There are four aspects of the body that need to be kept in balance in order to maintain good health—these are the doshas, the dhatus, malas, and agni.
A system of balance
Ayurveda teaches that the central principle of health is balance. Each of the four components here must be in a state of harmony—neither too strong nor too weak—for the body to remain healthy. This provides vitality by allowing greater capacity for prana (life energy required for all of the body’s functions), and immunity from disease.
1. DOSHAS (energies)
The three doshas are energies present within the body and mind. Maintaining the balance of each dosha allows the body systems to work effectively.
- Vata is the force of movement, activity, and sensation.
- Pitta is the source of all transformative processes.
- Kapha is the body’s strength and stability.
2. DHATUS (tissues)
The seven dhatus are the tissues that make up the body’s physical form. Healthy dhatus allows the body to produce ojas, a form of energy that helps the body support prana (vital energy) and protects the tissues from damage.
3. AGNI (fire)
The main form of agni is the body’s digestive fire. Healthy agni allows food to be digested so that strong tissues can be formed. It also prevents the buildup of ama, undigested food that acts as a toxin and leads to disease.
4. MALAS (waste)
The body’s excretions—urine, stool, and sweat—are called malas. Passing them in a timely manner helps keep the body balanced, as otherwise they build up and can cause disease.