Wind and Fire:

Vatha and Pitta

"There is no knowledge like self-knowledge". It is true that knowing one's mind body constitution (Dosha) will have a profound effect on one's life with respect to what to pursue and what to avoid. That is why Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, "Your actions are born of and bound by your true nature (Swabhava). That which out of delusion you choose not to do you will end up doing helplessly, propelled by your nature"

What Krishna tells Arjuna in the Gita is applicable even today. People are born with certain qualities and depending on these qualities they are naturally suited to certain kinds of tasks.

We have a combination of the three doshas - Vatha (wind element), Pitta (fire element) and Kapha (earth element). Our innate constitution (Prakriti) is determined at conception, so say the ancient Ayurvedic texts. Due to lifestyle and other factors our Doshas can go out of balance (Vikruthi) causing aggravation of one or more doshas. For example, people in big cities leading a fast paced lifestyle often experience a Vatha aggravation. This manifests as lack of good quality sleep, anxiety, constipation and joint issues. Of all the doshas, Vatha is the easiest to go out of balance. The aggravation of Pitta dosha leads to inflammatory conditions in the body and anger in the mind. Aggravation of Kapha leads to langour in the body and depression in the mind.

Vatha is the mover for all three doshas. The Vatha-Pittha combination is a common dosha combination found in people, as opposed to people who have a more or less balanced combination of all three doshas (tri-doshic). In this article I aim to go into some of the strengths of this dosha combination, when the constituents are in balance and also the weakness when they get aggravated.

The ancient texts on Ayurveda say that the Vatha Pitta dosha combination is indeed a very powerful combination that "can move mountains" when in balance. What it means is that Vatha provides the initiative to do things while Pitta provides the intensity to continue and finish tasks. Like a home forced air furnace that uses air and fire to keep the home warm in winter, a pacified Vatha-Pitta dosha can work wonders.

Fig. A balanced Vatha- Pittha dosha is akin to a home forced air furnace

On the other hand, when the Vatha and Pitta are out of balance, it can wreak havoc on one's body and mind like a forest fire, resulting in a spiral toward self destruction. It results in what is called a "Vishama agni", or toxic fire, in the body. Vatha's insatiable restlessness that propels the fire generated by the Pitta can cause one to overwork and push oneself relentlessly to the point of physical and mental breakdown.

For, all the reasons mentioned above, one should keep an eye on one's doshas and make sure they are not aggravated and if they are, take measures to pacify them with suitable dietary and lifestyle changes.