• Dr.Jeevan.E.P

Prakrti- Constitution

Updated: May 31, 2019

From birth to death each possess an individual biological blue print, termed Prakrti in Ayurveda.The specific predominance of elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) composing our being since birth determines our unique psycho - physiological tendencies. Determining one`s Prakrti is the effective - preventive & curative health care. It creates an awareness of one`s own fundamental nature, initiating an inward journey of self- discovery and acceptance. This wisdom guides you to understand the most suitable daily routine, nutrition and therapies to bring us to a state of optimum health and longevity. Each one of us posses all the three, but the proportion varies according to the individual . According to Ashtanga hrdaya there are seven types of constitution. Typical Vata, Pitta and Kapha which are usually rare. Then the mixed types like Vata Pitta, Kapha Pitta and Kapha Vata which are usually seen. Then the seventh with all the Doshas are in balance which is very rare to occur.

Prakrti is formed not only by your dominant doshas, but by genetic factors, the condition of the uterus, nutrition, and lifestyle of the mother, and the five elements (panchamahabhutas) that make up the fetus.

Psychologists are now convinced that the experiences of the mother will influence the personality of her future child – and that these influences are even more vital and significant for a child than the events of infancy.

In this respect, prakrti has a genetic aspect, which is determined at the time of conception, as well as an acquired aspect determined by the mother’s experiences.

Prakrti cannot be changed. There is no treatment directly to Prakrti. Prakrti is only for understanding the routines to avoid diseases which is called in Sanskrit as vikrti. Vikrti is the only thing which can be treated. Vikrti is the imbalance of doshas that which is coming from our activities and food.

By understanding Prakrti, the disease condition (Vikrti) can be prognosed. That means a Prakrti is getting the same type of disease (Vikrti) is difficult to cure.

Your prakrti, or constitution, determines your susceptibility to different diseases, the course and patterns that these diseases will follow, plus any complications that may arise and – of course – the prognosis of the disease. In addition to this, prakrti helps to explain your responses to treatments.

For all these reasons, prakrti is fundamental to Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment, and is always first on the list of things for the Ayurvedic physician to examine.

Concept of Prakruti and Vikruti

According to Ayurveda, your basic constitution is determined at the time of conception. This constitution is called Prakruti. The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that means, "nature," "creativity," or "the first creation." One of the very important concepts of Ayurveda is that one's basic constitution is fixed throughout his lifetime. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that was present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. This is your base point. Notice that different persons can have different combination of Vata, Pitta and kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. This is how Ayurveda can explain the subtle differences between individuals and explains why everyone is unique and that two persons can react very differently when exposed to the same environment or stimuli. Your Prakruti is unique to you just as your fingerprint and DNA. Thus, in order to understand a person, it is necessary to determine his or her Prakruti.

Ideally, your constitution remains fixed throughout your life. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Every person is subjected to the constant interaction with his or her environment, which will affect the person's constitution at any time. The body will try to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or balance with the environment. Your current condition is called your vikruti. Although it reflects your ability to adjust to life's influences and is always changing, it should match your prakruti, or inborn constitution, as closely as possible. If the current proportion of your doshas differs significantly from your constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances, which in turn can lead to illness. Farther your Vikruti is from your Prakruti, more ill you are. Ayurveda teaches that your Vikruti can be changed by means of diet and meditation so as to approach your Prakruti or the state where you have perfect health.

The concept of Prakruti and Vikruti can be illustrated by reference to our body temperature. When healthy, we maintain an average body temperature of about 98 degrees. Although, different persons can have different base temperatures, it does not change much so long as the person is healthy. When we go outside on a winter day, our body temperature may go down slightly; but will pick right back up to the normal if we are healthy. Similarly, jogging on a hot day can temporarily raise our body temperature. When we are sick, or catch a cold, our body temperature will go up. This indicates that we are sick or outside our normal base condition. We may take medicine to bring the body temperature back to the normal range. In analogy to Ayurveda, our present temperature may be considered as Vikruti and the difference between the Prakruti (our normal temperature) and Vikruti (our present temperature) can determine whether any medical intervention is required. Just like an allopathic doctor will take your temperature and blood pressure routinely as the first step in diagnosing your condition, Ayurvedic practitioners will determine your Prakruti and Vikruti as the first step in diagnosing your condition.

Hence prior to embarking on a journey to perfect health and longevity, it is important that you understand your Prakruti and Vikruti and determine how far separated these are. Armed with this knowledge, we can map a treatment strategy

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