Understanding Vata Dosha
Posted on October 31st, 2016
In Ayurveda there are three doshas – Vata, Kapha and Pitta. Dosha means fault or that which causes disease and decay. Every individual has a mixture of all three doshas, however, one is usually dominant. The goal is to balance the doshas through our actions, thoughts and deeds, so as to increase the essences, the positive aspect of the doshas.
As the doshas relate to the elements found in nature, balancing of the doshas is achieved by understanding the laws of nature, as well as adapting our routine depending on the time of day, season and where we are mentally and physically.
Vata is associated with the nervous system, and is found in the colon, lower back, hips, hollow organs, joints and bone cavities. As Vata dosha means wind, it the energy responsible for all our mental thoughts.
When Vata is in balance, one is creative, enthusiastic, lively and eager to learn and grow.
Due to it’s airy nature and composition of both air and ether element, Vata dosha is the most sensitive and susceptible to changes and is especially prone to go out of balance during the fall and winter months. Some of the signs when Vata is out of balance are inconsistency, dry skin, prone to anxiety, tends to start projects but never finishes them, irregular digestion, as well as insomnia.
Vata can be a tricky dosha to balance. Here are some tips to help keep Vata dosha balanced to achieve optimal health and balance:
1. Eat warm cooked meals:
Vata types do better eating healthy warm cooked foods rather than cold or raw foods. Diet should include plenty of vegetables and whole grains. Vata dosha is pacified by eating sweet, sour and salty tastes, avoiding bitter and astringent foods. Vata types tend to have problems with irregular digestion as well as difficulty passing stool. In Ayurveda, herbs like Hingwastak and Trikatu are recommended to counter the symptoms of gas and constipation.
Full body massage with warm sesame oil is great to increase moisture to the skin and pacify Vata. This should be followed by steam either in a hot shower, bath or steam room. Hot towels can also be used to wrap around the skin. The steam aids to remove toxins from the skin.
3. Grounding asana:
Yoga is all about the energy flow of our body. Asana should be adjusted for each individual as everyone is different. For Vata types, asana should include plenty of grounding postures like Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), Dandasana (staff pose) and Balasana (child’s pose). Vata types should hold the pose longer than they want to as their airy nature makes them want to move quickly from pose to pose. Understanding your constitution allows you to adapt your practice to the pace that is best for your dosha.
4. Strengthing asana
Vata types need to work on building strength and stability. Poses like Warrior I, Navasana (boat pose) and Parsvakonsana (extended side pose) should be practiced. I love balance poses as they engage the core and require focus which calms any thoughts. Balance can be tricky for Vata types so it might be best to practice against a wall for extra support. The movements should be slow and controlled. Breathing should be steady and even.
5. Spend time outside
All dosha types benefit from spending time in nature, especially Vata types. Spending time outside is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and fear. Activities like gardening is perfect for connecting to the earth and increasing grounding energy.
A regular meditation practice helps calm the mind’s fears and anxieties, allowing for peace and stillness. Begin to practice meditation daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes. When you go into stillness, remove all expectations for what you want the meditation to be. Remind yourself that you have plenty of time to think about your worries and fears, but this time is to heal your body.
I hope these tips help to calm your Vata dosha so that you can live life to the fullest! Love and light. Namaste. xo