We are all a mixture of all 3 doshas and all 5 elements. The balance of these changes as we go through life, whilst one is generally more ‘dominant’ it does not always mean that this will be the case. It may be helpful to complete a dosha questionnaire every now and again to see what your balance is. Please connect with me to receive a free questionnaire.
The elements associated with Vata are air and ether. Vata means ‘that which moves.’ This is largely referring to movement in the body as a whole and with digestion. The qualities of Vata are dry, mobile, light, quick and bright. The air and ether of Vata gives movement both to the internal and external body and the mind.
The tastes associated with Vata are sweet, salty and pungent. Therefore sweet, salty pungent foods can increase Vata. Foods which can increase Vata include onions, garlic, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. To decrease Vata we need to eat less pungent, sweet and salty foods.
When in balance Vata is creative, intelligent, and sees beyond the obvious to alternative methods and approaches to life. The body is slender and the mind can be scattered and lack focus.
In excess Vata can physically create too much ‘movement’ in the body, commonly with symptoms of air such as indigestion, bloating, excess gas, irritable bowel syndrome and other air related conditions. The seat of Vata is said to be the lower abodomen, large intestines. Vata often forget to eat and have an irregular eating patten. The imbalance and excess movement will eventually spread around the whole body creating disease. Psychologically an excess of Vata will create anxiety, a sense of ungroundedness and an inability be still and rest. This commonly leads to insomnia. All of this excess movement can eventually led to physical and psychological burnout, fatigue and complete exhaustion.
When we don’t have enough Vata we can feel stuck and uninspired, lacking a sense of creativity and imagination. To increase Vata we DO NOT start eating sugar, drinking excess alcohol or caffeine! We can gently increase with a good daily structured routine, realistic goal setting and enjoying warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin and coriander and grounding sweet vegetable such as carrot and beetroot.
To reduce or avoid excess Vata we need to avoid the foods which increase this dosha. We still need the sweet flavour in our food because this is very nurturing for Vata, but we can find this in sweet vegetables or honey and warming rather than stimulating spices (as above). Because of its dry nature Vata also benefits from oil in dressing with food or in food as well as from oil on the body and massage.
We can practice Vata calming breathing such as nadi shodhana (alternate nostril). Movement can be grounding and restorative. If the need to keep moving is strong then walking outdoors and connecting to nature is helpful, without overdoing things.
The season for Vata (in northern europe) is largely autumn and early winter, when the climate is cool, fresh and breezy. During this time we are more prone to feeling cold and stiff in the body, so it is important to keep warm and to eat lots of foods (see above) which help to avoid Vata building up and becoming too dominant in the body and mind.
The time of day for Vata is 2am – 6am and 2pm -6pm. If we wake in the ight and are unable to sleep this is generally between 2am-6am because of the Vata energy creating restlessness in the mind. In the afternoon, if we have eaten our main meal in the middle of the day (as for Pitta) then we will feel grounded and be energised to use our Vata creativity in the afternoon time.
Consider your Vata! What do you notice about the qualities or patterns described in your body or mind or fluctuations at the different seasons or times of day?