n a living body the five basic elements form different complex body constituents to maintain the complex functions. According to Ayurveda, the constituents particularly important are the three doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is formed mainly from space and air. It is the force responsible for movement and control. It is mainly involved in nerve impulses, circulation and movement of muscles and joints. Pitta is derived from fire and water. It is the force that brings transformations in our body. Enzymes and hormones are abundant in pitta. Digestion of food, vision, cognitive processing, etc are functions of pitta. Kapha is derived from water and earth; it provides lubrication and maintains the body.
In short, vata provides kinetic energy, kapha potential energy and pitta transforms one to other. Vata is depleting, kapha is nourishing, pitta balances. So it is clear that they are performing complex functions and a balance between them is necessary to maintain health. Dosha is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘err’. Doshas can be imbalanced easily, that is why they have got that name. In order to maintain health doshas should be of optimum quantity and quality. Clinically, Ayurveda mainly concentrates on the level of doshas and to correct the imbalances. There are other constituents of body like digestive fire (agni), tissues, waste materials, channels, ojas (essence of body) which are also needed to be in balance to maintain health. But doshas superimpose others and have an important role in maintaining the health of other body constituents as well.