How Your Emotional State Relates to the Ayurvedic Doshas

woman covering her eyes with hands

Ayurveda is the science of life. It is a holistic form of wellness that uses natural, earth-based wisdom to promote individual balance and health. Ayurveda teaches that there are three universal intelligences at work in the macrocosm of the universe and in the microcosm of our bodies. These intelligences are called the doshas. The doshas are made up of a combination of the five great elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. These five elements tend to group together into pairs that create the doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.


Vata is likened to the combination of air and ether; it is light, dry, cold, and changeable. It rules everything in the body and the universe that has to do with movement, transportation, and communication. Our speech, for example, is ruled by Vata dosha as is the motion of our intestines during peristalsis.


Pitta is the combination of the fire element with a bit of moisture. It is the intelligence that governs everything that transforms, digests, and metabolizes. It governs all that transforms in our bodies; the enzymatic action of the stomach, the power of our sight, and our metabolism are some of the areas of the body ruled by Pitta dosha.


Kapha dosha is likened to earth and water. It is heavy, cool, and stable. It rules our immunity, our strength, and our stability. Kapha dosha also rules the watery places in the body, the lining of the stomach, and the inside of the mouth, as well as our overall strength and immune system.

Understanding Your Emotional Ama

The doshas, however, do not just impact your physical body. The doshas are intelligences that rule all aspects of your mind, body, and emotions. In this way, you can see that your emotional states are likewise determined by the doshas. You can describe, analyze, and witness your emotional states in terms of the doshas.

This process allows you to process and digest your emotions. Ayurveda teaches that the result of anything undigested is ama, a thick toxic sludge that clogs up your vital channels. Just as food can remain undigested in the gut and cause ama, undigested, unprocessed emotions can also cause emotional ama. The result of this ama is repressed anger, sorrow, depression, and anxiety. The wisdom of Ayurveda can provide you with the keys to understand your emotions.

You can think of the qualities of the doshas as having balanced and unbalanced characteristics. Vata, when in balance in the body, will result in great elimination. When it is out of balance, however, you may experience a loose stool or constipation. Similarly, you can understand the emotional aspects of the doshas as having qualities that are in and out of balance.

Your Emotions & Vata Dosha

When in balance, Vata dosha will express itself as balanced enthusiasm and energy. The expression will be clear-minded, quick-witted, and supportive. When out of balance, Vata dosha will express itself emotionally as anxiety, fear, or being overwhelmed. You may become “spaced out,” flighty, indecisive, unaware, or unfocused. This is because your mind and emotions are experiencing the negative qualities of space and ether; too unfocused and spacey.

Solving for Vata

Vata dosha needs nurturing. You can calm your anxiety with awareness and meditation. If experiencing Vata emotions, you should ensure you are getting adequate rest. You can also perform a daily self-massage with warm sesame oil. Because Vata is irregular in nature, you can tame Vata by establishing a regular routine and sticking to it.

Eating warm, well-cooked, and slightly rich homemade and home-cooked foods are very nurturing to Vata. Since the salty taste is Vata pacifying (it is made of the elements of water and fire, is hot heavy, and moist by nature), you can take foods with a slightly salty taste, such as seaweed.

Someone with Vata emotions should reduce bitter flavors as they’re made of air and ether, and this flavor increases Vata dosha in the body. Other remedies that can pacify Vata emotions include the Ayurvedic practice of a shirodhara, daily meditation, and nadi-shodana pranayama. It is also a good idea to seek out people who are warm, grounding, supportive and nurturing.

Your Emotions & Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha is like a fire (with a little moisture). The qualities of Pitta dosha are hot, penetrating, and intense. When in balance, Pitta will result in strong digestion. When out of balance, you may experience hot flashes, night sweats, or rashes. With a balanced Pitta emotion, you will be more generous, cheerful, humanitarian, successful, and be a visionary. Pitta dosha can also make you quite eloquent. When out of balance, Pitta dosha can make you irritable, frustrated, angry, aggressive, overly focused on goals, controlling, manipulative, and self-centered. It can also express in arrogance.

Solving for Pitta

Pitta dosha needs love. To placate Pitta emotions, you must get adequate rest. You can also cool off with a daily oil massage with sunflower oil. Because hot and spicy foods increase hot-headedness, you should avoid foods that are very pungent, vinegary, or acid-producing, like tomatoes and beef. Instead, if you are experiencing a great deal of Pitta dosha, you can favor bitter taste for its cooling energy. Foods like massaged kale and green juices are very pacifying to Pitta dosha. Rosewater sprays or rose petal jams (an Ayurvedic concoction) are very useful in soothing feelings of irritation.

It is also important to complete a daily meditation and to stop overworking and overdoing. To reduce the emotions of Pitta dosha, you can do a cooling pranayam (breathing technique) like sitali pranayama. It is also important to slow the pace of your speech and thoughts. A good remedy is to take a retreat day each week wherein you plan a day with no schedule, especially if you can spend that day outside in nature. People experiencing Pitta dosha will do well to focus on love and gratitude.

Your Emotions & Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha is like water and earth. It is slow, heavy, difficult to move, and cold. When in balance, Kapha dosha will result in a strong immune system. When out of balance, Kapha dosha will result in weight gain and water retention. Likewise, when emotionally in balance, Kapha dosha will make you joyful, warm, and easy-going. You will be loving and comforting. When out of balance, Kapha dosha will result in feeling lazy, depressed, stuck, unmotivated, attached, and greedy.

Solving for Kapha

Kapha dosha needs to move stuck emotions. Remedies for Kapha emotions include a daily yoga asana practice that is vigorous, warming and creates sweat. Saunas are a great remedy for Kapha dosha. Doing a routine of sipping on hot water can be a wonderful remedy for Kapha dosha as well as taking a lighter diet with spicy, pungent foods and a lot of bitter taste to dry out and heat up the physiology that has become too wet and cold. Kapha dosha people do well to seek out very motivated, successful Pitta types. They also do well to throw out old clothes, books, and clutter.

If you are experiencing Kapha emotions, you should also perform a daily meditation and a heating pranayama practice like Kapalabhati. If you are experiencing Kapha emotions, you can focus on joy. Doing some physical exercise such as a cardiovascular workout or ashtanga yoga every day also helps to move stuck emotions as does travel.

The Process of Emotional Release

Dr. Paul Dugliss is an Ayurvedic practitioner who teaches a process of emotional release that can help you digest your emotions. In this process, he outlines the steps of emotional release.

  1. Become aware of your own emotional field.
  2. Intensify your emotions, bringing them to the center of your awareness.
  3. Identify the root causes of your emotions. What is the belief that is creating this emotion? Or do you have a desire that is creating this emotion?

Having a realization of the root cause of emotion will allow the emotion to shift because the very nature of emotions is to flow. To allow for this emotional flow, you need to understand the root of what is holding the emotion in place. You can then find a way to release the emotion through movement, yoga, sound, artistic or verbal expression, or through subtle energy work.

Becoming aware of the effect of the doshas on your emotions will allow you to witness your own emotional flow and to be less reactive to the emotions of the people around you. Instead of seeing your partner as “angry” you can see that Pitta dosha is out of balance and making them angry. This allows you space to witness emotional patterns rather than compulsively engaging with them.

An Ayurvedic Elixir for Total Rejuvenation

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The Vedic sutras and ayurvedic texts, describe a sacred drink called soma rasa, said to beget eternal life. Soma rasa, also called amrita, is a Sanskrit word meaning “nectar of immortality.’’ Like the legendary “Fountain of Youth,” there are many speculations regarding the origin and location of soma rasa. The mythic stories of soma rasa describe its literal power in the human body. Soma is created internally within natural physiological processes, and harvested externally from plants and herbs. The correct utilization of soma rasa via meditation, diet, ritual, and yoga results in total rejuvenation of the human form.

The tantric systems in India, teach that soma rasa is made from moon’s waters. The moon is sometimes referred to as a cup the gods drink soma from to maintain their immortality. Every evening all the gods dip a finger into the moon-cup and drink the soma until the moon is empty.[i] Rituals described in the Vedic texts, still practiced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, make soma from a plant harvested in the Himalayas. Some researchers theorize this is not the soma plant referred to in the Vedic texts, and believe soma is an unidentified, hallucinogenic plant, that grows in northern India and Nepal.[ii] The 9th Mandela in the Rg Veda, called the Soma Mandela, devotes 114 hymns to the purification of Soma, which is said to bring those who drink it to ecstasy. Other scholars hypothesize that soma is a bhasma, a type of ayurvedic medicine made according to rasashastra.[iii] Rasashastra is a type of alchemy medicine native to India, and involves the purification of metals and gems through a process of alternate heating, cooling, oxidizing and crushing, until a fine pure ash of consumable medicine is left, called a bhasma. Mercury, one of the primary metals used in rasashastra preparations, is thought to make the body perfect. Rasashastra is still practiced today, and takes years of specialized study under a master alchemist. Taking rasashastra preparations from untrained or unknown sources can be dangerous, and possibly life threatening.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika teaches that meditation, specifically a practice called the kechari mudra, where a devotee inverts his tongue to touch the far recesses of his throat, and holds the posture for a period of time, will clear a membrane, and allow the secretion of soma to consistently drip from the sahasrara chakra.[iv] Meditation is taught to perfect the body so the practitioner can focus on gathering his internal winds, and bring the soma from the base of his spine up to the crown of his head, where the sahasrara chakra secretes soma rasa.[v] When soma rasa is secreted, the practitioner will experience bliss and immortality.

In the Sushruta Samhita, a classic Ayurvedic text, soma is described as having several plant origins, extracted in an elaborate ritual, that require building a house made of three chambers, where the center chamber is dedicated for the soma practice. The devotee begins with a series of specific mantras, pricking the bulb of the plant with a golden needle, and collecting its milky substance in a silver vessel, and drinks it. He then experiences soma’s effects over a period of four months, marked by distinct physical changes and practices, that include moving to different chambers for set days, applying and ingesting specific herbs, taking baths, and receiving specific massages. By the end of the fourth month, he is renewed physically, attains mastery over cosmological knowledge, never meets a failure in life, and is infused with divine spirit.[vi]

Soma has both, a metaphysical and physical means of transference. The substance of soma is pure love, and gives waves of bliss through our consciousness when it is ingested or produced. Exposure to the full moon, far away from city lights increases internal soma. It can also be cultivated in healthy lifestyle habits, extracted from plants, and produced in meditation. It requires a level of systemic function to be fully utilized, and therefore, cannot be accessed by sheer whim. Intentional support, facilitated by rejuvenation practices that restore digestive strength and detoxification, enable the extraction and proper assimilation of soma rasa.

Physically, soma is secreted by the glandular system. It is a finite manifestation of our immune system, and life force. The ancient Vedic texts indicate the place of soma secretion is the pineal gland, and some theorize that soma may actually be the powerful antioxidant called melatonin.[vii] As it is consumed, the body’s tissues become more elastic, and regain strength. The heart beats with a youthful vigor, and the mind sharpens. The shared teaching of the soma legend says, that immortality is not living forever, as we understand it, it is having enough physical strength and health, that the body is not an impediment to self-realization. The Vedic texts teach the desire to live forever is only worthy in order to completely actualize one’s full potential. The yogic and ayurvedic practices rejuvenate the body and restore vitality, so that we can ultimately transcend our physical body and reach enlightenment.

Moon’s Soma Drink

This is a drink that enhances soma production within the body and mind. It is best enjoyed after an evening meditation practice while basking under the light of the full moon.


  • ½ C Macadamia Nuts
  • ½ C Brazil Nuts
  • 4 C Purified Water
  • 4 Thai Coconuts
  • 1 T Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Pink Pepper
  • ½ tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1 Vanilla Bean Pod
  • ½ T Shatavari Root Powder


  1. Soak macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts in a bowl with 4 cups of purified water. Strain and discard water.

  2. Put nuts in a high speed blender with 4 more cups of purified water. Blend at a high speed. Strain through a nut milk bag and set aside.

  3. Crack open coconuts and pour coconut water into blender. Scrape out meat and add to blender. Blend at high speed until liquefied.

  4. Add macadamia and Brazil nut milk back into blender with coconut milk.

  5. Slice vanilla bean pod and scrape seeds into a small bowl. Blend into nut milk with the remaining ingredients. Pour into glasses and serve at room temperature.


[i] Cashford, J. (2003). The Moon: myth and image. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.

[ii] Jay, Mike. (1999). Blue Tide: The Search for Soma. New York: Autonomedia,

[iii] Mishra, L. C. (2004). Scientific basis for Ayurvedic therapies. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

[iv] Aiyangar, M. (1949). Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā of Svātmārāma Svāmin ((3d ed.). Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House.

[v] Fenner, Edward. 1(979). Rasyana Sidhhi: Medicine and Alchemy in the Buddhist Tantras. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin.

[vi] Dash, S., Padhy., & Sachidananda. The soma drinker of ancient India: an ethnobotanical retrospection. Journal of Human Ecology, 19-26.

[vii] Bhatnagar, S. S., & Isaacs, D. (2009). Microchakras: innerTuning for psychological well-being. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions.

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