Hidden Doshas

“What are the best ways to balance? Can you appear to be more kapha or vata if you are out of balance? I am much more pitta naturally and very much out of balance.”


Oh boy oh boy. I think this is the question I get most frequently, the question of the “hidden dosha(s).” Miss Reader posed this question beautifully. As she’s been learning more about herself, she realizes that naturally, she’s mostly pitta. However, the personality and physical traits that stand out to her currently, are more like a kapha and vata combination. I like this question for two reasons.

Reason numero UNO: This reader is beginning to know herself, which is absolutely KEY to healing in Ayurveda. She has been confused about what her prakruti or natural balance of her doshas really is (sound familiar?). It seems now after some learning, self discovery and time, she is beginning to find out what her natural balance is and therefore what she needs to do to stay healthy! Yay for discovery!

Reason numero DOS: She brings up the point of  doshas that are shining bright, doing a little dance for everyone to see on the surface, but at the same time are masking our natural state. Ah HAH! It’s like removing a costume! Realizing that what is on the surface, may not be our authentic selves is also KEY to healing in Ayurveda. It’s also the part where everyone gets confused and sends me sweet little notes of dosha confusion :)

This is getting juicy. OKAY! So, there are three doshas. Your prakruti (born-in balance) will be one or two of those doshas (having all three is extremely rare so I’m not going to go there). But then life happens. Maybe we acquire bad eating habits or move to a different climate or have emotional trauma or we too much exercise that is not good for our dosha or we have a really stressful career. And so on! All these factors start to form the costume…they begin to change our natural balance and turn us into someone we might not recognize over time. This is when we start to feel, not like ourselves and might have some physical indications that we are off. It happens slowly, so unless we have really managed our health closely (or already know Ayurveda) and accurately according to who we are as an individual, we most likely have picked up some of these “life happenings” and might not recognize it until we’re pretty far off.

Here is an example of how a pitta person might be masked as a kapha.
Mr. Pitta has a stressful career which causes his pitta to increase, but to manage his stress he skips exercise (kapha increasing) because he has taken on too much responsibility and he’s exhausted. Mr. Pitta reaches for comforting foods to manage his stress (kapha increasing). Deep down he knows this has nothing to do with his hunger or stomach, but it’s for a different reason, to calm him. Then because he is overfull, he can’t get up in the morning and sleeps too late (kapha increasing) therefore not following the daily routine, so he has low energy for the day (kapha symptom and kapha increasing). He will reach for caffeinated beverages to get through the day, which gives false energy, causing him to crash and then need another caffeinated beverage in the afternoon. The result is, the naturally pitta person gains weight, has low agni (metabolism), carries too much stress, gets sick often (clogged channels and low quality ojas) and has no energy. Thus resulting in a kapha imbalance. This specific scenario I see tooooo frequently in our American society!!!

Finally answering the question…so what do you balance?! You always balance the dosha(s) that is out of balance, first. SO! If Mr. Pitta has a kapha increase, we manage kapha. We keep pitta in mind of course, but we work on reducing kapha to get Mr. Pitta back to his natural state. From there, he can live a pitta balancing lifestyle. It’s a little more complex than that because we have to keep in mind all the qualities of the doshas, but in a nutshell, that’s what Ayurveda does. This is one example, but this can happen with all doshas when we’re imbalanced. Kaphas can seem like vatas, vatas can seem like pittas, pittas can seem like kaphas, and as many other combinations as you can think of. Did I confuse you more? I hope not. When you break it down it’s easy.

Get to know yourself. Take the dosha test and remember to take is according to who YOU are NATURALLY, not necessarily today. Take your time and let your discoveries unravel. In all honesty, it’s not as simple as a dosha test. You know yourself better than anyone. Ask yourself questions, learn about the doshas and begin to absorb this wonderful knowledge to make it work for you! :) Namasté!

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9 Responses to Hidden Doshas

  1. Katie C. says:

    Monica, I didn’t know I was a guy, because I _AM_ Mr. Pitta in your example – totally! Spot on, and your post really helps me better understand WHICH dosha (Kapha) to focus on balancing. I know I know, you tell me that too, but good to hear it in all mediums! :)

  2. Meghs says:

    Monica! Always such a delight to visit your blog…Congrats on the beautiful lil one! I am 4 months away from welcoming mine into this world too..and I wanted to ask you…almost every pregnancy diet expert suggests you eat in small intervals because heavier big meals make you uncomfortable! But I know for a fact that Ayurveda recommends 3 big meals…I am kinda confused about what might be best! There are times when an hour and a half after breakfast I start to feel slightly nauseous and once I put something else into my stomach right then, it makes me feel better…But i also know for a fact that my b’fast isn’t fully digested yet..Am I making way for increased AMA by doing this?!

    • Monica says:

      Meghs!! Thanks for your kind words and congratulations to you too!! :) :) Babies are so lovely! You’re gonna LOVE being a mom!! As far as pregnancy goes, as long as you are eating GOOD foods and when you are hungry, it’s no problem. I too would eat a snack when I felt nauseous in the beginning – it totally makes the nausea go away! If your body is calling for it, then honor that. And, I was told that during pregnancy we are in a state of ama the whole time anyway…because our body is holding onto everything for the baby. As long as you are eating when you’re hungry and not eating too late (dude, I did that a couple times and got mad heartburn, which I never get!), you’re doing great. Don’t worry too much – nature knows what it’s doing :) As long as you are feeling good, keep doing what you’re doing! Thanks for your question and hope this helps!!

  3. Babita says:

    UM. I actually am more confused. I am generally a vata but get pitta and kapha imbalances easily. So this is making me wonder… am I really a vata who gets imbalanced easily? Or am I kapha or pitta who has had a serious vata imbalance for a long while. LOL.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Babita! (shoot I forgot to write back about your eyes! Will do today) Well, are you really and truly a vata? Small bones/frame, skittish, wildly creative, talkative, loooong fingers, change your mind a lot, tough to gain weight, etc.? Does that sound like who you are naturally? If so, then you are probably vata, but might have low ojas (immunity) and therefore you get imbalances easily. However! Vata IS the dosha that goes out of whack quickest, SO! If you have vata increasing lifestyle, then maybe that’s what is giving you the impression that you are vata. And maybe there is kapha or pitta hidden underneath…ask yourself some questions and be honest. Who are you naturally? What’s underneath and what might be on the surface? Hope this de-confuses you a little ;) xoxo

  4. Karen Paulson says:

    ok that’s it. It took me a couple of weeks of sluggishness to figure that out. NEXT TIME, I’m contacting you for a…whaddaya callit?…”mini bud?” That’s it!
    Geeeeeniuss!

  5. Karen Paulson says:

    whoa…my….mind. She is BLOWN!!!
    I’m naturally a vata. But when we hit a heatwave here in the Carolinas this summer, near the beginning of July, I got totally out of whack. Appetite gone, ALL energy gone. Felt heavy and listless and depressed. Acupuncture helped with the dampness. But I struggled with trying to find foods that would help, ultimately settling on lassi drinks…yogurt blended with cold fruit and a little sugar. I had Chinese herbs to help too. But I think what you are saying is that Kapha was the culprit. So when you say “manage” it, what do you mean? Go to the kapha diet and work from that until you feel better?

    • Monica says:

      LOL Karen. I love that your mind, she is BLOWN. So funny. Anywho, YES! When I say “manage” it, I mean switch to managing the dosha that is out of whack regardless of if it’s your prakruti (natural dosha combination) or not. A simple example is when a pitta person gets a stuffy nose and congestion. Ginger tea and spicy soups do great to break that up. We are managing the kapha that has increased and we are not worrying that ginger and spicy soups might be too hot for our pitta selves. The likelihood that you will increase pitta is slim because a) your remedies are short lived until you get back to balance and b) because pita is being “hidden” by kapha for the moment. Make good sense? So YES, go to your kapha diet until you feel like yourself again! :) xoxo

  6. Pieter says:

    I have been following your posts, excellent article again.

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