VATHA DOSHA AND ITS WHOLE CONCEPTS
Vata is a force conceptually made up of elements ether and air. The proportions of ether and air determine how active Vata is. The amount of ether (space) affects the ability of the air to gain momentum. If unrestricted, as in ocean, air can gain momentum and become forceful such as a hurricane.
Vata means "wind, to move, flow, direct the processes of, or command." Vata enables the other two doshas to be expressive. The actions of Vata are drying, cooling, light, agitating, and moving.
Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in the heart, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms. The primary seat or location of the Vata in the body is the colon. It also resides in the hips, thighs, ears, bones, large intestine, pelvic cavity, and skin. It is related to the touch sensation. If the body develops an excess of vata, it will accumulate in these areas.
Dosha Related Elements
Vata Air and Ether
CHARACTERISTICS OF VATA TYPES
Here are some of the common characteristics of people who have a predominantly Vata constitution.
Creativity, mental quickness
Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget
Sexually easily excitable but quickly satiated
Slenderness; lightest of the three body types
Talk and walk quickly
Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates
Excitable, lively, fun personality
Irregular daily routine
Variable appetite and digestive efficiency
High energy in short bursts; tendency to tire easily and to overexert
Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance
Respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance
Tendency to act on impulse
Often have racing, disjointed thoughts
Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don't perspire much
Typical health problems include headaches, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, muscle spasms, lower back pain, constipation, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, menstrual cramps, premature ejaculation and other sexual dys-functions, arthritis. Most neurological disorders are related to Vata imbalance.
People of vata constitution are generally physically underdeveloped. Their chests are flat and their veins and muscle tendons are visible. The complexion is brown, the skin is cold, rough, dry and cracked.
Vata people generally are either too tall or too short, with thin frames which reveal prominent joints and bone-ends because of poor muscle development. The hair is curly and scanty, the eyelashes are thin and the eyes lusterless. The eyes may be sunken, small, dry, and active. The nails are rough and brittle. The shape of the nose is bent and turned-up.
Physiologically, the appetite and digestion are variable. Vata people loves sweet, sour and salty tastes and like hot drinks. The production of urine is scanty and the feces are dry, hard and small in quantity. They have a tendency to perspire less than other constitutional types. Their sleep may be disturbed and they will sleep less than the other types. Their hands and feet are often cold.
Psychologically, they are characterized by short memory but quick mental understanding. They will understand something immediately, but will soon forget it. They have little willpower, tend toward mental instability and possess little tolerance, confidence or boldness. Their reasoning power is weak and these people are nervous, fearful and afflicted by much anxiety.
Vata people tend to earn money quickly and also to spend it quickly. Thus, they tend to remain poor.
Signs of Vata Dosha Imbalance:
There are a number of tell tale signs of dosha imbalance. Some persons will get very angry. Some get depressed, etc. Here is a summary of the signs of vata imbalance:
Tired, yet can't relax, Fatigue, poor stamina
Nervous, Can't concentrate
Impatient, Antsy or hyperactive
Shy, insecure, Restless
Cannot make decisions
Weight loss, under weight
Insomnia; wake up at night and can't go back to sleep
Generalized aches, sharp pains, Arthritis, stiff and painful joints
Very sensitive to cold
Rough, flaky skin, Chapped lips
Constipation, Intestinal bloating, gas, Belching, hiccups
Dry, sore throat, Dry eyes
In summary, if you are suffering from anxiety, worry, a tendency to overexertion, insomnia, chronic tiredness, mental and emotional depression, physical tension and other symptoms of stress, a weakened immune system, headaches, underweight, constipation, skin dryness, mental confusion, emotional conflict, inability to make decisions, impulsiveness, fast and disconnected speech, fantasy, illusions, and sensations of being lighthearted and removed from thoughts, feelings, or circumstances, then there is a very good sign that your vata is aggravated.
General Tips on Health and Wellness For Vata Types
The Vatas find it very difficult to maintain regular habits, that is, to eat and sleep at regular times. But this is the most important thing for them to do. When Vata is out of balance this may feel almost impossible, but an effort to establish a regular routine is very important for all people with a Vata body type. Rest sufficiently, and choose foods, behaviors, personal relationships, and environmental circumstances which can be instrumental in balancing vata characteristics. It is also important to regulate mental and physical impulses and to modify mental attitudes, emotional states, and behaviors in supportive ways.
Sweet, sour, and salty tastes decrease vata influences, so include these tastes if vata influences need to be diminished. Milk, wheat, rice, and some fruits and berries can provide sweet and sour tastes.
Regular exercise should be relaxed and moderate. Hatha yoga practice in a meditative mood is good, as are t'ai chi, walking, and swimming. Avoid strenuous, competitive, frantic activities.
When possible, associate with people who are calmly purposeful. Meditate every day for deep relaxation.
A Food Plan to Balance Vata Dosha
These guidelines can be used for vata mind-body constitutions, to maintain dosha balance, and to restore balance if necessary, regardless of the basic constitution. Vata influences the movement of thoughts, feelings, prana flows, nerve impulses, and fluids in the body.
Warm food, moderately heavy textures, added butter and fat.
Salt, sour, and sweet tastes; Soothing and satisfying foods.
All soothing foods are good for settling disturbed Vata. Use foods such as: warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread. Since vata is a cold dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods such as these are good for stabilizing vata. On the other hand cold foods such as cold salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not very good for persons with vata imbalance.
Breakfast is highly recommended. Use hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat or any other breakfast that is warm, milky, and sweet.
Take a hot or herbal tea with snacks in the late afternoon. Avoid drinks with high caffeine as vata gets disturbed by it.
Use spicy foods such as spicy Mexican or Indian foods that are cooked in oil.
Use warm moist foods such as cooked grains and cereals, bowl of hot oatmeal or cup of steaming vegetable soup.
Warm milk is good. You can add a little sugar or honey to it if you prefer. Avoid eating candies as it disturbs vata.
Prefer salted nuts that are heavy and oily as opposed to dry salty snacks.
All sweet fruits are Ok for vata. Avoid unripe fruits as they are astringent
Take warm or hot water instead of ice water and drinks.
Summary: Breakfast is usually desirable. Hot foods and sweet and sour tastes. Reduce dry foods and bitter tastes. Warm or hot water and drinks. Raw nuts and nut butters. Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger, cloves in moderation.