For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to determine the best way to open the discussion about Ayurveda. Then it hit me – we are in the middle of vata season, so it is the perfect time to explain this dosha!
In a previous blog, I gave an overview of the three doshas. You can read it here, but let’s dive into vata.
Understanding the basics of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is simply the science of life on earth and the doshas represent the combinations of the 5 main elements in humans. Those five elements are:
- Ether: space. This element is lighter than air – think about astronauts – they are floating through ether.
Vata dosha explained
Vata is the combination of ether and air, and if translated from Sanskrit, means wind and movement. As you can see from the picture above, that most of the aspects of the vata body type are related to movement in some way. While movement is good, having too much of this dosha can be a bad thing. Let’s look at how vata reveals itself in different aspects of a person’s life.
Physical components of vata
One of the easiest ways to recognize that vata is your prominent dosha is to look at your frame. Most vatas will have a light frame and will have a tough time gaining weight. Other physical signs include:
- Dry skin
- Thin, dry hair
- Cold hands and feet
- Quick bursts of energy
- Sleep is light
- Sensitive digestion
When in balance, vatas can use these characteristics to their advantage. A sign of this is increased productivity at work or home. Becoming unbalanced, however, has serious repercussions such as:
- Weight loss
Mental components of vata
People who have vata as their dominant dosha are extraordinary because they are very creative, energetic and can spark conversation with almost anyone about anything. Energy is constantly flowing through them.
When there is too much vata in your body, however, you experience things like:
- Anxiety (thoughts moving too much),
- Talkativeness (do you know anyone who talks non-stop?),
- Memory issues (trying to take in too much information at once and nothing sticks).
Taming vata imbalances through nutrition
The great thing about Ayurveda is that not only does tell us about the doshas, it gives us the information we need to remain in balance and live the best life possible!
Remember that vata is wind and wind moves best when there is very little to interfere with it. So, logically, the best way to tame vata is to put obstacles in its path. Here are some food groups that effectively block excessive vata activity:
- Nuts: cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc. all contain healthy fats that can stop excess vata in your body
- Lean meats: organic, family farmed beef, chicken and fish contain protein that fill you up, preventing excess air from wrecking havoc on your body
- Healthy oils: if aren’t a fan of eating nuts, adding healthy oils to your meals, like olive and coconut, initiate the same grounding feeling as nuts would
- Dairy: low fat and full fat dairy foods are another great option. You’ll also get the calcium to strengthen your bones!
- Warming spices: spices that have a hearing effect – you know when you eat them and your body suddenly feels warmer – are perfect for vata imbalances. Ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric and red pepper flakes are great starting points.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how the Vata dosha impacts your body, you can take small steps to to regain and maintain optimal health! Combining any of the foods mentioned above is also a good tool. Try a warm cup of milk with ginger and turmeric, if you don’t want a full meal.
What are some of the ways you can think of to balance any excess vata you are experiencing?