Vata dosha is one of the three doshas or vital forces described in ayurveda. Vata or Vayu is the main energetic force which carries all other forces to their destination. No body function takes place without the presence of vata.
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What is Vata Dosha ?
Vata dosha is one of the three energetic forces described in ayurveda. These three energetic forces (vata dosha, pitta dosha and Kapha dosha) in balanced condition maintain the body health and also keep diseases at bay. When Imbalanced body suffers from diseases.
Vata dosha is made of Air (vayu) and Ether or Space (akasha) the 2 basic elements in ‘pancha mahabhuta‘ (pancha mahabhuta – Akasha (space), vayu(air), agni (fire), jala (water), pruthvi (earth) ) . Akasha or space creates a path for vata to move.
Functions of Vata Dosha
Vata dosha is one of the three energetic forces. It influences remaining two doshas , I,e, pitta dosha and kapha dosha. When vata is in balanced condition the remaining two doshas will also become balanced. Hence balancing vata is very important.
Vata in its normal balanced state protects the body, boosts enthusiasm, initiates normal respiration, keeps all activities of nervous system like movements, speech, sensation etc in balance. Regulation of excretory functions like urination, bowel movement, semen ejaculation, contraction of uterus to expel foetus and regulating natural urges. Maintenance of functions of sense organs and protecting tissues are also functions of vata.
What is Vata Dosha Imbalance and its symptoms ?
Vata dosha can get imbalanced in two ways
1. It may increase.
2. It may decrease.
Based on these variations vata has to be balanced.
Symptoms of vata increase:
Acharya Vaghbhata explains symptoms of vata increase as follows
1. Emaciation of body
2. Skin complexion darkens.
3. Dry and scaly skin. (May flare up psoriasis).
4. Desire for hot foods, hot weather and warm climate increases.
5. Tremors occur in hands, legs and other muscles.
6. Distension of abdomen due to accumulation of gas.
7. Dry , hard stools and Constipation. This may lead to erectile dysfunction.
8. Loss of strength.
9. Insomnia or loss of sleep.
10. Weakening of sensory organs.
12. Lack of courage and self confidence
13. Worries. nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear
Symptoms of vata dosha decrease:
Acharya Vaghbhata explains symptoms of vata decrease as follows
1. Reduced strength and lack of energy (lassitude).
2. Decreased body activity.
3. Speaks less.
4. Loss of sensation.
5. Reduced digestion capacity or agni.
6. Excess salivation.
7. Increased sleep.
8. Cold feeling of palms and feet.
9. Dyspnoea and cough.
Diseases Caused by Vata Dosha Imbalance
- Insomnia or sleeplessness,
- dry skin, and wrinkles, cracked feet,
- pain in joints,
- Bloating of stomach
- headache, etc are few common diseases caused by vata imbalance.
Characteristics of vata dosha and vata body type
Vata dosha gets its properties by the elements air and ether. It is like a wind which is dry, cool, light and mobile .
Vata Body type:
The body of vata person will be light. They are lean and weigh less. Bones of these persons are thin. They will have dry Hair and dry skin. They move and speak quickly. They will have mood swings, talkative, enthusiastic, creative, flexible, and energetic. They easily become constipated and lose weight. Their immune and nervous system are weak.
How to balance vata dosha?
Generally when vata is increased we have to practice to do opposite things of the symptoms.
It is like to increase heaviness to counter lightness, increasing warmth to counteract coldness, inducing softness to counter act hardness etc.
- Consume warm and freshly cooked foods.
- Eat small meals in short intervals.
- Keep your body warm.
- Massage your body with warm sesame oil or ksheerabala oil
- Hot spicy soups with little ghee balances increased vata.
- Drinking warm water (around 7 to 8 glasses ) throughout day helps to balance vata.
- Ayurveda Acharyas recommend enema with medicated oil.
- Sleep well.
- Avoid strenuous physical activities.
- Practice meditation and pranayama.
Vata Dosha Balancing Foods and Diet
Vata Balancing Diet:
In order to bring balance to vata, diet and lifestyle with opposing qualities like warmth, heaviness (nourishment), moistness, and stability have to be used.
Fruits to Balance Vata:
Generally most sweet fruit, Apples (cooked), Apricots, Avocado, Bananas, Berries, Cherries, Coconut, Dates (fresh), Figs (fresh), Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes , Melons, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Prunes (soaked), Raisins (soaked), Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tamarind.
Vegetables for vata balance :
In general, vegetables should be cooked Asparagus, Beets, Cabbage (cooked), Carrots, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Cucumber, Daikon radish, Fennel, 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 (raw), Sprouts, Squash Summer, Taro Root, Turnip greens, Watercress, Zucchini
Grains for vata balancing
Amaranth, Durham flour, Oats (cooked), Quinoa, Rice (all kinds), Sprouted wheat, Wheat.
Vata balance through Lentils :
Dairy for Vata:
Meat as vata food:
Beef, Buffalo, Chicken (dark), Chicken (white), Duck, Eggs, Fish (freshwater or sea), Salmon, Sardines, Seafood, Shrimp, Tuna fish, Turkey (dark).
Nuts for vata dosha
Beverages for vata:
Alcohol (beer; white wine), Almond milk, Aloe vera juice, Apple cider, Apricot juice, Berry juice (except for cranberry), Carob, Carrot juice, Chai (hot spiced milk), Cherry juice, Grain “coffee”, Grape juice, Grapefruit juice, Lemonade, Mango juice, Miso broth, Orange juice, Papaya juice, Peach nectar, Pineapple juice, Rice milk, Sour juices, Soy milk (hot & well-spiced), Vegetable bouillon
Vata balancing Herbs and Teas:
Ajwan, Bancha, Catnip, Chamomile, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Clove, Elder Flower, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Fenugreek, Ginger (fresh), Hawthorne, Juniper berry, Kukicha, Lavender, Lemon grass, Licorice (yashti madhu), Marshmallow, Oat straw, Orange peel, Peppermint, Raspberry, Saffron (Health Benefits of Saffron or Kesar or Crocus Sativus – An Ayurveda View), Sage, Sarsaparilla, Spearmint,
Spices for vata balance:
All spices are good Ajwan, Allspice, Almond extract, Anise, Asafoetida (hing), Basil, Bay leaf, Black pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard seeds, Nutmeg, Orange peel, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Pippali or long pepper, Poppy seeds, Rosemary, Saffron, Rock Salt or Sendha namak , Savory, Spearmint, Star Anise, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Vanilla, Wintergreen
How to balance decreased vata ?
Usually decreased vata do not cause severe diseases or discomfort. Hence little bit of alterations like Increasing physical activity, having food in proper time, following dinacharya or ayurvedic daily routine and Ritucharya (ayurvedic seasonal routine) etc help to balance it.
Types of Vata Dosha or Vayu
According to the texts of ayurveda vata dosha even though located in intestines it moves through all organs and tissues of body . According to its functions and locations vata dosha is subdivided into 5 more types. They are
· Pranavayu, –
moves from external environment into body through sense organs and orifices present in upper part of body. It helps in inspiration, gulping food, hearing sounds and receiving external stimulus etc.
· Udana vayu –
Does the opposite of praanavayu – expiration, reflex actions, speech etc. Both prana vayu and udana vayu are located in upper part of body (mainly throat).
· Vyana vayu –
It helps in movement of blood from heart to other parts of body through arteries and movement of food from stomach to intestines and absorption of it. It is located in center of body.
· Samana vayu –
It is spread all over body and helps to bring back blood to heart through veins, It helps in digestion .
· Apana vayu –
It is located in pelvic area (urinary bladder, groin, testicles, etc) and helps in discharge of urine, feces, flatus, semen, fetus, menstrual blood etc. It cleanses the body and keeps the vata in balance. Apana vayu plays a great role in sexual function of men. When get vitiated it leads to erectile dysfunction.
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