noun: dosha; plural noun: doshas

(in Ayurvedic medicine) each of three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity

Doshas are material substances always present in the body.  We have all three within us and they each have their own definite quantity, quality, and function (or action).  When they are normal, they attend to different functions of the body and maintain it.  Doshas, however, have the tendency to become abnormal, increasing or decreasing in quantity, one of more of their qualities and functions. 

When they become abnormal, they vitiate their place of dwelling (in the tissues).  This vitiation is the eventual cause of disease.  

The three doshas are:

  • Vata
  • Pitta
  • Kapha