understanding the vata dosha

understanding the vata dosha

by March 22, 2012

In the last post, we spoke about the foundation of Ayurveda and the three elemental energies (doshas) that are an integral component of our inner and outer self. This week, we’ll delve deeper into vata dosha – qualities, what causes vata imbalances, and how to balance vata. If you don’t know your dosha type, I recommend this quiz.

The vata is a combination of vayu (air) and akash (sky). It is responsible for controlling the flow of energy in the body by maintaining a series of biochemical processes. These include blood circulation, respiration, excretion, and motor impulses. These processes in turn affect emotional attributes of happiness, joy, speech, and creativity.

The seat of vata is the colon but it is also present in the lower back, pelvic cavity, ears, and joints.

Physical Qualities

You’ll find many websites that explain the physical appearance of vata dosha in detail. A dominant vata is characterized by a thin, lean body frame. They have small, dry eyes and dry skin and hair. People with a dominant vata often have cold hands and feet.

They are light sleepers, often prone to insomnia and poor digestion. Due to their delicate health, vatas have very few children.

Emotional and Psychological Attributes:

Vatas are –

  • Energetic
  • Creative
  • Lively
  • Enthusiastic
  • Agile
  • Alert
  • Impulsive

If you have a dominant vata, you hate sitting idle and always find something keep yourself occupied with. Most often these activities would be creative in nature. Because vatas like movement and change, they constantly change or move furniture and even residences to avoid boredom.

Their creativity allows them to excel in their professional lives, so they usually make good money but are given to spending on luxuries and have trouble saving.

Vata energy ebbs and flows – it comes in bouts, often interspersed with periods of fatigue. Those with a dominant vata often fear darkness, height, or enclosed spaces.

Imbalances in the vata

We know that vata controls the flow of energy in the body. Any intrinsic or extrinsic element that causes this to change will ultimately also cause an imbalance in the dosha.

You know vata is imbalanced when you experience one or more of the following:

  • Constipation
  • Hypertension
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain

How to keep vata balanced

If you have a dominant vata, it is very important to keep it balanced. This will allow you to exact out all the benefits of your dosha and use them to their maximum potential.

Here are a few tips on keeping a balanced vata:

  • Early to bed, early to rise – sleep before 10pm and get up before 6am.
  • Get some exercise – practice light exercise such as Yoga and Tai Chi, or take short walks.
  • Keep bowel movements regulated.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Get regular massages.
  • Keep warm during the winter – wear adequate warm clothing and sip ginger tea throughout the day.
  • Inhale warm aromas such as basil, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Wear earthy and pastel colors.

In the next part, we’ll discuss the elements that help keep vata balanced and also explore the vata diet.

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