Prakriti is defined as the state of the individual in its natural form. The human body is made up 5 elements: air, water, earth, fire, ether. The combination of these 5 elements determines the Prakriti of an individual body. These are biological or physiological and physical forces that cater to the metabolic functions and structural compositions of our body. According to ayurveda prakriti is formulated with tridosha at the time of union of sperm and ovum inside the uterus and it remains same throughout the life of an individual. The combinations of 5 elements into the three doshas are: vatta, pitta, and kapha. Vatta is responsible for catabolism. Pitta is responsible for metabolism, good appetite, and digestion. Pitta body type tends to gain weight evenly or on the bottom half. They have soft, lustrous, warm skin. Kapha is responsible for anabolism, solidity and all structures with right amount of body fluid. The earth and water elements meet with kapha. Therefore, kapha unites properties such as heavy, slow and steady but also soft, tough, dense and cold. There are certain factors that affect the formation of prakriti such as:
- Prakriti of sperm,
- Prakriti of ovum,
- Prakriti of uterine cavity,
- Diet of pregnant mother,
- Time/season of conception, and
- Role of panchmabhuta.
Prakriti is an important concept of ayurveda that explains individuality. It expresses unique trait of an individual that is defined by specific and permanent composition of doshas right from birth. There are several types of prakriti shaaririka prakriti (physical constitution) and manasa prakriti (psychological constitution)
Importance of prakriti
- Promotion of health – ayurveda encourages a person to take food and indulge in the activities opposite an individual’s prakriti for a healthy lifestyle.
- Agni status of individual – there are four types of Agni (digestive fire) according prakriti such as: vishmagni in vata prakriti, tikshnagni in pitta prakriti, mandagni in kapha prakriti, samagni in samadosha prakriti
- Diagnoses of disease – prakriti analysis are the first step to be done for diagnosing the strength of the diseased person.
- Prognosis of disease – if the causative dosha of an ailment is same as the prakriti of the diseased person, the disease becomes difficult to cure. Similarly if the vitiated dosha is different from ones prakriti becomes easy to treat.
- Preventive medicine – in ayurveda dinacharya (diurnal regime) and ritucharya (seasonal regime) have been advised on the basis of prakriti ad the person can adopt these regime as per need of prakriti to keep body healthy and dosha in equilibrium state.
According to ayurvedic texts prakriti tells about the susceptibility of an individual to develop particular type of disease throughout his lifetime. Prakriti analysis means tridosha and trienergies of body plays a very important role in diagnosis and treatment.
In summary, prakriti analysis is an important concept in ayurveda to understand the nature and severity of disease, reaction of the body to the drugs, selection of drugs with their doses, prognosis and preventive measures such as diet, diurnal and season regimes. Prakriti emphasizes on the individual and plays an important role in diagnosis.