Vata dosha is like the wind, constantly moving things around. It is the energy behind all movement in our body, including nerve impulses and involuntary actions like breathing. It is a subtle and sensitive dosha that can easily fall out of balance and, because of its force of movement, can affect the other doshas.
Elements: Air and Ether.
Qualities: Dry, rough, light, cold, subtle, mobile.
Season: Fall/early Winter.
Physical characteristics of Vata dosha:
A Vata person will generally be thin and can be short or tall, with a small frame and prominent joints. They usually have smaller eyes, dry skin, dry or frizzy hair, and long fingers with brittle nails. Their metabolism is variable. A Vata does well in warm, humid climates.
Mental/Emotional characteristics of Vata dosha:
Just like the wind, a Vata person is considered very changeable. They are usually fast paced walkers and talkers who love to travel. They are intuitive, imaginative, and creative; many artists are Vata people. Vatas have a busy mind, constantly moving in circles and often thinking in the future. They tend to be worriers and can be quite indecisive.
Signs of Vata Imbalance:
- Dryness of skin, hair, eyes, etc.
- Bloating, gas, or constipation.
- Light-headed or dizziness.
- Weight loss.
- Cold body and poor circulation.
- Racing mind, restlessness, and fidgeting.
- OCD, bipolar, or manic depression.
Causes of Vata Imbalance:
- Fall and early Winter (dry, cold weather).
- A diet too high in dry, light, bitter, or astringent foods.
- Eating or drinking many cold items.
- Overstimulation (loud noises, harsh light, lots of TV).
- Erratic lifestyle and schedule.
- Excessive fasting or dieting.
- Lack of sleep.
- Excessive exercise.
- Stress, fear, insecurity, and anxiety.
Tips for balancing Vata:
Vata people (or those currently experiencing an excess of Vata dosha) need to seek foods and habits that are warming, moistening, and grounding in order to balance out their cold, light, and dry qualities. They should avoid raw or dried foods and cook with plenty of ghee, butter, or coconut oil. Foods should be sweet, spiced, and heavy; choose root vegetables, sweet fruits, dairy, nuts and plenty of animal protein. For example, popcorn is not a very good Vata snack because it is light and dry. You could improve it by smothering it in grass fed butter but a better choice would be something heavy and moist like rice pudding or a muffin with nut butter.
Vatas should avoid super fast paced exercise and opt for more calming, grounding practices like yoga or walking. Stability and routine are key to bringing Vata dosha into balance. Though they may have a hard time winding down at night, it is very important to prioritize sleep; warm milk with nutmeg and a touch of sweetener, or some chamomile tea before bed can really help pacify their restless energy. A Vata person can massage the body with oil every day to combat dryness and should dress warmly, especially on cold and windy days.
Does this sound familiar? Do you think you might be a Vata? Take my Dosha Quiz to find out!