Ayurvedic Abbie: What Your Tears Say About Your Dosha


Dear Ayurvedic Abbie,

I was talking with a friend the other day and she said, “The sun was so beautiful, shining on the water, that it made me cry!” This struck me, as I had had two other experiences with tears that day.

Another friend had brought over her 3-year-old granddaughter for lunch. When the little one saw my sweet, super-friendly big dog, she began to cry. My friend explained that she is “scared of dogs.” We spent the afternoon repairing that wound.

This got me thinking about different kinds of tears. I also started off my day today with a difficult phone call with my older brother. Although we certainly love each other, he and I are often at odds as we are very different people and mutually trying to care for my mother. I was so frustrated during our call, trying to keep my anger in check, that I began to cry. Again, tears—and yet completely different in nature!

So, what does ayurveda say about doshas and tears? Do doshas cry?

With tissues,Weepy One

Dear Weepy,

So there it is—Nature’s tears, in her three different expressions of our emotions and our state of mind, via the doshas. Yes, it is true! Ayurveda explains that there are three different aspects to our tears, and they are each governed by a different dosha or elemental nature. So how do the doshas cry?

So there it is—Nature’s tears, in her three different expressions of our emotions and our state of mind, via the doshas.

Vatatears are tears of fear and insecurity, and they fall down from the inner corner of the eye. They can be bitter to taste. These tears fall when we feel overwhelmed, or when we are in some situation we feel unable to control. Nervous tears are vata tears. We can all have them, not just vata-dominant people. Remember that everyone has all three doshas present in their constitution, just in different amounts. These different combinations are what make each of us unique.

Pitta tears are salty to taste and generally come from anger or frustration. Envy, jealousy, and competitiveness can generate pitta tears too. They fall down the center of the eye, and these are the tears that leave those salt stains on our cheeks! Saltiness is related to pitta. Salt offers intensity to whatever it touches: our soups, our bathwater, or our angry tears.

Kapha tears are of compassion, love, and joy. They are the tears that result from witnessing or thinking of that which is beautiful or delightful. Tears of laughter are kapha tears too. They fall down from the outer edge of our eye. Sometimes they are tears of grief, as when we remember those we love who are gone. The tears of love for our family, country, nature, and faith all taste sweet because they are kapha tears. (According to the ayurvedic “tridosha theory,” sweet is made of earth and water just like kapha; salt is made of fire and water like pitta; and bitter is made of ether and air just like vata.) 

Next time you reach for that tissue, consider what your tears are telling you—then you can wipe them away with appreciation. Because sometimes we start to cry without fully knowing why! Just keeping this info in your pocket and knowing which dosha may be crying might help you to comfort yourself, to wash the tears away, or even to feel gratitude for them.

Blessings, Ayurvedic Abbie

About the Teacher

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Kathryn Templeton
Kathryn Templeton, MA, RDT/ MT/LPC, E-500 RYT, C-IAYT. Ayurvedic practitioner Kathryn Templeton has devoted... Read more