An Introduction to Vata Dosha
by Anne-Sophie Eckert
Are you a creative person who struggles to find stability? Or a restless type who loves to talk? If so, then you might have Vata Dosha dominating your Ayurvedic constitution. Vata Dosha is the king of the Doshas; it brings movement, rhythm, and impulse, or in other words, it brings life.
If you are not familiar with the terms ‘Doshas’ or ‘Prakriti’, why don’t you start by reading our blog post about the three Doshas of Ayurveda? Otherwise, let’s continue with our exploration of Vata Dosha in relation to the body, mind, and life in general.
The Qualities of Vata
According to Ayurveda, Vata Dosha is linked to the elements of air and space. It allows spaciousness and can create a sense of freedom as well as emptiness.
Vata’s main qualities are dry, light, cold and mobile. Just like the wind, Vata is a subtle force that allows movement to happen. This is why it is referred to as the ‘King of the Doshas’.
Without Vata Dosha there is no action. Both Pitta and Kapha Dosha need Vata’s impulse to function. But Vata is also the most unstable of the Doshas, and it is from an excess of Vata Dosha that most diseases arise.
Vata people are usually very short or very tall people. Their stature is rather athletic or skinny, think marathon runners or models.
Vata types usually have dry skin which is sometimes accompanied by roughness. They are also more prone to cracking joints and osteoporosis. This is due to the air and space elements that bring dryness and lightness when in excess.
The metabolism of Vata individuals varies; sometimes they digest well, sometimes they struggle with constipation due to Vata’s dryness. Vata people can skip meals easily, as irregularity is a common attribute in their life.
Vata people have a tendency to stay away from cold drinks or food. They usually crave warm soups and warm beverages like tea or coffee. Ayurveda recommends Vatas drink herbal tea rather than coffee, which can bring even more dryness to their bodies.
People with a dominant Vata dosha are generally enthusiastic, light, and creative. They are easily adaptable and open to new experiences. Additionally, they are active and like to move, which makes them good dancers. Their spontaneity sometimes leads them to rush and spend their money recklessly. If they manage to find stability and integrate routines, they will enjoy meditation and can easily connect with their spirituality.
Vata types can get restless and forget to eat, which can hurt their frequently changing digestion even more. Because of their love of activity, they tend to have sleep disorders.
Vata Season and Life Cycles
Vata is also the force behind rhythms and is present in every type of transition. In our daily lives, Vata is present during sunrises and sunsets and throughout each change of season. Autumn is known as “Vata Season”. During this time of the year, dryness and cold sensations dominate, and the weather can be unstable.
How to handle a Vata imbalance
Increased Vata Dosha can manifest in different ways, depending on the person. You can feel cold more easily, have an astringent taste in your mouth, dark discolouration in the eyes or skin, insomnia, anxiety, or pain in the body.
Nourishing and well-cooked food like grains or root vegetables are beneficial to reduce Vata in the body. The lightness of Vata Dosha can come with the need to feel grounded, which is why Vata people can sometimes indulge in food to release stress and anxiety and feel more grounded. For Ayurvedic tips on how to release stress and anxiety, you can read this blog post.
Travelling as well as a lack of sleep can contribute to an increase of Vata Dosha. If you have to travel, bring a blanket with you to make sure to stay warm during your trip, and once at your destination be sure to massage your feet with some warm sesame oil.
Vatas benefit greatly from calming, grounding, strengthening, and balancing practices. Practicing Ashtanga Yoga and other structured techniques help to keep Vata stabilized as they bring stability and routine while Vinyasa or flow sequences tend to move too quickly from one pose to the next and can aggravate Vata’s mobile quality. To be more Vata pacifying you can adjust your practice with slow movements and long transitions.
Anne-Sophie is an Ayurveda Practitioner Training student at Delight Academy. She also is also a lawyer, a dancer, and a yogini. She has lived in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and has now settled in the Netherlands with her son and partner. Her aspiration is to spread the beautiful wisdom of Ayurveda and collaborate with students and practitioners all around the world. She has been finding inspiration in Vedic sciences and philosophy including Yoga, Vedanta, Vedic Astrology, and Ayurveda.