Keywords Subdoshas: Ayurveda divides each of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – into five subdoshas. The doshas perform different functions in different places in the body as well as in the psyche. The therapy starts holistically and individually with the doshas and subdoshas.
Ayurveda divides each of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha – into five subdoshas. The doshas perform very different functions in different places in the body as well as in the psyche. From this, Vata, Pitta and Kapha result in five different places of action and functions with different names. It is important for the Ayurveda doctor or naturopathic practitioner to know well these modes of operation and, depending on the symptoms or illness, to determine them precisely using Ayurvedic diagnosis. The therapy starts holistically and individually at this key point. The decisive subdosha is treated by appropriate Ayurvedic measures or medicinal herbs and positively re-tuned so that healing can take place from within.
The subdoshas of Vata, Pitta, Kapha
The subdoshas of Vata
Vata carries out all movements and sets mental and physical activities in motion. It is responsible for breathing, heart function, metabolism, stimulation of Agni, excretion, sensory perception, communication, creativity, joy, enthusiasm, it controls the mind and moves feelings and nerve impulses. The five Vata subspecies are:
Prana is the life force in the body. It is the first movement and manifestation of cosmic intelligence. We take in Prana through breathing and natural foods and deliver it to the cells and organs through the nadis (meridians). The other Vata systems emerge from the Prana.
Prana is active in the head and moves downwards and inwards. It is the energy that carries oxygen to the lungs.
On a physical level, the main seat of Prana is in the head, nose, tongue, throat, pharynx, throat and chest.
Motionless prana is pure awareness. As soon as prana begins to move, it becomes perception. Perception turns it into sensation, then into feelings, into thoughts and into emotions. All emotions come from thinking. Emotions, feelings and consciousness are parts of the mind (chitta) that is moved by prana. When the mind is pure, the flow of prana is pure. If the thinking is characterized by fear, anxiety, anger, rage or hatred, then negative energy will move through the body, which “pollutes” the body and makes it sick in the long run. When thinking is improved and the mind controlled, the flow becomes clear and the energy becomes positive.
Prana enables concentration, mental activity and intelligence. Intelligent people, people with a strong will and strong nerves, have strong prana. People with weak nerves, fears, worries, a lot of thoughts, concentration and memory disorders, delusional ideas, sleep disorders have a weak prana.
A disorder of Prana can lead to palpitations, shortness of breath, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, asthma, bronchitis, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Pranayama is a very helpful and efficient therapy that keeps the flow of Prana moving, calms breath, mind and emotions and strengthens the nervous system.
Udana is the energy that moves from below upwards. The main seat and sphere of activity of Udana is in the navel and extends from the diaphragm to the chest, the lungs, bronchi, trachea and neck. Udana is responsible for exhaling. It enables speaking and singing and expressing yourself. Other functions of Udana are coughing, transporting the mucus in the bronchi and throat upwards and outwards, and clearing the mucus from the nose and sinuses. Udana sets processes in motion and is responsible for resistance to diseases (Bala). Udana stimulates the memory, ensures good memories and expresses thoughts, ideas and feelings.
A disorder of Udana can lead to the following symptoms: Speech disorders, stuttering, hoarseness, swallowing difficulties, thyroid disorders, bronchial problems, asthma, pneumonia, neck tension, cervical vertebrae blockages.
Weak or suppressed Udana-Vata can lead to emotional stress in the throat area, such as a shaky, hoarse voice, dry throat, “throat constriction”, or even to attachment, depression and confusion.
Pranayama helps to strengthen the Udana and to bring the life energy back into flow. Nasya (nasal treatment with medicated oils, powders, ghee, etc.) helps especially with chronic complaints such as sinus infections, diseases of the respiratory tract, chronic rhinitis, cervical spine syndrome, headaches.
Samana-Vata controls the digestion, splitting and absorption of food. The headquarters of Samana is in the feeder canal and small intestine. It ensures movement and transport of nutrients and stimulates the digestive juices. Samana is closely related to Agni, the digestive fire, and fuels the fire (Agni) like a bellows. Hunger is generated by Samana-Vata, which prompts us to eat.
Samana-Vata is also located in the sweat- (Sveda-vaha-srotas) and fluid-carrying channels (Udaka-vaha-srotas), where it ensures their movement and regulation.
A disorder of Samana leads to loss of appetite, bloating, indigestion, gas, cramps, meteorism, nervous gastrointestinal problems, poor digestion, poor absorption and utilization of food.
A weak Samana vata leads to sluggish digestion.
Too strong a Samana manifests itself in flatulence, stomach and intestinal cramps and diarrhea. If the Samana-Vata is imbalanced by emotions, we perceive a queasy feeling in the stomach. For example, if you are very excited or nervous, you have to go to the toilet more often or get diarrhea.
Pranayama calms the nervous system and relieves cramps and blockages in the gastrointestinal tract.
Diet: For a balanced Samana-Vata, food should be freshly prepared and eaten warm. Eating should be done in a nice place and in peace. It should be chewed well and be of moderate quantity, not too much and not too little. After eating, you should feel comfortable standing, sitting, lying, walking, breathing, laughing and talking, recommends Caraka. The food should be regional, seasonal, organic, fresh and prepared with love. Through these measures high quality food is consumed, digestion and metabolism (Agni) are stimulated, the food can be metabolized well and made available to the body tissues.
Apana is the energy that moves down and out. The Apana-Vata extends from the navel to the lower abdomen. It is located in the pelvis, colon, rectum, bladder, kidneys, genital organs, uterus and prostate. Its tasks are to remove waste from the body: stool, flatulence, urine, menstrual blood and semen. In women, Apana promotes ovulation, nourishes the fetus and induces childbirth at the end of pregnancy. In men, it moves the sperm and activates sexual desire. The Apana-Vata is responsible for conception by bringing the sperm and egg together.
If the apana is weak, pregnancy cannot take place. A disorder of Apana-Vata leads to constipation or diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, irritable bladder, bladder and kidney diseases, incontinence, prostate problems, menstrual cramps, fibroids, cysts, uterine subsidence, sexual disorders, hip osteoarthritis, all kinds of pelvic and hip problems, pain in the Lumbar region, varicose veins.
On the psychological level, a balanced Apana-Vata leads to serenity and a letting go of feelings. A weak or overactive apana leads to internal tension, worry, compulsiveness, attachment, to an exaggerated feeling of security, impatience, anger, anxiety or fear of missing out on something.
Meditation helps to relax and let go of troubled feelings and circling thoughts.
Pranayama balances the Apana and strengthens the nervous system.
Diet as with Samana Vata.
Panchakarma cure (= classic Ayurvedic drainage and cleansing system with applications such as purging, cleansing herbal intestinal enemas or nourishing intestinal enemas, leech therapies, etc.) is particularly helpful for chronic diseases caused by a disturbed Apana-Vata.
Vyana-Vata is distributed all over the body. It distributes the energy from the inside out. The seat of Vyana-Vata is in the heart. It flows through the whole body and maintains the arterial and venous blood and lymph circulation. The main functions of Vyana-Vata are control of the heart rhythm, distribution of blood, regulation of blood pressure, as well as the voluntary movement of the skeletal muscles and joints. All reflex actions are directed by the energy of Vyana. If Vyana-Vata is disturbed, this can lead to cardiovascular diseases, high or low blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, circulatory disorders, vascular diseases, Raynaud’s syndrome and edema.
Diet as with Samana-Vata, especially regular and light meals in the evening are important for a balanced Vyana-Vata.
Exercise and appropriate sports support good circulation and blood flow.
Meditation, pranayama, yoga harmonize Vyana-Vata as well as the nervous and circulatory system.
…..to be continued
Caraka Saṃhita, (CS). (2018 reprint). Vimanasthana (Vi), Vol. II, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India
Lad, Vasant. (2012). Ayurveda textbook, Vol. 1, Narayana PH
Schrott, Schachinger. (2005). Handbook Ayurveda, Haug PH
Sabine Anliker, Naturopath with federal diploma, Diploma in Ayurvedic Medicine MSc in Ayurveda Medicine
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