The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research






Lake Mary Clinic, Gerson Ayurvedic Spa, and Panchakarma Facility: at 635 Primera Blvd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2




 Telephone: (561) 263-MIND (6463); option 2 (407) 549-2800

Other Important Ayurvedic Concepts

Constitutional Type--Prakriti

The five great elements “ pancha mahabhutas ”--namely space, air, fire, water, and earth--manifest in the human physiology and psyche as three fundamental bioenergies known as the three doshas From space and air comes Vata, which regulates our energies and movements. From fire and water comes Pitta, which gives us warmth and perception and the capacity to transform substances within our bodies. From water and earth comes Kapha, which makes up our structure, our flesh and secretions, and creates solidity and cohesiveness.

Through the action of the tridosha we replicate the great Cosmic Forces in our own bodies and participate in the eternal cosmic dance of creation, maintenance, and destruction. The ancient sages observed that although every individual is constituted of the three doshas, each of us inherits them in differing proportions. This accounts for our differences in appearance, preferences, aversions, behavioral patterns, and emotional tendencies. The proportion of the three doshas present in an individual at birth will determine his or her essential constitution or prakriti. Prakriti comes from two Sanskrit roots which means “the initial creation” or alternatively this interesting word can also mean “to come forth into creation”. It represents how we initially come into life before any deviations have taken place.

The prakriti remains unchanged during the course of one's lifetime and is genetically determined. Prakriti represents the proportion of the doshas which represents the ideal state of balance and it serves as the goal for us to strive toward. It will manifest in us throughout our li fetimes through our physical characteristics, natural urges, likes and dislikes, and psychological predilections as we have stated above. However, one's prakriti will also determine to a great extent how one will develop the highest order of human qualit ies: love, compassion, and pure consciousness. Thus the proportion of the three doshas which a person inherits will be at the foundation of his or her experience and existence. From the perspective of the Ayurvedic physician, precise determination of the prakriti is absolutely mandatory as the first step in formulating a course of action for each patient. Knowledge of an individual's prakriti will instruct the physician of the following:

  • Most effective means to prevent disease from arising
  • Prognosis of both simple and complex diseases
  • The most effective treatment
  • The recuperative capacity of an individual
  • The best dietary regimen for that individual
  • How to compound herbal formulations to best advantage
  • The most beneficial rejuvenative program

What Determines The Prakriti

There are five factors which influence the essential constitution prakrit of an individual.

1. The state of the doshas in the bodies of the mother and father at the time of conception is the most influencial factor.

If the father has an excess of Kapha dosha, sperms which flourish in a Kapha environment will predominate in the ejaculate. If, on the other hand, the mother happens to have an excess of Vata dosha at the time of intercourse, her vaginal and uterine environments will produce ova with Vata-dominant energies. Thus the resulting child will inherit a Vata-Kapha (or Kapha-Vata) prakriti.

2. The mental state and intentions of the mother and father at the time of conception.

The reproductive tissues of human beings are the most highly evolved in the entire physical body and as such are most affected by the subtle energies of thought and emotion. Changes in the chemical environment, pH, viscosity, temperature, and blood flow of the genitalia and their respective seeds will occur due to psychological effects. Sexual intercourse for pleasure (Kapha), out of "duty" (Pitta), with a stranger (Vata), out of fear (Vata), in anger (Pitta), for money (Kapha), or for any intention will have a corresponding effect on the doshic pattern in the child.

In fact, Ayurveda recommends that all couples contemplating having a baby first undergo a complete purification therapy. This would eliminate any doshic excesses and make it more likely that the parents would be healthy during the succeeding sexual activity. Dietary regimens and restrictions are also recommended for prospective parents. Men should avail themselves of milk, ghee, ashwagandha root, licorice root and raisins while avoiding red meat, very spicy foods, eggplant, and cold drinks. Women should have basmati rice, ghee, sesame oil, mung dal, amalaki, and asparagus while avoiding poultry, game, red meat, green salads in excess, garlic, and raw vegetables. Ayurveda compares the creation of a new human life to the creation of a new universe and to maintain this perspective is an important step to preserving the sanctity of the act of sex. This can have an enormous be nefit to the mental characteristics of the child. .

3. The familial hereditary characteristics.

There are certain tendencies which run in families such as the tendency to obesity, tendency to athleticism, or artistic or scientific aptitude. This can exert an effect on the doshic combination of entire family trees.

4. The diet and daily activities of the mother during pregnancy.

The strange food cravings which develop during pregnancy are well documented. The predominance of one specific taste or food it em (e.g. sardines with vanilla ice cream seems to be popular!) can certainly influence the developing child. If the mother is working, attending school, staying home, or living with her parents during pregnacy this will also register on the doshic patter n of the newborn. The home climate, weather, patterns of exercise and rest, sleep patterns, and recreation will similarly have an effect. Any arguments or negative emotions should be avoided if possible.

5. The conditions dominant in the uterus during pregnancy.

Any trauma to this area of the mother's body will be detrimental to the developing baby. Conversely, loving attention to the womb, talking to the baby, stroking and touching the area by both parents, and soothing, sattvic music can be balancing influences.