I hope you enjoyed taking the Dosha Quiz from the September issue. Wasn’t it interesting to know your body type, and maybe a bit confusing to understand what it means? It often happens that we feel, “Oh! I am a Vata, sometimes Kapha and more Pitta.” Or,”Oh! I wish I could have been more Pitta or Kapha and less of Vata.”
However, I was more excited to write this article, as many of you have guessed what your body type is and are interested in knowing, “What’s next?” How do I interpret it? How do I take care of myself so that I feel in balance most of the time? (I say ‘most of the time’ because if we are in balance all the time, we might not know what balance means, so we have to know imbalance to feel the pleasure of being in balance.)
In this article let’s take a peek at Vata personalities. Vata’s have very active or hyperactive personalities, are alert and easily excited. They are quick and act without much thinking. They are very creative, enjoy daydreaming, and have a good imagination. They love people and may also love someone out of fear. They suffer from insecurity, restlessness and insomnia. Their faith is very flexible and shaky. These individuals are ready to accept change, however, that change doesn’t last for long. They dislike sitting idle and seek constant action.
They are delicate and have small, recessed, dry eyes. Their skin and hair usually get dry easily. They have an irregular appetite and thirst, and often experience digestive and malabsorbtion problems.
Vata in Sanskrit means ‘Wind’, which is a combination of air element and space element; so it is very light, subtle, dry, rough, cold and mobile like Wind. This biological energy is very important in our body as the other two biological energies, Pitta and Kapha, are unable to function without Vata. This element carries out many important functions in our body. It is responsible for transportation of sensations and movements, e.g. joy, happiness, creativity, speech, sneezing, respiration, elimination and pain.
Vata predominant disorders
Vata qualities are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear and astringent.
Dryness increases due to dry food, dry weather, leftover food, insufficient water intake and dry wines. This inhibits lubrication and leads to dry skin, dehydration, constipation, cracking and popping of joints, hemorrhoids, fissures, muscle wasting, emaciation, extreme fatigue and arthritis changes.
Light qualities increase due to prolonged fasting, insufficient food intake, traveling, jogging, jumping and going against gravity (in airplane) which causes light-headedness, dizziness, loneliness, ringing in ears, weight loss, thinning of bones and osteoporosis.
Cold qualities are aggravated by cold food, frozen food, cold weather, cold drinks which create chills, cold hands and feet, poor circulation, muscle spasms, stiffness and numbness.
Rough qualities are in beans and raw foods that create gas, bloating, distention and pain during digestion.
Mobile qualities are increased by excessive activity like hiking, biking, jogging, irregular lifestyle, not taking time to eat, and doing too many things at the same time. It is responsible for hyper talkativeness, hyperactivity, restlessness, tremors, tics, spasms, insomnia, breathlessness, ADHD convulsions and seizures.
Emotionally, Vata is increased by fear, anxiety, nervousness, insecurity, loneliness and agitation. A Vata person is blessed with forgetting things, so an insult or hurt can be forgotten easily. However, it goes into their subconscious mind and the person suffers from fear, phobias, and psychosis about which he or she does not know the cause.
Vata has five subtypes – Prana, Vayan, Udan, Saman, and Apana.
In Hindu rituals when praying it is said:-
Om Pranya swaha
Om Vyanay swaha
Om Udanay swaha
Om Samanay swaha
Om Apanaya swaha
Great rishis knew this secret, that if the Vayu (Vata) is not kept in control, it has the capacity to cause great imbalance in our body. So, greet your Vata every morning (prayena pavana prabhu) and it stays happy, calm, and loves doing its job in your body and does not get upset. Isn’t it cool that we apply this same principle to please our Boss (greet him with smile!!)
Enjoy this Vata season (Fall) by following some simple tips:
* Abhyanga – Apply sesame oil to your whole body before showering and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse by taking a warm shower (no soaps). Repeat 3 times a week.
* Give yourself a head message with sesame oil twice a week at bedtime. Leave the oil on for the rest of the night and take a head shower in the morning.
* Introducing a few drops of organic homemade ghee in each nostril a few times a week.
* Eating warm, soupy food, steamed vegetables, warm drinks and teas. Increasing the intake of cooked food over raw foods.
* Setting up a routine and following that routine for work and eating habits.
Vata pacifying food:
Asparagus, Beets, Cabbage (cooked)*, Carrots, Cauliflower*, Cilantro/Coriander, Cucumber, Daikon radish*, Fennel (anise), Garlic, Green beans, Green chilies, Jerusalem artichoke* Leafy greens*, Leeks, Lettuce*, Mustard greens*, Okra, Olives (black), Onions (cooked)*, Parsley*, Parsnip, Peas (cooked), Potatoes (sweet), Pumpkin, Radishes (cooked)*, Rutabaga, Spaghetti squash, Spinach (cooked)*, Sprouts*, Squash summer and winter, Taro root, Turnip greens*, Watercress and Zucchini.
In Legumes and Grains – Aduki Beans, Amaranth, Black Lentils, Durham flour, Lentils* (red), Mung beans, Mung dal, Oats, Oats (cooked), Pancakes, Quinoa, Rice (all kinds), Seitan (wheat meat), Soya cheese*, Soya milk*, Soya sausage*, Sprouted wheat bread, Tofu*, Turdal, Urud dal and Wheat.
(* – Should be taken in moderation)
Vata needs calm, slow, steady, grounding, strengthening and consistent exercise. Swimming and Walking.
Yogic postures like Lotus pose, Diamond pose, and Lion pose, Sun Salutation done slowly and consciously, Tree pose, Triangle pose, Warrior pose, Gate pose and all standing forward bends, Cobras and Locusts (simple back bending) done consciously and carefully, Forward bends of all types especially Head knee forward bend (Janu sirs asana) and Full forward bend, Fetal position, Tortoise pose, Boat pose, Yogic seal (yoga Mudra), Spinal twists, Sage twist and Noose twist.
Ayurvedic Massages are the most healing and relaxing massages especially for Vata predominant personalities and people who suffer from Vata disorders, as herbal oils are used for Massaging to strengthen the muscle and bone tissue with certain pressure points.
Ayurvedic therapies like Basti of – Kati, Janu Greeva, Uro, Hrid, Shirodhara, Nasya and Swedan are relaxing and therapeutic for Vata imbalances.
(Information listed in the article is for educational purposes only).