Breaking Down the Doshas: Vata
by: Jessica Jayne
Ayurveda is a holistic science that dates back 6,000 years ago, that is based upon maintaining harmony within the physical and energetic body. Ayurvedic knowledge says that everything in the Universe is made up of the three doshas; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The three doshas are the energetic forces that are derived from the five elements and their individual properties, and govern all human physical and mental processes.
Though each living being has an individual dosha makeup; everything and everyone is made up of all three doshas. The purpose of Ayurveda is to harmonize all doshas by counteracting the dominant dosha types and coming into balance within all three.
Vata is governed by the Air and Space elements.
When someone is predominantly Vata Dosha type, movement and change is a large characteristic within their nature. They tend to be thin-framed, quick-thinking, and fast moving. As you can imagine, Vata Dosha governs all movement; as the Air and Space elements are related to this constant flux of movement within the Universe. So the Vata Dosha is also what governs the digestive and nervous systems of the human body.
Some of the characteristics associated with Vata are: dry, cold, moving, irregular, change, and quick. The season associated with Vata dosha is late fall to early winter; when it becomes cold, dry, and clear.
Just as the wind moves fluidly and whimsically through the Universe; an in balance Vata is agile, creative, and gifted in expressing and communicating with ease and beauty. Their vitality is free-flowing, and expresses itself in many forms.
When Vata dosha flows into a state of imbalance, all of these qualities can be heightened within the physical and mental bodies. Skin can become very dry, the digestive system can quickly become irregular, and the nervous system may flux– causing anxious or uncomfortably high-energy feelings.
When Vata is in excess; one can quickly feel overcome by their minds. They may experience insomnia or anxiety due to a racing mind, experience intense spurts of energy and then big bouts of fatigue, and an irregular digestive system and/or unusual weight loss.
How to Balance Vata Dosha
To balance Vata dosha; we work to balance the qualities that the Vata energy invokes. Considering Vata is cold, quick, dry, and irregular; to balance Vata dosha we need to be sure to bring lots of warmth, slowing down, moisture, and routine into our diet and everyday practices.
If you begin to experience out of balance Vata symptoms, some things to consider would be to wake up early every morning, skip the intense/fast-moving exercise and focus on mindful movements, meditation, and slowing down the energy in the body.
Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Walking in Nature are all very grounding for an out of balance Vata. Avoid raw foods and eat warm meals, moisturize skin with oil self massage using heavier oils such as almond or sesame, and create a routine for your day that is regular and not changing too erratically.
Nutritional Guidelines for Vata Dominant Dosha
• Avoid raw foods, and have the majority of meals you eat be cooked and warm.
• Eat larger meals but try not to overeat.
• Avoid cold drinks, especially in the Vata season. Drink warm water or hot drinks instead.
• Good healthy fats are beneficial for Vata dominant digestive system. Eat oil within your foods, and even perhaps have a few teaspoons of ghee or oil daily.
• Avoid dry fruits such as apples, pears, or pomegranates. Eat heavier, sweeter fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, avocados, pineapples, dates, kiwis, and coconuts.