doshas

The Three Doshas and the Mind in Ayurveda

By Sarah Moore May 7, 2018

We are able to draw parallels of the metaphorical illustration from the Bhagavad Gita with Krishna and Arjuna riding in a chariot to the ways in which the subdoshas relate to the mind.

In the illustration, Atma is the owner of the chariot, the chariot is the Body, the driver is Buddhi, the reins Mind, and horses Indriyas.

To an effect, all the Vata subdoshas associated with mind (Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu, Vyana Vayu and Apana Vayu) are linked with all these layers of existence: Atma, Mind, Buddhi, Body and Indriyas. Prana Vayu located in the head, where the Sahasrira Chakra resides, is all pervading. It is the life force, (Atma), it governs all movements (body), the link between body and mind (Buddhi), makes decisions and actions happen (Mind), and controls senses, indriyas (horses).

Udana Vayu resides in the throat, with the Vishuddha Chakra. It governs expression of emotions (Mind and Buddhi). Vyana Vayu lives in the heart, it holds the Mind (Reins) and keeps the Body (Chariot) moving at an even pace, connecting the Mind and Body. If a wheel is broken, the chariot cannot roll forward; likewise if there is no connection of mind to body the horses will cease, they will have no direction. Apana Vayu is seated in the pelvic region, with Svadhisthana Chakra, it is related mainly in a physical way as it is responsible for shedding waste product, it keeps the Body (Chariot) clean of waste so it can continue functioning properly, so our body (the chariot) is not weighed down by waste product—physical or emotional. If the chariot is weighed down, or Apana vayu is blocked—physically or emotionally—it affects emotions, that is, the mind.

Subdoshas affected by the Mind and vice versa

Vata: Prana, Udana, Vyana and Apana (Atma, Mind, Body)
Pitta: Sadhaka (Buddhi)
Kapha: Avalambaka, Tarpaka (Body)

The Pitta subdosha associated to the mind is Sadhaka Pitta. This subdosha of Pitta resides in the heart with Anahata Chakra, which is the home of the mind in Ayurveda; it also resides in the head or brain as grey matter with Sahasrira Chakra. It is responsible for turning sensations, actuality, truth and reality into feelings and memory, it realizes the I am in Ego. Prana Vayu is closely related to Sadhaka Pitta, together they record emotions that create the intellect, which is then stored in the brain by Tarpaka Kapha (subdosha of Kapha that resides in the head as white matter and in the myelin sheath). Prana Vayu carries the emotions to Sadhaka Pitta and writes or imprints it on Sadhaka Pitta’s grey matter, then Tarpaka Kapha holds that information in white matter. Sadhaka Pitta develops information or intellect (buddhi and driver) from the indriyas (the horses). Sadhaka pitta is the Intellect. It metabolizes information from the Indriyas (horses) to make knowledge, which is the Intellect, Buddhi (driver).

The Kapha subdoshas associated with the mind are Avalambaka Kapha and Tarpaka Kapha. Avalambaka Kapha resides in the heart. It nourishes the cardiovascular organs (body or chariot) and holdw emotions (Buddhi or Driver). It hugs the heart and lunges with nourishment, support, love and compassion, so the mind, intellect, body and atma has courage to move forward. Without Avalambaka Kapha our emotions cannot be carried by Vata to Sadhaka Pitta for metabolization. The lungs can become a seat for negative tamasik emotions of sadness, grief and depression, which can affect the mind, body, intellect and atma. Without Avalambaka Kapha we dry up in the cardiovascular area, we cannot feel compassion or love, only tamasik tendencies—this can be shown in diseases such as bronchitis or asthma.

Tarpaka Kapha is seated in the brain as white matter and seated in the myelin sheath, which is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It is responsible for subconscious thinking, emotions and memory—as mentioned above, it stores and records emotions, experiences, etc. metabolized by Sadhaka Pitta, provided by Vata. It stores protective memories that control our reactive impulses—it nourishes and provides information to Buddhi (the driver) that helps direct oneself in a safe way, such as learning from one’s mistakes or other’s mistakes through the indriyas (horses), so the Buddhi or Driver can control and steer its chariot and owner (Body and Atma) in a safe way along its physical life journey.

--Sarah Moore is studying Ayurveda Counselor from Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy.--

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