According to Ayurveda, ‘Prakruti’ means the physical constitution of a person and ‘Vikruti’ means the state of disease. Prakruti is the science of nature which determines the innate character, physical constitution or disposition of a person. It helps in deciding the ideal lifestyle and therapeutic regimen for an individual. Depending on the predominance of a single dosha, or different permutations and combinations, Prakruti could be of seven types out of which the three main types are vata, pitta and kapha whereas Vikruti has several types and can be determined only through thorough examinations.
Meaning of Prakruti
The term Prakruti is a Sanskrit word that literally means, ‘nature,’ or ‘basic trait’. The combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which is present in the individual at the time of conception is maintained throughout his lifetime. Different persons can have different combination of Vata, Pitta and kapha as their basic constitution or Prakruti. That is why; two people react differently when exposed to a similar situation. Thus, according to Ayurveda everyone is unique and each one of them has a distinct body constitution, which is totally different from each other.
The concept of Prakruti and Vikruti can be illustrated with reference to our body temperature. When healthy, we maintain an average body temperature of about 98.4oF, which can be regarded as our Prakruti. Although different persons can have different base temperatures, it does not change much so long as the person is healthy. When we go outside on a winter day, our body temperature may go down slightly; but will come right back to the normal if we are healthy. When we are sick or catch a cold, our body temperature will go up. This indicates that we are sick or outside our normal base condition. We may take medicine to bring the body temperature back to the normal range. In analogy to Ayurveda, our present temperature may be considered as Vikruti, because Vikruti means the state of disease. So it is important to understand the Prakruti and Vikruti of our body.
Human body is very much like a machine, if not handled properly and not given adequate rest, it can give up any time anywhere. Like a machine, it also prefers to work under favorable circumstances and for a limited period of time so that it does not wear out soon. However, considering the hectic lifestyle and the inhumane pressure that people suffer these days, it is impossible to remain healthy forever.