The healing system of Ayurveda uses the concept of the three doshas to explain ones constitution or nature. There are many Ayurvedic tests available in books and online that determine your dominant dosha. A lot of these tests say they determine your constitution (prakruti) but they are really helping you determine your current state of imbalance (vikruti). It is important to know the difference between your prakruti and vikruti so you can find a dosha test that will be the most accurate.
What is Prakruti?
Prakruti translates as “nature” or “first creation.” It is your constitution at the time of birth and it does not change throughout your lifetime. Prakruti is determined by the condition of the sperm, ovum, and uterus at the time of conception. It can be affected by the diet and lifestyle of the mother during pregnancy. Each individual has a unique constitution made up of the three doshas in varying degrees.
There are seven types of prakruti. The first three occur when there is a strong predominance of one of the three doshas. These are vata, pitta, and kapha types. The next three are when there is a strong predominance of two doshas creating the vata-pitta, pitta-kapha, or kapha vata constitutions. The last type is vata-pitta-kapha and occurs when there is an equal proportion of the three doshas.
Your prakruti determines your physical and mental characteristics, as well as emotional behavior. It effects which ailments you are more prone to develop if health is not maintained. Ayurvedic healing is effective because it deals with everyone on an individual basis. You need to know your prakruti to determine the correct diet, lifestyle, and healing regimes that are best for you to cure illness and maintain health. Knowing your prakruti helps you understand yourself better and gives you answers as to why you may act and react in a different manner than someone else in a similar situation.
What is Vikruti?
Vikruti is your current state of imbalance of the doshas. Your vikruti changes depending on various internal and external factors. Diet, state of mind, climate, season, and level of stress are just some of the factors that can disturb your natural equilibrium. When the balance of your doshas is disturbed, you are not functioning at your optimum and health can be affected.
Remember, everyone’s balance is different. For example, if you were born with a predominance of kapha, having more kapha than vata and pitta is your balance. Treating the vikruti, in this case, would not mean bringing equal balance to vata-pitta-kapha. You cannot change your prakruti. Ayurveda works with the prakruti to relieve the vikruti.
By assessing the vikruti, one can find out which changes need to be made in their lifestyle to return to a state of health and well-being. Optimal health is when there is an absence of vikruti and one is living in harmony with their prakruti.
Dosha Tests for Finding Your Prakruti and Vikruti
Nearly every Ayurvedic book contains a dosha quiz. When filling out a dosha questionnaire or quiz, it is important first to determine whether the quiz is aimed at identifying your prakruti or your vikruti. It is a common mistake for someone to assess their vikruti thinking that they have just determined their prakruti.
A quiz aimed at identifying your prakruti will ask questions that will make you think back to your childhood because during childhood this is when your nature displays itself clearly. If the questions are all in the present tense, then you are determining your vikruti. It is best to find a dosha quiz that will provide you with the knowledge of both vikruti and prakruti as this is how to determine best what you need to reach optimal health.
Image: Michelle Greene