top of page

Five Great Elements (Pancha Mahabuhta) and The Doshas


According to Ayurvedic philosophy, the entire cosmos is an interplay of the five great elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. Various arrangements and combinations of these elements create everything in the universe (the macrocosm), including the human body (the microcosm). Ayurveda theory combines the five elements together into three pairs, calling them doshas. Dosha literally translates as "that which can be aggravated", but it's easier to understand that dosha describes two things. First, they identify which elemental characteristics govern certain biological functions in the human body. Second, they identify the unique composition of the individuals mind-body-personality type.

Here's how the five great elements pair up:

  • Ether + Air elements = Vata dosha.

Vata represents MOVEMENT in the biological body. For example, the nerves transmit signals in the nervous system, the respiratory system moves air in and out of the body and the blood circulates to and from the heart. Some traits of a Vata mind-body-personality type are: they are creative thinkers (mind) - they have lighter skeletal frame (body) - they love to travel and be on the go (personality).

Hot Air Balloons
  • Fire + Water elements = Pitta dosha.

Pitta represents TRANSFORMATION in the biological body. For example, the digestion and metabolism of food into smaller particles to nourish the body. Some traits of a Pitta mind-body-personality type are: they are sharp, clear thinkers (mind) - they have a more muscular look (body) - they are well organised, ambitious and are natural leaders (personality).


  • Earth + Water elements = Kapha dosha.

Kapha represents STRUCTURE and stability in the biological body. For example, the internal organs, the fascia and joint lubrications. Some traits of a Kapha mind-body-personality type are: they have a stable temperament and reliable long term memory (mind) - they have good stamina and a robust physiology (body) - they are reliable and nurturing (personality).

bottom of page