• Understanding Vata: Movement and Creativity

    Dominant elements: Air & Space

    Dominant principle: Movement

    Qualities of Vata:

    • Dry
    • Cold
    • Light
    • Subtle
    • Mobile
    • Rough
    • Changeable
    • Irregular

    General Characteristics

    • Mobility Vata people are generally quick in their actions and this includes fast walking and fast speech. They are generally restless and like travelling.
    • Dryness - There is a general dryness in the body - such as dry hair, nails and skin.  Vata people are susceptible to conditions like psoriasis and dry eczema. 
    • Coldness  - Vata people dislike cold weather. They tend to have cold feet and hands and have an inclination towards poor circulation.
    • Lightness - Vata people are generally underweight with a thin physique and prominent tendons and veins. They tend to be light sleepers.
    • Roughness - Vata people generally have thin, rough, cracked skin (i.e. bottom of their feet), brittle hair and nails, chapped lips. They have cracking joints.
    • Irregularity - Teeth are generally irregular. Pronounced asymmetry in the body. Appetite and digestion are variable. Vata people are prone to constipation.

    Physical Characteristics

    People with Vata dominant constitution are generally either very tall or very short. They have a thin body frame and narrow shoulders and/or hips. Their arms or legs may seem unusually short or, more often, unusually long. They tend to have long fingers and toes. Their bones are generally very light and small or very heavy with prominent or protruding joints, tendons and veins on their limbs. In balance, Vata promotes natural leanness in the body. Some Vata people find it hard to gain weight. Vata people are known for wide variations in their weight and usually store most of their fat around their midriffs.

    Emotional Characteristics

    Vata people are creative and sensitive. They have good imagination and enjoy day dreaming. Vata people are generally good at multi-tasking. They have a very good grasping ability but have a short-term memory. They react quickly to changes in their circumstances and are exceptionally changeable themselves. They resist regularity in their lives because their active minds demand constant stimulation. When their energy is high they can be the life of the party, but burn out quickly. Sometimes they crave companionship and other times demand solitude. They usually make friends easily but their friendships are short-lived. They love to travel for fun. Vata's hyper-adaptability gives them flexibility and a potential for detachment, but also tends to make them chaotic and 'spacey'. They find it difficult to concentrate on any subject and often fail to complete the projects they start. Vata people recognise the need for self-development but are rarely consistent with any one program. They are not very bold and generally nervous, fearful and anxious. They have the ability to earn a good amount of money but tend to spend it quickly.

    Vata in Balance

    A balance of vata in the body brings comfortable movement, regular breathing, a consistent appetite, normal bowel function, positive enthusiasm, healthy desire, good energy, a calm mind and inspirational creativity.

    Vata out of Balance

    With an excess of vata, you may lose weight, experience piercing pains or spasms, numbness, dry skin, dehydration, excessive bloating, erratic digestion or insomnia. Too little vata and you may feel sluggish and lazy, you may become increasingly fearful, anxious, lonely and depressed. Later in life, vata may bring diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

    Causes of Vata Imbalances

    • Stress, fear, anxiety, worries, loneliness, grief
    • Dry, cold, light, rough substances or foods
    • Spicy, bitter, astringent tastes
    • Autumn
    • Dry, cold, windy weather
    • Ageing
    • Excess travelling
    • Faulty food combinations
    • Excess coffee
    • Smoking
    • Skipping meals
    • Excessive running
    • Psychological trauma
    • Prolonged fasting
    • Excessive working
    • Over-exercising
    • Staying up late

    Symptoms of Vata Imbalance

    • Insomnia,  fatigue, anxiety, rigidity, panic attacks, excessive thinking
    • Constipation, gas, bloating
    • Lower back ache
    • Arthritis
    • Muscle fatigue
    • Tremors, twitches, tics, spasms
    • difficulty tolerating loud noises and crowds 
  • "There is an innate innocence in the conscious Vata personality. A delicate, sensitive, and aware nature reveal the graceful Vata component of any type."

    - Maya Tiwari

  • How to Balance VATA

    Routine, Warmth, Serenity, Nourishment

    General Guidance for Vata Pacifying Diet

    • Foods that are naturally sweetsour, and salty in taste
    • Warm foods, both energetically and in temperature. Whole, freshly cooked foods
    • Warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin
    • Plenty of room temperature or warm drinks
    • A generous amount of high-quality oils or ghee in your daily diet
    • Routine times for your meals
    • Eating your meal in a peaceful environment
    • Foods that are bitterastringent, and pungent
    • Foods that are cooling, both energetically and in temperature
    • Dry and light foods (e.g. popcorn and crackers)
    • Too much raw food, especially in the mornings and evenings (salads, carrot sticks, raw fruit, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, etc.)
    • Most beans, including cold soy products
    • Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, "TV" dinners or pastries)
    • Cold or carbonated drinks
    • Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants
    • Overeating or eating very heavy meals
    • Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice within ½ hour of any other food
    • Deep fried foods

    General Guidelines for a Vata-Pacifying Lifestyle

    • A regular, daily routine with regular times for eating, sleeping, working, etc
    • A daily 10–20 minute self-massage with ½ cup warm sesame oil
    • A gentle exercise routine that includes a calm, stretch-focused form of yoga, Tai qi (tai chi), qi gong (chi gong), walking, swimming about five times per week
    • Be certain that your bowels move regularly on a daily basis
    • Keeping warm, no matter what the weather
    • Sweet, soothing music, smells, scenes and company
    • Favour warm colours in your clothing and environment such as earth colours, pastels, browns, and warm yellows
    • Favour aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm. Examples include basil, bay, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, frankincense, lavender, pine, sage, and vanilla
    • Vata-reducing oils
    • Vata-reducing herbs and remedies