A Little Bit of Vata

Posted by on Jun 17, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on A Little Bit of Vata

A Little Bit of Vata

Everyone has some vata in their disposition, and it is usually the first to shift out of balance in times of stress.  The following can be used by individuals who are predominantly vata and seek balance, or for those who have aggravated the vata aspects of themselves.

You are Vata if…

You are tall, thin/bony, low end of weight range, have dull/dry skin, hair and nails, stiff/cracking joints, poor circulation, variable appetite, low thirst and scanty perspiration, dry stool and scanty urine.  You tend to have lower immunity, are nervous, restless, easily exhausted, sleep shallowly, speak quickly.  You are changeable yet adaptable.  Your primary negative emotion is fear.

Vata Spiritual Types (Vata further differentiated by the 3 Gunas):

Sattvic Vata- creative, open-minded, broad comprehension, quick understanding, excellent communicators, enthusiastic personalities.  They are receptive and sensitive to others.

Rajasic Vata- active, expressive, changeable, striving and restless, easily distracted, pursue novelty, may be inconsistent, noisy, disruptive and overly talkative.

Tamasic Vata- deceptive, fearful and erratic, go against courtesy, inclined to theft, perversions, easily addicted to substances, sometimes suicidal.

Vata dosha is associated with the element ether/air.  As a result, much of the characteristics of vata involve the functions of the mind (related to ether) and digestion (air).  A vata in balance is creative, energetic and adaptive.  A vata in excess is worried, anxious and preoccupied.

Vata Diet:

Vata types need nourishing food that strengthens apana (downward flowing energy- digestion) such as root vegetables or root herbs, as well as spices that strengthen the digestive fire.  They also benefit from herbs that help flexibility.  Vatas can become ungrounded and unstable, and do well with calming warm milk and honey.

Recommended herbs: psyillium, flax seed, castor oil, aloe gel, tulsi (holy basil tea).

Eating a raw diet can aggravate vata, as there is too much prana (energy) in raw food.  Cold food has a similar effect.  It is recommended that vata individuals eat warm or room temperature food that has been cooked.  Teas and soups are very comforting to vatas or people suffering from a vata imbalance.  Warming spices such as cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, cloves, vanilla and ginger are best.

Think sweet and juicy!  Vatas are dry enough… avoid dry fruits such as apples and pears and choose ripe fleshy fruits such as mangos, avocados, papayas, melons, peaches, coconut and berries.  Oils and fats are recommended as vatas tend to be thin and need better lubrication for their joints.  Coconut oil and ghee are helpful.  Avoid beans as they aggravate wind!

Vata Yoga Practice:

Vatas tend to have dry, cracking joints and can become stiff without sufficient movement.  Sesame oil massage on the joints is helpful.

Vatas are quite thin and flexible but lack stamina.  Their practice is often fearful and they may adopt a protective posture.  It is important for them to maintain spinal flexibility and prevent rigidity from settling in.  They are easily injured, however, and need to ensure that asana is done with safety.  They should never rush, but need to warm up their bodies slowly, loosen the joints, increase circulation, and move to a mild sweat.  Flowing movements are very good for them.  In particular, they need to focus on releasing tension in hips, spine and SI joint, but must also avoid over-stretching ligaments.  Seated postures encourage stillness in the lower abdomen and can help develop calm and increase groundedness.  Twists, forward bends and small backbends are all very good for vata.  Balancing standing poses help them to develop patience and concentration.  They need to avoid practices that exhaust them.

Key words: calm, steady, grounding, consistent, strong.

Pranayama for Vata: 

Use right nostril breathing when you get up in the morning for 10-15 minutes to stimulate energy, and in the evening, calm down with left nostril breathing.

Meditation for Vata:

Vatas tend to have overactive minds, which can make meditation very difficult and arduous.  Using a mala and a mantra can help a vata hone in on the practice and quiet the mind.  Selecting a simple mantra is best, or they can overthink while trying to remember their mantra!  It is recommended to meditate first thing in the morning, but vatas tend to be tired and thus may need to go to bed earlier.

If you feel that your vata is imbalanced, and you are jittery, anxious, worried and sleeping poorly (without due cause), focus on the basics: stay warm, eat warm, move steadily, rest, drink calming teas, be quiet.  Avoid raw food, cold drinks, gaseous food, fast movements, talking too much.

Up next… Pitta!

Much of this information has been derived from David Frawley’s book Yoga and Ayurveda.  I have condensed various ideas that span the book into a quick guide.  Grab a copy for yourself if you are interested in learning more!

 

All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.