Prakriti / Prakruti
The Ayurvedic notion of body-typing or constitution-typing is represented in the term prakriti. Did you know prakriti means the natural condition or state of anything, nature, natural form? It's philosophical roots in Sankhya are as the original source of the material creation. It's verbal root kr = to make or to do and its prefix pra = forward, forth, in front, onward, before, away, etc. evokes thoughts of first cause or first action. Thus when in Ayurveda we talk about our prakriti we are talking about our roots in something primal. At the material level of creation this is the DNA/RNA complex but at a deeper level of reality this is our very Consciousness. This term also has a ring of permanence to it. Consciousness is eternal and we think of our DNA as permanent for life--DNA is symbolic of our permanent status for this incarnation. The sense of this term is the idea of some very primordial substance from which all other forms emerge. Hence the DNA blueprint, a material coding for life, gives expression to the unique form each living being possesses. The classical Ayurvedic literature (Caraka Samhita Vimanasthana VIII.96-98) describes below the vata, pitta, and kapha body types as pure types; combinations would mix the descriptions accordingly. Knowing one's constitution enables one to understand the way his/her body is supposed to function one's entire life and dictates the form of the body. This idea of constitution contains one's balance point as well as one's disease tendencies.
Vata characteristics: Ca. Vi. VIII.98 Due to roughness the persons with predominance of vata have rough, undeveloped and short body, constantly rough, weak, low, adhered and hoarse voice and sleeplessness; due to lightness light and unsteady movement, activities, diet and speech; due to mobility unstable joints, eye brows, jaw, lips, tongue, head, shoulder, hands and feet; due to abundance talkativeness and abundance of tendons and venous system; due to swiftness hasty initiations, quick irritation and disorder, quick in fear, attachment, and disenchantment, quick in acquisition but with a poor memory; due to coldness intolerance to cold, continuously infliction with cold, shivering and stiffness; due to coarseness coarse hair, beard/mustache, small hairs, nails, teeth, face, hands and feet; due to clear cracked body parts and constant sound in joints during movement. Because or these qualities persons with predominance of vata have mostly low degree of strength, life span, progeny, means and wealth.
Ca. Vi. VIII.97 Due to hotness the persons having predominance of pitta are intolerant of heat, have hot face, delicate and fair organs, moles, freckles, black moles, pimples, excessive appetite and thirst, early appearance of wrinkles, greying and hair loss, generally soft, sparse and brown beards/mustaches, thin hair and hairs; due to sharpness sharp prowess, intense fire, taking ample food and drink, lack of endurance, frequent eating; due to liquidity lax and soft joints and muscles, excess sweat, urine and feces; due to fleshy smell fetid smell in axilla, mouth, head and body; due to pungency and sourness little semen, sex and few progeny; from these qualities the person having predominance of pitta is moderate of strength, life-span, knowledge, understanding, wealth, and means.
Ca. Vi. VIII.96 Due to unctuousness the person with predominance of kapha has unctuous organs, due to smoothness smooth organs, due to softness pleasing, delicate and fair organs, due to sweetness abundant semen, sex, and progeny, due to nature of essence excellent, compact and stable body, due to solidity all organs well-developed and symmetrical, due to dullness dull in activities, diet and speech, due to rigidity delayed initiation, irritation and disorder, due to heaviness movements supported with essence and stability, due to coldness little hunger, thirst, pyrexia, and perspiration, due to sliminess will united and strong joint ligaments, due to clarity clear eyes and face with clear and unctuous complexion and affectionate voice. From these qualities the shleshma person is strong, wealthy, learned, brave, calm and long-lived.
For the serious student click on this URL for extensive notes on the concept of prakriti collected from the classical texts / writings.
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