Doshas (Body Types)

In Ayurveda, identifying a person’s body type, also called dosha, is one of the ways a practitioner helps determine how to help a client achieve optimal health and peace of mind.  This is done using many traditional techniques to see where a person is currently both in and out of balance.  Perhaps the most obvious way to get a basic idea of your dominant body type, is to look at these general characteristics below.  (You may  take the quiz.) We each have every dosha in us, only in different amounts.  So don’t be surprised if you find an aspect of yourself under each set of dosha characteristics.  There can be one, two, and more rarely, three dominant body types.



  • Controls: All motion – breathing, circulation, elimination, and the flow of nerve impulses to and from the brain
  • Elements: Air and space (ether)
  • Qualities: Dry, light, quick, cold, subtle, thin, rough
  • Personality: Fast speaking and fast moving, creative & energetic
  • Physical challenges: Often constipation, gas, dry skin
  • Emotional challenges: Anxiety, fear, worry, overwhelm
  • Body characteristics: Often thin with narrow frame, long neck and bones


  • Controls: Digestion and metabolism – the processing of food, air and water throughout the body
  • Elements: Fire and water
  • Qualities: Hot, oily, sharp, acidic, fluid, and intense by nature
  • Personality: Focused, energetic, intense, visionary
  • Physical challenges: Heartburn, skin rashes, weak liver, loose stool
  • Emotional challenges: Anger, critical, jealousy, cynical
  • Body characteristics: Moderate frame, athletic, good musculature


  • Controls: Structure and fluid balance – forming muscle, fat, bone and sinew
  • Elements: Water and earth
  • Qualities: Heavy, solid, cold, soft, sweet, steady, moist, and slow by nature
  • Personality: Slow speaking, slow moving, consistent & dependable
  • Physical challenges: Water retention, prone to mucousy lungs and sinuses
  • Emotional challenges: Over attachment, greediness, lethargy, depression
  • Body characteristics: Heavy, good musculature, short neck, large bones