The Pillars of Ayurvedic Health and Well-being

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and holistic healing, emphasises the importance of balance in achieving optimal health and well-being. The famous Ayurvedic shloka “Sam doshah samagnishcha, samdhatu mala kriyah, prasannatmendriya manah, swasthaiti abhidhiyate” 1  outlines the essential elements of balance and health, stating that an individual is considered healthy when their doshas, agni, dhatus, and malas are in equilibrium, and their mind, senses, and soul are content.

In this article, we will explore each of these elements in detail and provide a scientific explanation for their importance in maintaining health and well-being.

  1.  Sam Dosha (Balanced Doshas): Ayurveda identifies three primary life forces or doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – that govern the physiological, psychological, and emotional aspects of an individual. The unique combination of these doshas determines one’s constitution or Prakriti, which is established at birth.

A balanced state of doshas is crucial for maintaining health, as an imbalance can lead to various diseases and disorders. Scientific studies have shown that these doshas can be linked to certain biochemical processes in the body, such as Vata to neurotransmission, Pitta to metabolism, and Kapha to anabolism 2

  1. Sam Agni (Balanced Digestive Fire): Agni, the digestive fire, plays a critical role in digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients. According to Ayurveda, a balanced agni is crucial for maintaining health, as it ensures the proper conversion of food into nourishing elements for the body. When agni is imbalanced, it can lead to indigestion, malabsorption, and the accumulation of toxins or Ama.

Modern scientific research supports the importance of a balanced digestive system for overall health, as it is closely linked to the gut microbiome, immunity, and even mental well-being 3

  1. Sam Dhatu (Balanced Body Tissues): Dhatus are the seven primary body tissues in Ayurveda – Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscles), Meda (fat), Asthi (bones), Majja (bone marrow), and Shukra (reproductive tissue). These tissues play vital roles in the structure and function of the body, and their balance is essential for maintaining health.

Scientifically, these dhatus can be correlated to essential components of the body, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and minerals, which must be in proper proportions to ensure optimal functioning of organs and systems 4

  1. Mala Kriya (Balanced Waste Elimination): Proper elimination of waste products or malas (faeces, urine, and sweat) is vital for maintaining health, as it helps to prevent the build-up of toxins in the body. Malas are natural by-products of metabolic processes, and their regular elimination is essential for maintaining balance and promoting overall well-being.

Scientifically, proper waste elimination has been linked to maintaining optimal kidney function, liver health, and electrolyte balance 5.  

  1. Prasanna Atma, Indriya, Mana (Contented Soul, Senses, and Mind)

In addition to the physical aspects of health, Ayurveda also emphasises the importance of mental and emotional well-being. A contented soul, senses, and mind are crucial for maintaining overall health and happiness. Stress, anxiety, and emotional disturbances can lead to imbalances in the doshas, agni, and dhatus, ultimately affecting the physical body.

Modern scientific research supports the importance of mental and emotional health in maintaining overall well-being. Studies have shown that stress can impact immune function, digestion, and hormonal balance, while happiness and emotional well-being have been linked to improved cardiovascular health, immune function, and longevity.6


The Ayurvedic shloka “Sam Doshah Sam Agni Shcha, Sam Dhatu Mala Kriya, Prasanna Atmendriya Manah, Swastha Iti Abhidhiyate” beautifully encapsulates the holistic approach to health and well-being, emphasising the importance of maintaining balance in all aspects of life. By understanding and applying these principles, we can work towards achieving optimal health and happiness, both physically and mentally.


  1. Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthanam 15.41
  2. Frawley D, Lad V. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. Lotus Press; 2001.
  3. Carding S, Verbeke K, Vipond DT, Corfe BM, Owen LJ. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in disease. Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2015;26:26191.
  4. Tiwari P, Ahmad K, Baig MH. Ayurveda in the age of molecular medicine. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2015;6(1):56-58.
  5. Kaur G, Invally M, Chintale S, Jadhav K, Mali K, Bodhankar S. Ayurvedic concept of Shatkriyakala: A traditional knowledge of cancer pathogenesis and therapy. J Integr Med. 2017;15(2):88-94.
  6. Steptoe A, Dockray S, Wardle J. Positive affect and psychobiological processes relevant to health. J Pers. 2009;77(6):1747-76
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