What's a Vata?

In Ayurveda, an ancient healing tradition, there are three mind-body types. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each type is predisposed to certain physical, mental and emotional tendencies. Vata types are primarily comprised of the elements air and space. “Vata” translates literally into “that which moves things”.

Physiologically, Vata governs anything to do with movement, such as breathing, elimination, the movement of blood and nerve impulse.

Physically, those with a strong Vata constitution will generally be on the thin side with very little muscle mass. They may be unusually tall or small. Vatas tend to have thin dry skin and the veins and joints are quite prominent. Their hair is often dry and brittle, tangling easily.

Vata movement is quick. Eyes are smallish and active, often darting quickly from one thing to another. Vata types will often have cold, dry feet and hands. Due to the dryness, they tend to age and wrinkle prematurely.

Vata's Beneficial Qualities

The up side of being vata dominant is a dynamic and inspirational character. People with alot of vata are creative and enthusiastic. They are intelligent and can pick up information quickly. They are great communicators and like to talk. They have excellent imaginations. They excel in coming up with new ideas. In balance, Vatas are clear-minded and even clairvoyant.

Vatas like to be on the move, seldom sitting still. They love travel and change. It is not uncommon for Vata types to have several jobs (sometimes at once) and change their decor often. They are easily bored and don’t like to stay in any one place for too long. They are easily excited and quick to act. This can sometimes get them into trouble as they are spontaneous and may not always think things through.

Vata’s make great teachers, artists, musicians, consultants, counselors, healing arts practitioners and other professions requiring creativity and communication skills.

Air Overload

When out of balance, in other words, when there is an overload of the air and space elements it can lead us to be forgetful, easily distracted and disorganized. A vata overload can lead to poor planning and spontaneous decisions to a fault. This often leads to economic hardship.

Vata types are prone to over thinking and worry normally, but when there is too much vata we can become anxious and fearful. There is a tendency towards insomnia, constipation, headaches, muscle stiffness, gas, bloating and chronic fatigue.

Vata tends to be the first dosha to go out of balance. It is also most easily brought back into balance.

Balancing Vata

In order to balance the elements of space and air, we need to find ways to ground and steady ourselves. Vata types easily get spaced out if they eat while anxious or depressed, eat on the run, have too many late nights and travel excessively. Below are a few key tips for keeping Vatta in balance.

  • Follow a daily routine
  • Eat in a peaceful, calm environment
  • Do gentle physical movement such as Yoga, Tai Chi or walking
  • Eat warm and nourishing food like soups and stews (avoid too much raw cold veggies and dry foods like popcorn)
  • Follow creative and artistic passions
  • Establish a bedtime routine and get to bed early
  • Meditate daily
  • Stay warm
  • Get out in nature
  • Massage entire body daily with oils (sesame is good for Vata. Consider adding warming essential oils like lavender and cinnamon)

This blog is an excerpt from the Take the Journey Guide Book.