Vata Dosha is the prime physical energy guiding all bodily movements and the motion of our body functions. It is composed of Ether and Air. It is called the queen of the Doshas and regulates the movement of both Pitta Dosha and Kapha Dosha as well.
The primary body organ or seat of Vata Dosha is the colon and pelvic cavity. Hence, Vata Dosha is responsible for all eliminatory functions. Any disturbance in Vata Dosha leads to health disorders such as constipation, flatulence, urinary incontinence, menstrual pain and irregularities.
Vata Dosha is responsible for the maintenance of life through:
- The respiratory system
- Nervous system – Nervine impulses
- Movement of Thoughts, Emotions, and Feelings
- Signal processing and communication through vocal, muscular, and circulatory actions
- Sensory perception
Vata Dosha Characteristics
- Vata Dosha has properties as dry, cool, light, mobile, rough, subtle, and clear.
- It carries an Astringent and Bitter taste, hence such foods as beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables are known to be Vata promoting.
- Active Time of the day is from 2 AM till 6 AM and from 2 PM till 6 PM.
- These are the times when Vata Dosha is at its peak, hence the creative juices flow during these times.
- This is also the time of elimination of waste products, hence one should get up early in the morning to allow smooth bowel movement.
- This is also the time, when Vata health disorders will show their symptoms to be slightly aggravated. For example, one would find early morning and early evening times when joint stiffness, pains, nervousness, anxiety build up.
- Vata Dosha is active in physical body during later years in life, ideally from 55 years onwards. That’s why any aggravation in Vata Dosha leads to musculoskeletal pains, bone weakness, and anxiety tendency for elderly.
- Vata Dosha is active in mental state during early years of life. This is the reason why small children are highly perceptive, creative, and influenced easily by their surroundings.
- Vata Dosha is aggravated right after the Monsoon season, from July till September in the Indian continent. Hence, one gets prone to health disorders related to viral infections from lowered immunity. One needs to consume Vata pacifying foods and practice Vata pacifying lifestyle during this time.
- Vata Dosha is active during the cold and dry months of Autumn season. This is the time, when it gets easily vitiated. Hence, one needs control consumption of cold and dry foods and limit irregularities in their daily schedules.
- Vata Dosha primarily affects the musculoskeletal and nervous body systems. It regulates their functioning in body and mind. All the health issues related to these body systems generally originate with vitiated Vata.
Vata Dosha is the physical energy of motion and circulation in our body and mind!
A balanced Vata Dosha is exhibited in controlled external and internal motions such as:
- Absorption and elimination of food and water
- Menstruation cycle in females
- Blood pressure levels
- Physical energy level
- High level of creativity
Aggravated or Unbalanced Vata Dosha
On the contrary, an unbalanced state would have erratic motion, exhibited as excessive flow, blockage of the flow of fluids and matter in the body, or very low flow.
Vata Dosha gets easily vitiated and leads to havoc on critical body systems when one conducts activities and consumes foods that are not health promoting. As easy it is to get unbalanced; it is also easy to come back in place by following a simple rule of discipline and regularity.
Vata Dosha aggravation leads to related health disorders such as Constipation, Menstrual and Menopausal Imbalances, Prolonged labor, Flatulence, Urinary Incontinence.
Some examples of unbalanced Vata are listed below:
- Dryness in terms of constipation and hard stools
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain (when unbalanced Vata displaces Kapha)
- Highly emotional and vulnerable to surroundings and people
- Excessive dry skin and lips
- Lack of focus and emptiness in thoughts
- Irregular Menstrual cycle
- Excessive and sharp pains
- Gas, bloating, and Distention
- Joint pain and back pain involving Lumbago and Sciatica
- Malabsorption of Nutrients
- Neuromuscular disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Emotional hypersensitivity
Why does Vata Dosha get out of balance?
Vata is naturally aggravated in the Fall season and during old age. Hence, one needs to make appropriate changes in diet and lifestyle to counter this natural change in the environment or inside our body.
Vata imbalance can occur due to various reasons involving Ahara – Food and Vihara – Lifestyle, and Vichara – Mental State. Some of the reasons are listed below:
Ahara – Food and Nutrition
- Excessive consumption of old and leftover food
- Excessive consumption of Dry or raw food
- Insufficient food intake
- Eating very fast without proper chewing or ingestion in a standing position.
Vihara – Lifestyle Practices
- Sudden or excessive changes in lifestyle involving meal composition, timings, and way of ingestion.
- Physical changes observed during Menarche, Menopause, and Post Delivery.
- Extreme climatic conditions involving very cold and hot temperatures.
- Multi-tasking – Involvement in multiple activities at the same time
Irregular schedule with untimely meals, erratic sleep and wake cycles.
- Suppression of urges such as urination, defecation, sneezing, belching, flatulence, and or sexual urges.
- Staying up late at night and insufficient sleep.
- Overexertion of the body through physical work or exercise.
Vichara – Mental State
- Excessive Stress and Anxiety
- Worry, fear, and loneliness
- Sadness and trauma
- Overstimulation of the senses
Bringing the balance back and pacifying aggravation ailments
The guiding principle of balancing is as simple as practicing directly opposite characteristics of Vata Dosha. This can be incorporated by numerous methods such as dietary change, physical activity, regulating daily routine, meditation, external treatments of massage, and aromatherapy.
Pranayama, the discipline of breath is one of the best lifestyle act to balance Vata along with following Vata balancing foods and health guidelines.
Additionally, all the reasons leading to Vata Dosha aggravation should be eliminated. However, the most important act to balance this Dosha includes maintaining a calm and scheduled lifestyle. This can be achieved by:
- The inclusion of moderate and calming physical activity such as yoga, swimming and walking.
- Prioritizing and focussing on a few tasks or things that really matter rather than investing oneself in multiple projects.
- Establishing and following a daily routine of activity, sleep, and food intake.
- Dietary changes and focusing on the opposite gunas such as warm, moist, heavy, and oily.
- Regular self-massage by warming oils such as sesame oil and ghee. In Ayurveda, it is known as Abhyanga.