Understanding Ayurveda’s VATA Dosha: The King!
Rule #1) Like irritates like and opposites balance.
Vata Dosha is a combination of Ether and Air elements, it governs the movement of all things seen and unseen, inside and out. A Vata imbalance is said to be the root of 80% of modern dis-ease. We live in a Vata world, governed by movement, action and doing. So regardless of your predominant Dosha, understanding Vata, it’s qualities, manifestations and the remedies to pacify should be of great interest.
It’s important to understand the difference between Prakrti and Vikrti defined below.
This is your Biological Dosha at Birth. It is your given Nature, it is unchanging and it is rooted in your parents energies at conception.
This is your current state. This changes with time of day, season, season of life, lifestyle, age, foods ingested, environment – both physical and emotional and a variety of other ever changing influences. It is constantly in flux.
You might deduce that knowing your Prakrti is imperative to actively participate in the creation of health but knowing your Vikrti is the other piece of the equation. Consider GPS, current location would be your Vikrti and home would be you Prakrti. We need to reference both coordinance in order to get home.
As I mentioned above Vata Dosha’s elemental makeup is Ether and Air.
The Gunas of Vata or qualities that exist physically, mentally and emotionally are:
The Physical manifestations of Vata are:
-Tend towards Coldness
-Tend toward constipation
These people tend to move quickly, talk quickly and change their minds ever quickly. Take a moment and consider if you know one?
A Balanced Vata looks like:
They are quick learners and often have many interests. They are ultra creative and often have many projects.
You can find me with the stars is their Mantra!
An Imbalanced Vata looks like:
Extra dry-rough skin, often cracking joints. Gaseous, bloated often constipated. Disorganized, forgetful, overactive minds, anxious, nervous and fearful.
Vata Season is late Fall-Winter, when Cold, Dry, Light, Hard, Mobile and Rough manifest in fullness.
The Doshas are very strongly influences by their Gunas.
Vata Food Example:
So we’ve established that Winter season is Vata season. So imagine the qualities of a raw salad with dried fruit and nuts for lunch in the Winter.
This would increase the like qualities, always keep in mind Rule #1) Like irritates like and opposites balance.
This lunch contains Cold, Dry, Light. Hard, Mobile and Rough, which in turn will aggravate Vata and will likely toss one off balance.
A better choice would be a carrot ginger or root vegetable soup with some cumin. This choice contains the opposite qualities of Hot, Wet, Heavy, Soft, Stable and Smooth. This would be very nourishing to a Vata being or anyone with a Vata imbalance.
Vata Lifestyle Example:
Let’s use the example of a Vata type who regularly uses the Sauna, which is dry and hot. Although the heat is counterbalancing, their tendency to be dry and constipated is a much bigger challenge. The constant heat will further irritate and inevitably toss one off center.
A better choice would be a heated whirlpool providing they periodically indulge and don’t stay too long. You can see how this principle of balancing the body-mind through the application of opposite qualities is the cornerstone of practicing Ayurveda.
Yoga Asana Example:
A Vata type who practices heated power yoga 6-7 days a week and twice on Sundays is almost guaranteed to be highly off center. Again consider the qualities this may induce.
Whereas a gentle slow flow, yin or regular restorative yoga practice would be a wonderful match to balance Vata types or again, ANYONE with an accumulation of excess Vata in their constitution.
I hope this post provides a brief understanding of Vata Dosha and a practical foundation for ALL Dosha types to manage Vata imbalances in this very Vata world we all live in. I will share more ways to pacify Vata with food, herbs and lifestyle practices in future posts.