Sister Science Lesson 3
Exploring the Principles of Nutrition

Determine which of the six tastes are most balancing to your dosha

Lesson Objectives

The foundation of Ayurvedic nutrition is based on the idea that you are the result of what, when, where, how and why you eat. Ayurveda explains that your food should be eaten mindfully and with gratitude, and that it must be fresh, of the highest quality, digestible, delicious, lovingly prepared and satisfying to your senses.  Ayurveda offers a balanced approach to preparing, eating and digesting your food based on your unique body-mind type or Dosha, as well as the time of day, the season, your life-cycle and where you live.  In this lesson you will apply Ayurvedic dietary principles to better create health & well being mind, body & soul.

  1. Listen to the Audio Lesson
  2. Complete the Your Ayurvedic Meal Plan Worksheet
  3. Complete the Journal Activity
  4. Complete the Challenge
  5. Share your insights in our Yoga Veda Community

Lesson Downloads

Journal Activity

Challenge Assignment

According to Ayurveda, foods and herbs are categorized by their taste, general qualities and how they affect the elemental Doshas (mind body combinations) of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is made of Air and Ether.  Vata is:

  • Light
  • Cold
  • Dry
  • Rough
  • Clear
  • Mobile.

Pitta is made of Fire and Water.  Pitta is:

  • Light
  • Got
  • Wet/oily
  • Sharp
  • Clear
  • Mobile/spreading.

Kapha is made of Water and Earth. Kapha is:

  • Heavy
  • Cool
  • Wet
  • Soft
  • Dense
  • Static

The six tastes that are recognized in Ayurveda are:

  1. Sweet
  2. Sour
  3. Salty
  4. Bitter
  5. Pungent
  6. Astringent

Each taste has qualities associated with it that will either increase or decrease the Doshas. As an example; sweet is heavy, sour is moist, salty is warm, bitter is cold, pungent is hot and astringent is dry.

Two fundamental principles in Ayurveda are:

  1. “Like increases like”
  2. “Opposites create balance”

Foods with qualities that are similar to a Dosha will increase that Dosha and foods with attributes that are unlike a Dosha will decrease or pacify that Dosha, thereby keeping the Dosha in balance.

The tastes and qualities that balance Vata are:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Salty
  • Warm
  • Heavy
  • Moist.

The tastes and qualities that balance Pitta are:

  • Sweet
  • Bitter
  • Astringent
  • Cool
  • Dry
  • Heavy

The tastes and qualities that balance Kapha are:

  • Pungent
  • Bitter
  • Astringent
  • Light
  • Warm
  • Dry

You can refer to the Dosha balancing food lists in Ayurvedic literature or simply consider the general qualities of the food (hot/cold, light/heavy, dry/wet) as to whether it will increase or decrease a particular Dosha.

Take the Ayurvedic Diet a step further and determine which of the six tastes are most balancing to your dosha.  Over the next 7 – 14 days track your diet by keeping a food journal.  You’ll be amazed by the insights you gain by this simple yet profound journaling practice.

Submit your assignment to for feedback and share your insights, questions and comments inside the Yoga Veda Community for peer-to-peer support.

Recommended Reading

Bonus Resources


To follow our bliss and dive deeply into the mysteries of fragrance, color, and taste; blend with the magnificent diversity of mother nature; and follow the inner signs to become aware of who we really are – is the Alchemy of Ayurvedic Cookery.

Prana Gogia