Ayurveda holds an elemental view of the universe and believes people are made up of various combinations of these elements. The five elements are Air, Ether, Fire, Earth and Water. These elements form the three biological humours of Ayurveda, called Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
The dominance of a particular dosha determines certain physical, mental and emotional characteristics, and importantly may predetermine potential health risks.
All three doshas are present in every cell of the body. However each dosha has an area of dominance, which is their site of origin. Vata primarily resides in the colon, Pitta in the small intestine and Kapha the stomach.
Constitution (Prakriti) – 7 main categories; Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata/Pitta (combined), Pitta/Kapha (combined), Kapha/Vata (combined), Tridoshic (equal amounts). These can be further divided into Vata/Kapha, with Vata or Kapha being dominant and, so on.
If your main dosha is Vata you are generally adaptable and cheerful and have natural healing qualities. Vata consists of air and ether is characterised by qualities such as light (weight), dry, rough, cold, moving and subtle. These qualities translate into things like, cracking joints, difficult maintaining weight, cold hands and feet, restlessness.
Vata types are often fine framed people who may be tall or short. They usually have dark eye colour and are likely to suffer from dry skin, nails and hair. Vata people are prone to having nervous energy.
When Vata is imbalanced this can affect different parts of the body and mind. Vata increases by eating inappropriate foods (cold, raw, dry and light), being exposed to cold, dry conditions, excessive physical activity, too much stress and lack of routine.
When Vata is aggravated you may become anxious and worry excessively. You will likely not eat when stressed and in doing so aggravate Vata more! Digestion will be affected and will either slow down or increase, problems with constipation and gas are common.
As Ayurveda believes all disease and imbalance is the result of digestion, it is very important to gain control of foods and lifestyle practices which alleviate Vata. Vata predominates in old age, from around 55 years, hence is prominent is diseases such as arthritis, brittle bones (osteoporosis), dementia and insomnia.
How to balance Vata:
SKIN, HAIR & NAILS
- exfoliate weekly to remove dead skin cells and keep skin smooth
- use a good quality moisturiser which is rich in hydrating ingredients
- start using suitable anti-ageing products from the age of 30 years
- use cuticle oil to help soften the skin around the nails and keep lubricated
- use hair conditioning mask or treatment oil weekly
- For the body, try organic sesame oil to leave skin hydrated after a bath or shower
- gentle exercise like yoga, swimming, walking or tai chi
- practise pranayama (therapeutic breathing)
- avoid high impact exercise
- go to bed by 10pm
- aim for 8 hours sleep each night
- eat heavy, nourishing foods, with healthy oils
- stick to cooked foods
- avoid dry foods or excessive amounts of raw foods
- eat small meals regularly
- avoid going long periods without food
- eat foods with predominantly sweet, salty and some sour tastes
- avoid excessive amounts of foods with bitter, astringent and pungent tastes
- meditate regularly
- ground yourself by having routine
Products recommended for Vata dosha: