person is always on the move, physically and mentally. They constantly have new ideas, but have trouble following through. They tend to be energetic, yet introverted and usually have a lean physique.
A pitta predominant person is firey in every way. Their bodies tend to run warm, and their tempers can be equally hot. Pittas have a big appetite and excellent digestion. They are often intellectual thinkers, and usually have a strong, athletic body.
A kapha predominant person, in contrast with vata, is a slow mover, physically and mentally. They are most comfortable staying put, and can have trouble with motivation. Kaphas are the most content and loving of the three dosha types. They tend to gain weight easily and usually have curvy figures.
You can dive a deeper into each dosha by clicking here: vata, pitta, kapha. Learn about dosha imbalances, or vikriti, and how to move back towards balance, how to eat for your dosha, and what yoga practice is best for your dosha type. The best way to determine your dosha is to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner, who can most accurately determine your predominant doshas. Alternately, there are online quizzes, like this one, available that can estimate your dosha type for you.
In the end, exploring Ayurveda and developing a better understanding of your dosha–particularly the imbalances–is simply another tool that provides us a bit more information. Perhaps by doing so you’ll learn some helpful techniques to manage all that life throws your way.