In the previous article, I talked about Ayurvedic reference to elements of nature and how it impacts our life. In this article, I will go deeper into how when each of the elements mix together and go out of balance, the impact it has in our lives.
I always thought Ayurveda was a medical stream similar to Allopathy but Ayurveda is the science of life. It is not a curative health stream like Allopathy but more like a lifestyle. It has various routines listed out on how to lead a healthy and productive life and not just medicines. Unlike other diets and lifestyles suggested out there without considering your body type, Ayurveda heavily focuses on suggesting lifestyle based on the dominating elements in your body.
When the elements interact with each other, since human beings are not perfect, some of them go out of balance more readily than the other. This makes your unique constitution to start with.
Combination of air and ether is called Vata, fire and water is called Pitta, water and earth is called Kapha. You are born with a unique constitution of dosha which can be one or two or sometimes all the three.
In this article we will explore Vata Dosha in detail.
What is Vata Dosha?
Ayurveda has three major doshas based on five elements – ether, air, water, earth, fire and ten gunas – dry/oily, light/heavy, mobile/static, rough/smooth, cold/hot, clear/cloudy, hard/soft, liquid/dense, sharp/dull, subtle/gross. When you say that you have a dominant vata dosha, the elements of air and ether are in imbalance and you experience more of light, subtle, dry, rough, hard, clear, cold, and mobile gunas.
Role of Vata
Vata is responsible for hearing, nervous system, elimination, movement in the body, circulation of blood and lymph.
This translates to the fact that if you are experiencing issues with constipation and joint pains both of these have a single root cause which is an imbalance in vata. The difference between other medicinal streams and Ayurveda is that the root cause for multiple diseases can be easily identified with one single dosha.
How does Vata Dosha vary?
You might be born with a dominant Vata dosha or experience Vata based on age ( After 50 years as that stage of life is considered to be vata) or season ( Autumn is the season of vata) or time of the day ( 2pm – 6 pm & 2am -6am).
Even if it is none of the above, your lifestyle might make you a dominant Vata dosha person for a few days to a few years.
Circadian Rhythm of Vata
During the day, Vata operates between 2pm -6pm. These are the times for light activities. Since Vata is about air and ether, you should try activities which don’t demand a lot of concentration and grounding like brainstorming in the afternoon. During the early morning hours 2am-6am, this is the time when the nervous system is active and you end up remembering your dreams during these hours. It is considered the best time for activities like meditation.
Vata Dosha by birth – Prakruti/ Inherent Constitution
When you are born with a dominant Vata dosha, you have physical traits which depict coarse or curly hair, a small body frame, lean muscles and delicate facial features like thin lips, small eyes, or small teeth. Those with a higher proportion of vata tend to get cold easily and frequently experience dryness, such as in their skin or eyes. You have difficulty putting on weight. You feel cold quite easily.
Note that your dominant dosha could be more than one and to rightly constitute your dominant dosha check with a Nadi Ayurveda Practitioner. These qualities are only for reference.
Qualities of Vata Dosha
The combination of ether and air enables creative and spontaneous sides, but this blend can also heighten emotions like fear, indecisiveness, or worry. Vatas will gravitate toward such career paths as artists, creators, or jobs that require more movement than sitting. They can love to travel, be known as social butterflies, or generally enjoy change.
How to balance your Vata dosha?
While it may look like you got to balance all the three doshas, the first step is to balance your constitution you were born with. Later, you need to balance the other doshas which come up because of age, season or lifestyle. As someone with Vata dosha constitution, you need to not let Vata go out of balance because you are already dominant with this. Let’s say someone with Pitta dosha can eat raw food everyday and not experience problems in movement of gases but you who is already dominant in Vata will soon see an overflow of Vata with overeating of raw food.
Since Vata dosha is about elements of ether and air, you need to balance these two. Ether is the empty space where none of the other four elements are present. If you are completely packed in your schedule, create some free time. If your mind is completely clogged, meditate to clear and make space. Air is what moves. When there is too much air like a cyclone or tornado we know how destructive it can be. Similarly, too much or too little air movement in the body can make you feel an imbalance. Look for areas in life where there is lack of momentum and get started with those projects or if you have been moving around too much, consider staying home for a while to give that movement some rest.
Common techniques used in Ayurveda to balance Vata dosha
- Follow vata guidelines during the time of the day. Complete your elimination before 6 am and use afternoons for light brainstorming work.
- Practise yoga asanas which help in releasing the wind from the gut like Pawanamukta asana, ananda balasana.
- Create a routine of breathing exercises. Make sure that you do at least 5 minutes of Anulom Vilom.
- Use sesame oil for abhayanga (Self Massage)
- Drink A2 desi cow ghee on empty stomach. It helps in lining the gut
- Eat meals at regular intervals at the same time of the day
- Don’t drink water immediately before, during and immediately after eating food
- Triphala churna works best for balancing your Vata. Have a spoon of this in warm water before sleeping
- Avoid processed and cold food or drinks
- Sleep on the left side of your body
You can follow the above tips even if you are experiencing Vata imbalance because of a seasonal change.
Happy Balancing Vata Dosha!