The Vata Dosha
“Pitta is lame, kapha is lame. They go wherever the wind (vata) takes them, just like clouds.” Ayurvedic teaching.
Vata in Sanskrit literally means wind, which is why the vata constitution, or dosha, is known for having the quality of wind and space at its heart. Like the wind, vata is the force of communication and movement in the body, influencing the other two doshas – indeed, without vata, both the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha are inert.
The qualities of vata
Cold, light, rough, mobile, irregular, subtle, clear, dry and astringent.
The function of vata
Vata is responsible for all movement in the body: the flow or breath, the expression of speech, the circulation of the blood, the elimination of waste, and the regulation of the immune and nervous system. It moves the diaphragm, muscles and limbs, and also stimulates the intellect.
The physical manifestations of vata
Those with dominant vata tend to have low body weight, and struggle to put weight on. Their physical frame is thin and slender, their face tends to be long and angular, and they’re either very tall or short. They have dry skin and poor circulation, often suffering with cold hands and feet.
The emotional manifestations of vata
Vata is dynamic in nature, as such it manifests as energetic bursts. Vata types move like the wind, love change, and are very impulsive. When in balance, they’re also creative, bursting with ideas and inspiration, usually becoming inventors, dancers, writers or artists.
When vata is in balance
A balance of vata in the body brings comfortable movement, regular breathing, a consistent appetite, normal bowel function, positive enthusiasm, healthy desire, good energy, a calm mind and inspirational creativity.
When vata is out of balance
With an excess of vata, you may lose weight, experience piercing pains or spasms, numbness, dry skin, dehydration, excessive bloating, erratic digestion or insomnia. Too little vata and you may feel sluggish and lazy, you may become increasingly fearful, anxious, lonely and depressed. Later in life, vata may bring diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
How to balance your vata
You can balance vata’s cold, airy tendencies by increasing its opposite qualities: such as bringing more warmth, stability and earthiness into your life – staying warm at all times, keeping a regular sleep pattern, and enjoying earthy spices and foods can all help.
If you’d like to discover how to balance your vata in more detail, A Pukka Life by Master Herbsmith and Ayurveda practitioner, Sebastian Pole is worth the read.