Vata Dosha • Air & Ether

Image by Yoann Boyer

Image by Yoann Boyer

Vata, pitta, and kapha, these three are eternally present in the body of living beings either as normal or abnormal. The learned one should know them.
— Caraka Samhita Ch 17 : V 48

Vata dosha is the biological energy of air & ether (space) in the organic world. The word Vata literally translates to ‘that which moves things’ and is the depleting action in nature. This dynamic dosha is the root of 80% of all imbalances because it is the force that moves itself and the other two doshas and is often referred to as the ‘King Dosha’, not for being better than the other two, but for its influence within nature.

The Qualities of Vata

Identifying the doshas through their qualities helps us to better witness each dosha and become aware of when we are experiencing its expressions around us and within us. Vata dosha is expressed through the qualities of: dry, rough, light, cold, subtle, and mobile.

We can witness these qualities in nature: brittle leaves falling from the trees in Autumn, the cold wind in the winter, the subtle touch of a summer breeze on our skin, along with more extreme expressions such as hurricanes & tornadoes.

We can also witness these qualities in ourselves both in and out of balance: creative thinking, communicative, empathic, bit also anxious, insomnia, and variable moods.

The locations of Vata

Time of Day: 2:00am - 6:00am & 2:00pm - 6:00pm there is increased qualities of Vata. This is why the yogi’s and sages wake early in the morning to meditate as the veil is more subtle between the manifest and unmanifest.

Time of Year: The seasons of Autumn & early Winter

In the Body: The seat of Vata is in the Colon but also governs the nervous system, nerve tissue, brain & motor skills, ears, joints, bones, breathing, circulation, and elimination. Many imbalances of Vata originate from the Colon and spread to these other Vata dominate body parts and functions.

The Appearance of Vata

Observe what qualities within you and those around you express the dosha of Vata

  • Irregular characteristics such as a crooked nose, gap teeth, large ears

  • Dark hair

  • Dark red lips

  • Dry or pale colored tongue (important for tongue diagnosis)

  • Small bone structure

  • Tends toward underweight

  • Dry skin, wrinkles

  • Dry & brittle hair

  • Small, dark eyes


Vata in Balance

In balance Vata types are creative, communicative, and social individuals who can creative problem solve and initiate outside the box ideas. They tend to be sensitive, empathetic, and spiritual as they can tune in with energy and the subtle planes with ease. Vata types are spontaneous and adaptable and tend towards having many interests, hobbies, and may change their career many times. Light hearted and enthusiastic Vata types want to have a good time, with good people, and experience life as it unfolds for them.

Ways to encourage balance:

  • Eat a Vata pacifying diet that reduces dry, light, crunchy foods and foods that are heavy in the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes

  • Use color therapy with reds, yellows, and oranges and gemstones such as carnelian and citrine

  • Essential Oils that are warming and ground like Vetiver, Frankincense, Lavender, and Orange

  • Spend time in Nature & in Sunshine

  • Create a structured yet flexible routine

  • Meditation, concentration, and breath exercises

  • Take naps

  • Workout to 70% capacity. Ideal exercise is thai chi/qi gong, slow flow yoga, walking in nature, and swimming

Vata out of balance

Out of balance Vata types are susceptable to anxiety, nervousness, and panic disorders due to their sensitivity. They can become restless in mind and body and can lead to distracted thinking and ticks in the body. They can become emotionally volatile and this may lead to lack of commitment and ability to remain consistent in life or more severally they may succumb to addiction as they try to cope. Common day-to-day signs of excess Vata would be poor memory retention, disorganization, impulsiveness, ‘spacey’ mind, fatigue and procrastination.

Ways to create an imbalance:

  • Suppressing creative expression

  • Living inauthentically

  • Eating on the go

  • Eating while anxious

  • Eating Vata aggravating foods (see in balance list for qualities)

  • Not having a regular routine

  • Frequent travel

  • Excessive sensory stimulation: scrolling, blue screens, always having background noise like music or TV

  • Smoking, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Drugs

  • Over exercising

Note if your lifestyle is more reflective of the in or out of balance practices and how that is making you feel in your mind and body. Are you experiencing an excess of Vata dosha? You can begin to make simple swaps in your routine immediately to begin negating any expressions of excess Vata. If you relate with being a Vata type or have excess Vata it is important to remember that Vata is movement, it is untethered, and it is expansive. To enjoy the benefits of these qualities it is important to practice stillness, to find grounding touch points in your day, and create a daily structure that allows for both routine and spontaneity.

Mantras of Vata

My super power is my creativity & individuality

I am rooted so that I can rise

I inspire and expand the potential of myself and others