Let’s start our excursion into the realms of Ayurveda with the first dosha, Vata!
Vata’s main principle is movement and the elements it consists of in nature are air and space. When we think of the wind we find the right description for Vata’s qualities. These are actually the most important keywords to keep in mind because we can use these qualities then to find Vata in our food or our body.
moving, light, dry, cool, rough, irregular, fine, quick, formless
A person with a dominant Vata can be (it does not have to be the whole list, since we are all unique!):
- thin and delicate build
- bony and lean muscles
- tendons and veins stand out
- either very short or very tall
- light weight, often difficulties to gain weight
- dry skin and hair
- quick, undirected movements
- irregular hunger
- poor digestion
- prefer warm and humid climate
- quick in learning but also forgetting
- emotionally sensitive and empathic
- can sense energies and emotions quite well
- great ability to adapt to changes
- creative and intuitive
- very communicative
- need a lot of sleep and tend to be disturbed easily while sleeping
In the body itself we can find Vata governing the following aspects:
- nerve tissues and brain
- bones and joints
- skin, ears (hearing sense)
As Vata is the principle of movement it is essential for all processes, which includ moving (food elimination and urination as well).
Now let’s have a look like a balanced individual with a dominant Vata dosha will look like:
creative, artistic/ strong communication and enthusiastic / perceptive, sensitive and compassionate with heightened intuitive abilities
But what about a Vata-person out of balance? Since Vata is most importantly in the mind and brain, a person with an imbalance will:
overly active thinkers, fearful and anxious, restless / addictive behaviour/ quick to judge/ jumpy, moody and volatile/disorganised and confused, impatient
It is important to understand that in Ayurveda every doshic imbalance can lead to some kind of pathology over time. For Vata we can find that in the joints and the digestive system like the following:
- arthritis and muscle stiffness
- blood pressure issues and heart diseases
- headaches, ringing ears, tinnitus
- dry skin
- insomnia and chronic fatigue
- constipation, gas and bloating
NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE
Ok, so we have covered the main aspects of Vata dosha, now let’s get real ! 🙂 What to eat and how to stay healthy and well as a Vata-person?
In this graph you have a very general rule of how to split up the components of your meals. Even more important is to balance the qualities above (dry, cold, light) with the food you eat. That means eat food which is hot, liquid, oily and heavy. This includes the tastes of sweet, sour and salty.
Since Vata-people have a weak digestion, you should preferably eat warm and cooked food, and avoid raw stuff. Usually Vata-people tend to skip breakfast because of their poor digestion but it is very beneficial for them to eat a small warm dish, like porridge with nuts for example (to kick-start the digestive fire!). Avoid eating on the go and while under stress because it raises Vata in the body even more.
Here you can find a list of foods from different categories for your dosha, which I can highly recommend because it is very detailed.
Let me give you a few last tips for your life-style to pacify your Vata 🙂 :
- eat in a peaceful environment
- follow a regular daily routine
- go to bed early
- do gentle exercise like swimming (or other water-connected sports), yoga, Tai Chi
- follow artistic and creative passions
- when in cold season (autumn/winter) massage yourself using warm sesame oil
- take warm baths and keep warm in general!
- journal to keep track of your thoughts
- use lavender and cinnamon scent to calm down your mind before sleeping
So this was my small introduction to Vata dosha. Of course, there is way more to write about every dosha but since I only want to give you a taste of it, that’s it for now! 🙂
Enjoy, try out what works for you and see you in the next chapter about Pitta….