Demytify: Vata Dosha

Vata dosha is responsible for all the movement in the body – think the beating heart, the flowing air of the voice, the peristalsis of the digestion, the expansion and contraction of the lungs.

People with predominant vata dosha are energetic, enthusiastic, adaptable and creative. They are light energetically and physically, often being slender or slim. Sleep can be hard fought for and light rest is common for this dosha.

In nature you can think of vata as the eternally fluttering humming bird.

Vata is cold, dry, light, dry, rough and subtle. These qualities relate to the entire constitution – personality, tendencies, physical traits.

When in Balance…

We want vata to be in balance all the movement in the body keeps flowing in balance. We don’t want the body to fall out of homeostasis – we want regular blood pressure and heart rate and body temperature. These essential regulatory actions keep our body at ease.

When vata is in balance creativity flows and they are social butterflies, flitting here to there lightly and easily. Vatas are the idea people. They love to explore and dream. They’re the ones you go to to relight your inspiration.

Falling out of Balance

But all this change and output of energy can lead to depletion if it’s not properly managed. When we talk about an imbalanced vata dosha we are talking about having too much of its qualities. Too much cold, too much air, too much light and too much dry.

An out of balance vata often experiences a complete lack of groundedness – they are literally too light, or have too much air. This can manifest as weight loss, lack of appetite, anxiety, joint problems, constipation and hyperactivity.

A Balanced Lifestyle

The first ayurvedic stop is always lifestyle and routine. And honey, vatas need routine. They might rail against it at first but once they see the ease and benefits of regular schedule, they learn to love it.

  • In the morning practice oil self-massage with warming oils like sesame to counter all that dryness.
  • Keep shower temperature moderate. Vatas are drawn to heat to hot to try to balance their cold but, of course, hot water just increases the dryness of the skin.
  • Exercise should be light and ideally focused on balance and flexibility – vata falls into depletion very easily, excessive excercise will only exacerbate that.
  • Eat at the same times each day and don’t skip meals! If it means you have to set an alarm on your phone, do that.
  • Reduce stress. This is a bit one. A vata out of balance is a vata that is moving and doing too much. Set boundaries and prioritise. Note all those amazing ideas that come to you and come back to them later.

A Balanced Diet

Moving onto diet. As we’ve mentioned vatas are cold and dry and light. An imbalanced vata has an excess of those qualities. Opposites balance.

  • Eat three full meals a day and sit down to consume them – no running here and there, no eating in the car.
  • Ditch coffee – you don’t need more stimulant!
  • Get in those fats and oils. Avocados, coconut, ghee, extra virgin olive oil are all great for soothing those joints.
  • Get in those comfort foods – warming soups and stews with rich, hearty vegetables is nectar to an imbalanced vata with all their grounding goodness.
  • Avoid raw vegetables, and yes, this includes smoothies. These are super tough on the vata body because they are so cold and contain so much air. Opt for cooked vegetables when you can.
  • Get into those spices – black pepper, cumin, ginger, chilli, tulsi, fennel and thyme are all great additions.
  • Avoid beans as they’re so difficult to digest.

We contain a percentage of each dosha. A pitta or kapha person can experience a vata imbalance, especially coming into the cold, dry winter months. Keep your vata happy, baby.

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