People have a strong desire to understand Nature and search for the ultimate truth or reason behind the actions or events that are happening around or with them. Thanks to the power of observation and their strong analytical mind, over time humans have developed numerous theories to explain how things work.
In India, the discovery of life has developed a solid tradition of knowledge know as Veda Parampara (tradition) for the search of truth. Using different terminology and theories, the Veda tradition is trying to explain the logic behind the mysterious events related to human life.
Ayurveda is one of the ancient systems belonging to the Vedatradition, which deals mainly with events from human life in terms of heath. Ayurveda encompasses a large number of principles targeted at understanding the meaning of life. Using these principles, Ayurveda has tried to derive the relationship between Man and the universe.
According to Ayurvedic theories, the Sun (Teja Mahabhuta), the Moon (Jalaand Pruthvi Mahabhuta) and the Wind (Vayu Mahabhuta) are the three main sources of energy which correlate to the three different forms of energy in the human body, namely Pitta, Kapha, and Vata.
From a modern-day science perspective, Vata can be seen as kinetic energy (as per modern physics), Pitta – as thermal energy, and Kapha – as mechanical energy.
Achieving longevity is all about understanding how the body functions.
Understanding the Concept of Vata Dosha
The presence of Vata, Pitta and Kapha inside the body is not seen or recognized unless and until they begin provoking disturbances in normal body functions.
Only when a person faces or experiences any disturbances in their normal body functions, do they start searching for the reason behind the dysfunction and attempt to correct it. The outcome of this search finally results in the recognition of an energy imbalance, the term for which is DOSHA.
Doshashould be understood as the reason behind any disturbed body function– for example, pain is a disturbed function of the Vata energy, and it should be called Vata dosha.
Similarly, a burning sensation means a disturbed function of Pitta, so the reason behind feeling a burning sensation in any part of the body is always due to Pitta dosha. Similarly, Kapha is responsible for swelling processes inside the body.
When the Vata energy is balanced, i.e. in a state of prakruti, its function resembles movement, but when it gets disturbed into hypo- or hyper-function, the reason behind the disturbance is known as Vata dosha.
Vata is avyakta, meaning invisible, and also light, dry, cold, hard, rough, sharp, subtle, moving, and clear.
Vata Prakruti characteristics according to Vata qualities
The absence of solidity is referred to as lightness. It also means reduced in mass, due to which Vata has increased mobility in comparison to the other energies. Exercise makes the body light.
Due to the predominant property of lightness in Vata constitutions, their mobility is fast and easy. Increased lightness in Vata dosha causes weakness in particular body functions and results in muscle weakness, weak joints, and reduced stamina.
Vata is alleviated by means of heat and vitiated by cold. Due to the excessive cold of Vata dosha, Vata people are intolerant to cold. Joints get stiff very easily when they are exposed to cold weather.
Dryness has the ability to absorb water, mucus, or fat. Due to the excessive dryness of Vata dosha, molecular bonds break down and separate. Vata dosha also makes the skin drier and disturbs sleep. In addition, the voice becomes hoarse, and overall Vata dosha people are characterized by lean body mass and less body fat. Eyes become dry quickly.
Movement is the main function of Vata; hence, chalais its main quality. The hyperactive chalata (mobility) of Vata makes people feel restless, resulting in the incontrollable movement of legs, hands, eyes, eyebrows, lips, tongue, head, neck or any joint.
Due to this property, the body becomes drier or stiff in Vata dosha.
An imbalance of this Vata property manifests on the emotional level as people get irritated quickly, lose interest quickly, grasp things fast but forget them almost immediately. Fears, friends, likes, dislikes – everything is fast but not long-lasting.
As a result of the imbalance of Vata’s Khara quality, the skin, hair, nails, and face become dry.
General health tips to control Vata dosha
- Maintain regular habits by having meals and going to sleep at the same time every day.
- Get enough rest and choose foods that are warm, cooked (less raw foods), nourishing, and easy to digest.
- Sweet berries, fruit, small beans, rice, as well as all nuts and dairy products are good choices for balancing Vata dosha.
- Exercise intensity should be moderate. A more meditative yoga, walking, and swimming are all recommended.
- Abhyanga (daily Ayurvedic massage with sesame oil).
- Avoid light, dry, cold foods and pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.
- Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and cigarettes.
- Stay warm by wearing appropriate clothing in cold, windy weather.
Vata Pacifying Diet
When Vata is in a hyper state (Vata Vriddhi)
Always take sufficient quantities of food but do not eat more than you can digest. Avoid intense fasting methods.
- Dairy products– all dairy products pacify Vata; always boil the milk before you drink it and drink it warm.
- Sweeteners and desserts – all sweeteners are acceptable (in moderation) for pacifying Vata.
- Grains– rice and wheat are very good for balancing Vata dosha; reduce the intake of bread made from barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye, and oats.
- Fruit– sweet, sour, or heavy fruit such as oranges, bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, berries, plums, pineapple, mango and papaya are recommended.
- Vegetables– beets, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus and sweet potatoes are recommended – they should be cooked, not raw.
The following vegetables are acceptable in moderate quantities if they are cooked, especially with ghee or oil and taken in combination with other Vata-reducing foods: peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, and potatoes.
- It is better to avoid sprouts and cabbage.
- Spices– cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, and small quantities of black pepper are acceptable.
- Nuts– all varieties of nuts are acceptable.
- Beans– reduce all kinds of beans except mung dhal.
- Oils– all kinds of oils reduce Vata.