Vata Dosha is the energetic force in the body that is made up of the Air (Vayu) and Space (Akasha) elements. It is said to govern all movement in the body, including circulation, respiration, elimination, perception, and sensation. Being of Air and Space, the qualities Vata possesses are rough, dry, light, mobile, clear, subtle, and cold. Hence, an individual with a predominant Vata constitution or prakruti, as it is known in Ayurveda, will also possess these qualities. For example, Vata individuals often have low body weight (light quality), dry skin (dry quality), restless mind (mobile quality), and cold hands and feet (cold quality).
Vata individuals are often quick in thought and have a hard time staying focused on any particular task. They are quite imaginative and creative beings, but their restless minds may get in the way of accomplishing their dreams. Like their overactive mind, their metabolism is also overactive, meaning Vata individuals tend to be underweight by nature. They are often extremely tall or otherwise very petite. Vata can be quite irregular, and it may manifest as an asymmetry in the body, such as uneven eyes, a crooked nose or crooked limbs. Since dry is another quality of Vata, an individual may have extremely dry, rough, flaky skin, as well as dry, kinky hair.
Vata is said to be mobile by nature, and a person of a Vata constitution may find themselves in constant travel, relocating or restless otherwise. They may feel the need to change jobs, partners or paths often as well. Since change is so predominant to Vata, constant movement will actually create imbalance for these individuals, and in fact, routine and stability is what they really need. Without this regularity, they will continue on this restless path and will find it hard to ever stand still and be content.
Emotionally, Vata individuals will tend toward anxiety, worry, and fear when in distress. Vata’s main home is in the colon, so individuals with a Vata imbalance may experience gas, bloating or constipation. Both their appetite and digestion tend to be irregular. Vata individuals will do best when eating a diet of mainly well cooked, warm, nourishing foods, such as oatmeal, porridges, soups, stews, kitchari, meat broths, dals, basmati rice and cooked veggies. Raw, dry and cold foods should be avoided.
Common Signs of a Vata Imbalance
- Gas and bloating
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty sleeping throughout the night
- High anxiety, worry, and fear
- Quickly fluctuating emotions
- Restless mind
- Extra sensitive nervous system
- Dry, rough skin and hair
- Poor circulation (cold hands and feet)
- Popping or cracking joints
- Menstrual Irregularities
- Low back pain