As a follow-on to last week’s post introducing the Concept of Ayurveda, we can begin to answer this question by introducing the Doshas – a concept with no exact parallel in the English language. The Doshas are sometimes translated as the “humours” of the body, and though I find this translation severely limited, there really is not an exact parallel in the English language.
One of my Ayurvedic masters explained them as the “software” of the physiological body with three components: Vata, Pitta, and Kappa; and our "hardware" is various solid tissues (blood, muscle, bone, etc.) .
The proportion and balance of these three Doshas is unique to the individual, and you can think of them roughly as your mind-body constitution, how you are wired/programmed as a system. When these three are in balance (this balance is particular to your personal constitution) you experience health and happiness, and when not in balance you get your illness and sorrow.
The Tri-Dosha Series is designed for overall system health and facilitates your ability to engender and maintain the balance that is appropriate for your system. How does it do this? The short answer is, that I don’t know and I am unashamed to say so. There is a perfectly good reason for this: 1/ the western scientific approach to medicine itself has no idea how some medicines work – they only have observed in controlled settings that they do work. And no one can seem to explain why placebos work either. 2/ You can experience something as true for yourself without proving it true, and to illustrate this point I will point out that you have know you have consciousness, but you cannot prove that fact, nor can you accurately explain what it is. You simply experience it as true.
The Tri-Dosha series was handed down to me by a guru of the Shaivite Agamas and Tantras, one of the oldest extant traditions still taught in India today. Within this cultural and historical context, it has proven its merit over the course of ages. Further, I have experienced it to be true for myself. My experience may indeed be quite different from yours, but it is based on this authority that I share this knowledge.
What I can say is that the Tri-Dosha Series is a complete Hatha Yoga sequence – it includes the physical postures, as well as meditation, pranayama, and many other aspects (relax, you don’t need to know how to do any of it, it happens naturally). Over the course of the sequence a transformation takes place within the body-mind leaving you completely relaxed, yet full of energy. I won’t get too technical, nor will I draw direct connections, but it is through this process that this asana series balances the three Doshas.
Next week I’ll begin outlining the three Doshas in more detail by introducing the 5 Great Elements that comprise existence and that give form and function to the Doshas. In the meantime, why don’t you Tri-Dosha? Everyone else has 😉