Vata dosha is predominated by the ether (space) and air elements and governs movement and communication. It is the king (or queen) of the doshas because without movement the other two doshas are useless. The word Vata literally means "wind" or "that which blows".
Its qualities are light, cold, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, and clear. The hummingbird is representative of the Vata-type individual who is always flitting about, can't sit still. It is the dosha of depletion.
The seat of Vata is the colon. Problems in the lower part of the body (intestinal gas, bloating, lower back and hip pain, cramping, etc.) can all be signs of vitiated Vata.
It is Vata dosha, which is comprised of air (think movement) and ether (space), that is responsible for racing thoughts and a pounding heart that create anxiety.
There are so many wonderful things about Vata types. When balanced, they are creative, optimistic, joyful, forgiving, flexible, and full of enthusiasm. They thrive on change and love to discover and experience new things. It’s no coincidence that when school starts back up in the fall (Vata Season), people get excited about new projects, and creativity is in full bloom.
Vata is the dosha most likely to go out of balance (think movement), but luckily can come back just as easily. In a word, it’s changeable.
All of the attributes of Vata dosha (light, cold, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, and clear) are heightened during Vata Season (fall/early winter) as well as during the Vata times of day – 2:00-6:00 a.m. and 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Signs of unbalanced Vata dosha:
- Feelings of heightened anxiety, nervousness and fear
- Bothered by cold and wind
- Sleep is interrupted and light
- Excess worrying
- Excess stimulation is bothersome–i.e. crowds and loud noises
- Intestinal gas, constipation
- Dryness–skin, hair, stools, eyes, etc.
- Feeling disorganized and overwhelmed
- Can’t sit still
- Fatigue following bursts of energy. Crash and burn (this is typical of Vata energy)
Like increases like in Ayurveda, so think opposite to bring your Vata back into balance by:
- Dressing warmly and keeping a scarf around your neck, especially when windy. The back of the neck is very vulnerable to wind.
- Eating more warm, gently cooked seasonal foods. Root vegetables are especially grounding for Vatas.
- Avoiding cold drinks. Opt instead for warm beverages like spiced herbal teas, warm spiced milk, or warm lemon water with honey.
- Eating enough healthy fats and oils (especially ghee)
- Avoiding over-exercising, which can aggravate already high-energy Vata. Gentle yoga, tai chi and qigong are excellent choices.
- Taking quiet walks in Nature is grounding for airy Vatas.
- Meditation and pranayama (breathing practice) can help soothe Vata anxiety and fear.
- Daily self-massage with warm grounding oils like sesame or almond oil is extremely calming to the nervous system.
Or, try an herbalized Vata oil.
- Try to stay away from loud, noisy environments and when you can’t avoid them, take a moment to breathe deeply and find your inner calm.
- Keeping a regular routine with regards to sleeping, eating, working, etc. is imperative for Vatas, who love variety and can easily lose focus. An ideal bedtime is between 9:30–10:00pm.
- Nurturing yourself as much as possible on a daily basis!
- Determining your Ayurvedic prakriti click HERE
Follow the food guidelines for your constitution and you’ll be on the right track.
A word of caution to over-enthusiastic Vata-types is to not let yourself get burned out - especially during Vata Season.
The daily Vata mantra should be, "nurture me." Body, mind and spirit.