In a living being, when the five elements combine to become forces that help a living being ‘live’ then these forces are known as doshas. Air and space combined to form the force of Vata which is responsible for all movement in the body and it governs mainly all nervous functions. There are 80 kinds of possible disturbances due to Vata. Pain, stiffness, paralysis, hypertension, heart disease - all these are caused by Vata. Fire and water combine to form the force of Pitta. Pitta governs mainly enzymes and hormones. Pitta is also responsible for digestion, pigmentation, body temperature, hunger, thirst, sight, courage etc. There are 40 kinds of possible disturbances due to Pitta. Burning sensations, excessive body temperature, blue moles, jaundice, and pharyngitis are examples of disorders caused by Pitta. Water and earth combine to form the force of Kapha. Kapha regulates the other two. Kapha is responsible for the connections of joints, the solid nature of the body and its sustenance, sexual power, strength, patience etc. Among the 20 possible disturbances due to Kapha are anorexia nervosa, laziness, mucus expectoration, hardening of vessels, obesity, suppression of digestive power, etc.
In Ayurveda, we not only recognize these forces (the Tridoshas) but we also learn to harness them and develop an optimum food and lifestyle program that balances the three doshas. When doshas are in balance the individual is disease free and when in imbalance - disease begins to grow.