Last Updated: December 2, 2019

Definition - What does Sub-dosha mean?

Within each of the three doshas of Ayurveda, there are five sub-doshas, responsible for overseeing specific actions, organs or emotions. Relative imbalance in these energetic sub-categories tends to be the root cause of illness, disease and ill-health.

According to Ayurveda, doshas are the functional energies that regulate all physiological and psychological characteristics within a person's body and mind. The three primary doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, a unique ratio of which makes up an individual's constitution (Prakriti).

Yogapedia explains Sub-dosha

The five sub-doshas of Vata are:

  1. Prana Vata - governs inhalation, sense perception and movement of the mind.
  2. Udana Vata - governs exhalation, speech, self-expression and movement of the diaphragm.
  3. Samana Vata - governs digestive system and movement of the small intestine.
  4. Vyana Vata - governs circulation, heart rate and movements of the joints and muscles.
  5. Apana Vata - governs downward impulses, such as urination, menstruation and elimination.

The five sub-doshas of Pitta are:

  1. Pachaka Pitta - governs digestion of food into nutrients and waste.
  2. Ranjaka Pitta - governs formation of red blood cells, white blood cells and bile.
  3. Sadhaka Pitta - governs emotions and transforms sensations into feelings. Also responsible for the ego and sense of "I".
  4. Alochaka Pitta - governs visual perception and eye health.
  5. Bharajaka Pitta - governs colour, temperature and complexion of the skin.

The five sub-doshas of Kapha are:

  1. Kledaka Kapha - governs liquefying of food in the initial stages of digestion, and hydrates cells and tissues.
  2. Avalambhaka Kapha - governs lubrication of heart and lungs.
  3. Bodhaka Kapha - governs saliva and perception of taste.
  4. Tarpaka Kapha - governs stability in the nerve cells, and responsible for sense of contentment.
  5. Shleshaka Kapha - governs lubrication of the joints and protects bones from deterioration.
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