According to Ayurvedic science, the body is a combination of three doshas, or "energies." These doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. Every individual has one dosha that is more dominant than the others, depending on the prakriti, or "natural constitution," of the person. Factors that influence the doshas include age, diet and climate.
Yoga practice can influence the balance of the three doshas. Choosing the right poses based on personal constitution can help practitioners maximize the health benefits of yoga. The vata dosha governs the nervous system, so those with vata constitution should practice yoga poses that promote calm. The pitta dosha governs digestion and organ function, so those with pitta constitution should practice yoga poses that are cooling. Kapha dosha governs body fluids and the movement of nutrients, so those with kapha constitution should practice stimulating yoga poses.
"Charaka Samhita," "Ashtanga Hrudaya" and "Sushruta Samhita" are the three most prominent ancient texts on Ayurveda. They elaborate on the five-element system and the importance of balance in a healthy life.