Prakrithi/ Constitution: A Unique Way of Determining a Body Type

Prakrithi/ Constitution: A Unique Way of Determining a Body Type

Blog written by: Dr Anju Balakrishnan

Praktithi/ Constitution of an individual denotes the physical, physiological and psychological traits of the individual, like lifestyle, nature, digestion, excretion, mood etc. It is one of the basic clinical tools to determine diet, lifestyle and treatment. It is a unique way of determining a body type for an individual.

It is the basic theory and practice of Ayurveda, where human beings are classified into three dosha’s (i.e., Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and their mixed constitutional types. Understanding and assessment of prakrithi are among the most important parts of Ayurvedic theory and practice.

Many studies regarding the principles for assessing prakrithi have been carried out. Various tools and software have been tested for their reliability. Tools in the form of questionnaires were framed with different answering options. A comprehensive prakrithi assessment model has been developed by CCRAS (Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences) by testing on healthy volunteers. Each question is important and ultimately contributes to the tool, and software like Ayusoft and TNMC is also used.

In total, there is 7 Sharirika prakrithi/ constitution that is mentioned in Ayurveda. They are vata, pitta, kapha, vata pitta, pitta kapha, kapha vata and tridosha.

There are specific characteristics for each dosha. Questionnaires will be prepared based on these characteristics like body frame, weight, skin texture, hair quality, body temperature, eyes, tongue, teeth, gums, nails, appetite, bowel, energy level, speech, sleep, dreams, sensitivity, faeces, urine, sweating, body odour, immunity, mental factors including emotions, various physiological traits (helpful, caring, kind, friendship, money factors etc.).

Vata characteristics

  • Very slim, boney, find difficulty to gain weight
  • Hair will be rough, curly or break easily
  • Skin will be very dry
  • Tend to  move, talk and eat quickly
  • Dislike cold, dry climate, often feel cold
  • Appetite will be irregular, and often end up in constipation
  • Prefer warm and sweet foods
  • Sleep patterns are often disturbed. Dreams of flying, floating and feeling helpless.
  • Very enthusiastic
  • Tends to feel nervous, anxious, fearful and insecure
  • The nervous system and mental/emotional disorders are common

Pitta characteristics

  • Medium built with a soft and warm touch.
  • Hair will be straight, fine and thin.
  • Have high metabolism
  • Heart diseases, high blood pressure, and hyperacidity are common.
  • Dislike hot climates.
  • Likes more bitter and astringent tastes (coffee, chocolate, beer)
  • Tend to have a sound sleep
  • Dreams of adventure, violence
  • Communication will be aggressive or argumentative

Kapha characteristics

  • Well-nourished body. Gain weight easily
  • Skin will be moist with a good complexion
  • Abundant body hair
  • Activities, walking and talking are slow
  • Not attracted to sweet or dairy products
  • Digestion & evacuation are slow
  • Dislike cold and cloudy weather
  • Need a lot of sleep
  • Often calm, relaxed, and not very talkative
  • Have excellent memory
  • Well organized person

These are the few vital points for the prakrithi assessment. Prakrithi assessment helps to know about your body and its requirements by which one can maintain optimal health. It helps in the selection of each and every factor like diet and lifestyle for healthy living.

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