Ayurveda is a holistic, health-care system that is designed to restore and maintain balance in the mind and body. Known as yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda is considered the world’s oldest healing modality. It provides a path of health and wellness that continues to help people stay vibrant and thriving. At its core is the principle of balance across three elemental mind-body states called doshas. The doshas each are associated with elements: Vata is associated with air and ether, pitta is associated with fire and water, and kapha is associated with earth and water.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT VATA DOSHA
Elements: Air and Ether
Qualities: dry, light, cold, mobile, rough, clear
Governs: Movement, change and mobility
Life Phase: Full maturity (age: 50) - death
Luna Phase- Dark moon
Season: Fall through mid- winter
Daily Cycle: 2pm- 6pm and 2am- 6am
Vata represents the energy of movement and is therefore closely aligned with the air element. It is the most subtle dosha arising from the elements of air and ether. Vata sets the rhythm. It is responsible for every movement in the body and in nature. It moves the heat of pitta and the fluid of kapha. Vata is the wind and is constantly on the move.
Vata is closely related to creativity, enthusiasm, positive emotions and brightness.
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF VATA
Vata is all about movement in the body and mind. Vata energy governs bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking and heartbeat. It moves menstruation down and out and moves the neurological functions of your brain and nerve impulses.
Vata people are usually tall, thin and lean towards slender in stature and musculature. They could also be very short and petite. They often have challenges around gaining or keeping weight on. Their bones tend to be longer, thinner and more frail, even protruding. Vata hair is often dry, rough, thin, could be curly and course. Skin is often very similar- often dry, rough and lackluster, subtle and translucent. Their face shape often more angular than round. Vata’s often have colder skin as their high vata increases coldness in the extremities. Eyes are often sunken, small, dry and active. Nails often dry and brittle.
Vata digestion, bile and enzymes can get blown out due to the dissipating energy of the wind. Vata types tend to eat erratically and skip meals, which further taxes their ability to digest and absorb nutrients. For this reason Vata’s tend to bloat. Due to dryness, vatas trend towards dehydration and constipation.
Due to lightness in the mind and erratic patterns, vatas tend toward sleep issues.
People with a lot of vata energy are creative, lively and enthusiastic; quick learners and easily adaptable. They tend to be expressive with every part of their body and need to be on the move. Often they are even more accident prone due to their constant and quick movement. They are easily excitable and
have a hard time being still.
Vata people love to be on the go, love to travel, appreciate spontaneity, adventure and random schedules.
Mentally and emotionally Vatas are highly creative. Their energy is often that of excitement, joy, imagination, intuition and inspiration. They are your best supporter and cheerleader. They step into the roles of artist, creator, writer, luminary, energy worker and psychics with ease.
WHEN VATA IS OUT OF BALANCE:
Too much vata creates mental imbalance and contributes to worry, anxiety, fear and doubt. Often a feeling of being unable to focus, feeling ungrounded, light headed, dizzy, insomnia and OCD and most mental disorders, are common imbalances with vata.
High vata in the body creates, dryness, restlessness, feelings of unease and insecurity. They often have dry skin and eyes, tend to get constipated easily, and suffer from gas and bloating. A few other imbalances in high vata are varicose veins, poor circulation, tremors, twitching and chronic pain.
Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons: vata season, which goes from late fall into early winter; kapha season, from the coldest, darkest part of winter into spring; and pitta season, the hottest time of year from late spring to early fall.
The transition from fall to winter, is dry, cold, windy, rough, light and erratic — qualities associated with the elements ether and air, and characteristics of vata (hence vata season). This means that there’s an excess of vata energy at this time that can easily lead to a vata imbalance, which can look like dry skin, constipation, insomnia or general spacey-ness. Statistics prove that car accidents and overall accidents are highest at this time of the year.
One of the driving principles of Ayurvedic medicine is that like increases like. If vata dominates your mind-body constitution, then chances are you will experience symptoms of a vata imbalance during vata season. (I’ve cut myself four times this past month while cooking) However, depending on where you live and what your seasons are like, it’s not uncommon for pitta and kapha- predominant types to show signs of a vata imbalance during this time of year.
The upside to like increases like, is that the increase of vata creates a heightened sensitivity to the subtle energies. It supports your intuitive nature, creativity, and psychic abilities. This time of the year is a great time to take advantage of the darkness and spend time turning inward, sleeping and rejuvenating. Slowing down and going inside during the vata winter nourishes, heals and strengthens the nervous system.
HOW TO BALANCE AND SUPPORT VATA DOSHA
• Establish routine and regularity- Every body, loves routine! Vata bodies NEED routine big time. A regular routine grounds and helps calm and settle the winds of vata. Starting with establishing a regular eating time and sleeping time is key for vatas. Eating meals and going to bed and waking up at roughly the same every day will give vatas the foundation to stand on so their creativity can fly and energy can dance.
• Nourish yourself- In vata season, fire up that crock pot that’s been gathering dust all summer. Eat warming and grounding foods to mitigate the dry, cold and light qualities of vata. Think one pot meals that are easy to digest- not just in this season, but always. According to Ayurvedic principles, vata season is the best time of year to eat animal protein. Try adding high-quality oils like good olive oil to your diet, and cooking with herbs such as turmeric, or turmeric powder, which is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and supports the immune system
• Get good sleep- Sleep for vata types is huge. As the days grow darker and darker, it’s a time of year to really restore the body. The time is changing, so one of the biggest things in the winter months is taking advantage of the darker days and getting some really good sleep. In general, vata types need good quality sleep. This helps your sensitive nervous system and high energy to be a source of power, and not taxing or overstimulating it, which can lead to burn out, anxiety and dis- ease.
• Give yourself some love- Daily self massage with oils is one of the most loving acts we can show ourselves. Use a high quality oil like sesame oil (not toasted!) or almond oil to use and massage your body for five plus minutes a day. It’ll moisturize your skin, help alleviate sore muscles and tight tendons, and is grounding for the nervous system. Use oil right before the shower and then let your skin absorb the oil while in the water.
• Move your body lots- Vata is all about movement- Vata season is supportive for gaining strength and building mass, but make sure to properly warm up; bodies become cold, tight, sore and more constricted. Things like hot yoga, saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and hot tubs are ideal for vata season (and would be aggravating during the hot summer months). Otherwise, doing moderate exercise regularly is important for vata types to move energy and feel good in your body.
• Connect to spirit- Wake up in Vata time (2am - 6am) This is considered to be the most creative, subtle and energetically expansive time of the day. This time is considered to be the the time when we can connect most with our spirit and truest potential. If you’re a writer, poet, or creator of any sort, you do not want to sleep through this time before the dawn. Use this time to get inspired, set intentions, pray, visualize, journal, and intentionally set yourself up for your day.
• Sit in silence- a.k.a. meditate. Take time every day to turn off and tune in. This will do wonders for a busy vata mind. Sitting still can be challenging for vatas so starting off slow, short and easy is the trick. Carve out time (even 5 minutes and build from there) everyday to just tune into your beingness and let your thoughts pass, strengthen your focus and connect to something greater than yourself.