Vata Dosha

Governed by elements of Air & Ether.  Vata is the principle of movement & change, including activities of the nervous system and the process of elimination.  Vata influences the other doshas.

Qualities of Vata: Cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable

If Vata dosha predominates, movement and change are characteristic of your nature. You will tend to always be on the go, with an energetic and creative mind. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body.

Physical Characteristics: Those with a predominance of Vata dosha are usually have a thin, light frame and excellent agility. Their energy comes in bursts, and they are likely to experience sudden bouts of fatigue. Vata eyes can be small and nervous, often dry and scanty lashes.  They can have cracking joints (dryness), irregular bowel movement, tendency to be constipated and flatulent (from dryness) Vatas typically have dry skin and hair and cold hands and feet. They sleep lightly and their digestion can be sensitive, they often miss meals because they have an irregular appetite.   They are quick and light in thoughts and actions – like the wind.  The often have excessive movement ie gestures and body language, can’t sit still.

Mental Characteristics: Vatas love excitement and new experiences and rarely have routine.  They are impulsive, creative and spontaneous - often lose interest quickly too, moods go up and down.  They love to talk. They are quick to anger but also to forgive. When Vatas are in balance, they are energetic, enthusiastic, creative and flexible. They also take initiative and are lively conversationalists.  They are quick to grasp, but have no long-term memory.

You do not need to be predominantly Vata Dosha type to have an imbalance showing up, having any of these symptoms is a sign you need to balance out your Vata to bring you back to your Prakruti (natural state/dosha type)

When Vata out of balance symptoms are:  When the Vata dosha becomes imbalanced, it manifests in the body as weight loss, constipation, dry skin, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, and digestive challenges.  When unbalanced, they are prone to worry and anxiousness and often suffer from insomnia. When they feel overwhelmed or stressed, their response is, “What did I do wrong?”

 

What aggravates Vata

  • Dry and cold weather

  • Excessive wind

  • Cold and dry food

  • Irregular sleep

  • Travelling

  • Fast-paced busy environment

  • A lot of mental activity

Lifestyle choices to balance Vata symptoms:

 

If excessive stress in your life leads to your Vata force becoming imbalanced, your activity will start to feel out of control. Your mind may race, contributing to anxiety and insomnia. You may start skipping meals, resulting in unintended weight loss, and your digestion may become irregular. If you notice these early symptoms of a Vata imbalance, slow down, take time to meditate, don’t skip meals, and get to bed earlier. A regular lifestyle routine helps ground Vata so you are not carried away into the ethers.

  • Vata is cold, light, irregular, dry, and always changing. To balance Vata, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life. Try to get to bed before 10pm, awaken by 6am, and eat your meals at regular times.

  • Avoid becoming chilled. Wear adequate clothing appropriate for the season and keep your head covered when the weather is cold.

  • Perform a daily self-abhy massage using warmer, heavier oils like sesame and almond.  Best performed in the shower after water turned off, pat dry.

  • They experience periods of high energy, but they also tire easily. Light exercise that enhance balance and flexibility is best for a Vata body type. Take care not to push yourself too far and exceed the limits of your energy. Beneficial activities for Vatas include: yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, walking and short hikes, light bicycling, light tennis, golf, dance, and aerobics.  Try meditation but only after moved the body so energy of Vata can settle - use Mudra or Mantra to help build concentration and focus.

  • Fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently. During the cool weather, sip ginger tea throughout the day.

  • Be certain that your bowels move regularly on a daily basis.

  • Favor soothing, calming music.

  • Touch and be touched regularly by the people you love. Get regular massages treatments. Learn

  • Favor warm colors in your clothing and environment such as earth colors, pastels, browns, and warm yellows.

  • Favor aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm. Examples include basil, bay, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, frankincense, lavender, pine, sage, and vanilla.

 

Diet to balance Vata symptoms:

According to Ayurveda, it is important to eat foods that have a balancing effect upon the dominant dosha or that will pacify (stabilize) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated. Since Vata is drying, cooling and light, favor foods that are oily, warming, or heavy. The best tastes to pacify Vata are sweet, salty and sour. Minimize foods that are pungent, bitter, or astringent.  Recommendations:

 

  • To balance the lightness of Vata, eat larger quantities, but don’t overeat.

  • All sweeteners pacify Vata and may be taken in moderation.

  • Fats and oils are beneficial in the digestive system and help reduce Vata. Use up to 3 teaspoons daily of ghee or extra virgin olive oil.

  • All low-fat dairy products are recommended. Milk is easier to digest when warm 

  • Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata. Reduce the amount of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye.

  • Favor sweet, heavy fruits such as: bananas, avocados, mangoes, apricots, plums, berries, coconut, figs, grapefruit, orange, lemon, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, rhubarb, kiwi, dates, nectarines and dried fruits.

  • Eat fewer dry or light fruits such as apples, cranberries, pears, and pomegranates. To ease digestion, fruits are best eaten lightly cooked or sautéed or eaten alone.

  • Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimized. Favor Asparagus, beets, and carrots. Other vegetables may be taken in moderation if cooked in ghee or extra virgin olive oil, including peas, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.

  • Sprouts and cabbage tend to produce gas and should be minimized.

  • Dairy products pacify Vata. For optimal digestion, boil milk before drinking it and consume it while warm.

  • Spices that pacify Vata include cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, basil, asafetida, cilantro, fennel, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme, and black pepper.

  • All varieties of nuts are recommended.

  • Beans can aggravate Vata, so minimize your consumption of them, with the exception of tofu and mung bean dahl.

  • For non-vegetarians, use fresh, organic chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs.

 

Note: Favoring heavy foods such as sweets, oils, and richer foods may contribute to weight gain. Focus on natural grains, and heavy, moist fruits and vegetables. Keep your sweets to a minimum and use low-fat milk products. Cook your food for easy digestion.

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