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Understanding Vata Dosha

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“Dosha” literally means “fault” or “defect” and is used to determine the body constitution in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda believes that there are three biological Doshas that govern the human body namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and each is named after a unique natural element. All 3 of these doshas are interdependent on each other and responsible for body homeostasis.
Among them, Vata is often referred to as the “King of the Doshas” and is associated with the Air element.
Vata is a Sanskrit term that means “to flow” or “to blow like the wind.” Vata is made up of two elements “Space” (Aakash), “Air” (Vayu). These elements are part of 5 life elements according to Ayurveda; others being Fire (Teja), Water (Jala), and Earth (Prithvi)
Vata is known to govern all mental and physical movements like blood flow, waste discharge, breathing, and the flow of thoughts.
The Autumn season is associated with Vata because of its cold, crisp days as it is characterized by its dryness, coldness, movement, changeability, roughness, and quickness.
Furthermore, The Vata Dosha is subdivided into five types. Each of the five Vayus has a distinct significance.
1. Prana: This is the principal or driving air. It moves through the head and then flows to the chest and throat, where it controls the processes of respiration.
2. Udana: It is upward air movement. It begins in the chest cavity and progresses to the throat. This type of Vata Dosha governs memory, strength, speaking, and exhalation.
3. Vyana: This is diffused air. Vyana is centered in the heart and spreads throughout the human body. It aids in the proper functioning of blood circulation.
4. Samana: This is balancing air. Samana, located in the small intestine, influences digestion and metabolism.
5. Apana: It governs the downward circulation of air. It is positioned in the colon and governs excretion, urination, menstruation, and sexual activity.

Common characteristics of Vata Dosha

When our Prakriti or constitutional character is in balance, the body and mind are in synchronization. Our movement is effortless, sensory perception active, and mental processes become fluid.
When Vata is balanced, our neurological system is supported by our breath. It regulates the movement of our life force (Prana) and helps us live a better life.
It also affects our emotions, we tend to feel generous, creative, and enthusiastic. Vata empowers us to manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions with ease.
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Here are some common traits of Vata dominated person:

Type/Features Common Traits
Body Feature Long, straight frame with light bones and muscles
Skin/Hair Dry, rough skin, frizzy hair, brittle nails.
Weight Easy to lose weight while gaining weight can be difficult.
Strengths Learns easily, highly creative, good at multitasking, kind-hearted, versatile, and adaptable
Weaknesses Poor digestive system, constipation, weak immunity, prone to stress.
Food Preference Enjoys sour, sweet, and salty foods
Speech Talkative, fast, high-pitched, scattered.

To know your Dosha type, take our comprehensive Dosha quiz today!

Signs of a Vata imbalance

Vata is said to be located in the bowel, the brain, the ears, the skin, & the joints. Vata persons are more sensitive to respiratory infections and have higher joint-related problems. When it is out of balance, it causes anxiety and fear.
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Here are some common ailments caused due to Vata imbalance:

Diet to pacify Vata Imbalance

Flavors like sweet, sour, and salty foods are usually suggested for balancing Vata. These flavors are considered therapeutic by Ayurveda as they boost attributes of warmth, moisture and promote good digestive health which helps in balancing Vata dosha.
For healthy digestion, all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) are advised.
It also affects our emotions, we tend to feel generous, creative, and enthusiastic. Vata empowers us to manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions with ease.
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Here are some insights on the dietary regimes to pacify Vata :

CategoryFoods to EatFoods to Avoid
VegetablesPumpkin, sweet potato, beets, brussels sprouts, zucchini, asparagus, chilies, cilantroTomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, spinach, kale, lettuce, mushroom, olive (green)
FruitsPapaya, figs, avocados, dates, lemons, grapes, kiwi, lime, mango, orangeCranberries, pomegranates, raw apples, watermelon, pears
SpicesGinger, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, turmeric, saffron, hing (asafoetida)Ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, turmeric, saffron, hing (asafoetida)
GrainsMoong dal, Toor dal, urad dal mung beans, rice, quinoa, oatmeal.Barley, millet, corn, crackers, granola, muesli cold soy, corn
NutsCashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans. 
OilsOlive oil, ghee, coconut oil, almond oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, castor oil.Flaxseed oil, canola oil, corn oil, and soy oil.
OthersEggs, chicken, fish, jaggery, honey, date sugar, fructose.cold, frozen, or raw foods, alcohol, white sugar, caffeine, smoking, and tobacco.

Tips to balance Vata Dosha

Adopting a regular healthy lifestyle that is in harmony with the cycles of nature is one of the most significant changes that promote maintaining and recovery in the Vata dominant individual.
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Here are some common ailments caused due to Vata imbalance:
  • Avoid extreme cold
  • Try Pranayama regularly.
  • Aim to wake up early in the morning
  • Practice deep breathing with meditation.
  • Keep a regular routine and follow it rigorously.
  • Mantra and chanting can help to improve focus.
  • Eating three meals or as many as five small meals per day.
  • Include time for oil massage or self-abhyanga in daily routine
  • Inculcate easy-to-do movement like cycling, running & walking.
Our lives, surroundings, and health change on a daily basis. It is important to be updated with the changes and how they affect us.

We recommend completing our Ayurveda dosha quiz to assess how things are altered with time and determine changes needed in restoring balance.

Saumya Singh

Saumya is a writing enthusiast & a lover of literature who enjoys to write and tell stories. She holds a Master’s degree in English and has a keen interest in the world of Ayurveda.

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