What is Vata Dosha?
So you took a dosha quiz, perhaps found out you’re a vata, but still don’t quite understand what that means. Ayurveda seems interesting and cool, and you'd like to start implementing some of its holistic practices into your life to experience more health, peace, and joy. But where should you start?
Firstly, in order to align your lifestyle with a holistic-minded practice like Ayurveda (EYE-yer-VAY-duh), you have to know your personal constitution. Put simply, your constitution is your unique makeup of the doshas.
Which brings us to an important question: what’s a dosha?
The doshas are the three physical forces formed by the five elements, which create specific qualities and tendencies within us and the world.
The three doshas are kapha (water and earth), pitta (fire and water), and vata (air and ether). We tend to be dominant in one, maybe two, but everyone has (and needs) each dosha within them. Over the course of the next several weeks, we'll be diving into all the doshas. Hopefully by learning about the doshas and examining them within your own self, you'll be able to act in a way that supports ultimate balance in your body and life. If you don't know your dosha, you can take my quiz here.
Today we’re looking at vata-- the end of the cycle and a symbol for transformation.
Vata season is fall-early winter; the end of the seasonal year, moving into death.
Vata time of day is 2pm-6pm; the end of the day, transitioning into night.
Vata is the last stage of digestion; moving out of the body.
Vata time of life is after menopause, or roughly the age of retirement; our final cycle in the physical body.
Vata is comprised of air and ether elements, which govern all movement in the body. It’s the air and space inside us, as well as the energetic force responsible for circulation, elimination, and nerve impulses. The subtle movements of thought and personal expression are also tied to the elements of vata dosha.
The qualities of air and ether are dry, light, cold, mobile, flowing, subtle, and sharp. These qualities show up in our physical bodies and features, mental tendencies, and personality.
Our vata nature is our creativity, enthusiasm, excitability, inspiration, and movement. Too much vata in the mind-body can cause lack of focus, insomnia, fear, anxiety, constipation, general dryness in the body, tremors, and tics. If excess vata is left unchecked for a long time, it can cause serious mental instabilities and personality disorders, but that’s a very rare and extreme case.
The vata body type is ectomorph: thin, narrow, with difficulty gaining weight— even if their appetite is steady and strong. Generally, a vata dominant person switches between forgetting to eat meals because they're so engaged in what they're doing, and having a super strong appetite that they can no longer ignore.
A telltale sign of excess vata in the body is bloating, gas, and constipation. If you have a lot of vata, you may also have prominent bones that crack a lot, dry skin, and cold hands and feet. The chief symptom of imbalanced vata dosha is physical pain (particularly nerve and joint pain).
The vata-dominant person is like a butterfly; friendly, independent, inspiring, and artistic. They have a bunch of awesome, innovative ideas flowing through their head all the time, and when they settle down to make one happen, they create real beauty and meaningful work. Vata types are the people who have multiple projects going on at one time, some of which may never get finished. But that's okay. In their eyes, life is too fun and exciting to get bogged down.
Vata personalities reflect the qualities of air and ether. They talk fast, move a lot, and may be described as having their head in the clouds. Generally, they're easy-breezy and lighthearted. When they feel evoked, they may become harsh or turn a cold shoulder toward others.
When under stress, vatas tend to become anxious and fearful, and may have trouble sleeping at night due to overanalyzing and worrying. Vata people will benefit greatly from having some form of structure, such as specific meal times every day, a semi-predictable work schedule, and grounded practices like meditation and abhyanga (self-oil massage).
Vata's primary location in the body is the small intestine, but can also be found in the hips, pelvic organs, bones, nerves, ears, and colon.
Remember, we all have (and need) every dosha within us. Most people don’t resonate 100% with any one dosha, because we are a unique combination of all three.
AN IMPORTNAT NOTE:
The doshas fluctuate within us all the time. You may be a pitta dominant person by original nature, but due to environmental factors and lifestyle habits, you may start experiencing anxiety or constipation, for instance.
In order to pacify the excess vata and come back to balance, you'll have to change some of your habits (diet, exercise, relationships, etc.). More on this in the upcoming weeks. :)
Knowing which doshas are dominant or out of balance within us is the first step to feeling good in our body and mind again. This is just a summary of the vata dosha and isn’t intended to diagnose or treat anyone. Book a personal consultation with me for a deeper analysis of your doshic constitution, and together we can work on your personal healing journey.
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