How is Your Vata?
As Autumn gives way to Winter it’s a good time to check how balanced Vata Dosha is within you. This is particularly helpful for ensuring we maintain balance during the colder months of Autumn and Winter. As you read below consider the question… How balanced is Vata Dosha within me right now?
What is Vata Dosha?
To understand Vata qualities within you it is helpful to consider the five great elements Ayurveda explains are present in everything, including your mind and body. Ayurveda calls the five great elements:
- Akasha – space
- Vayu – air
- Tejas – fire
- Jala – water
- Prithivi – earth
These great elements combine in specific ways to create the governing principles of nature which are called the 3 Doshas. Each of the doshas have specific functions while at the same time regulating thousands of separate functions in the mind and body.
• Vata comes from space and air and governs movement. Vata guides breathing, blood circulation, passing of food through the digestive tract and the sending and receiving of nerve impulses from the brain.
• Pitta comes from fire and water and governs heat, metabolism and transformation of food, air, water and thoughts.
• Kapha comes from water and earth and governs structure and fluid balance. Kapha provides cohesion to hold cells and matter together to form muscle, fat, bone and sinew.
It is the interplay among the three doshas that determines your current health. The doshas influence your mind body balance at the junction point where thought turns into matter. They allow the mind and body to communicate.
Vata Dosha in Me
Vata is the most important dosha and keeping it in a state of balance is essential – especially in Autumn and Winter and when combating stress, overload and the aging process. Below are typical characteristics of Vata, common signs of Vata imbalance and how does imbalance come about. As you review these lists consider for yourself. How much does this apply to me right now?
It is very Vata to:
• be hungry at any time of the day or night
• love excitement and constant change
• be sensitive to cold, dry, windy weather
• be irregular in the time of going to bed
• skip meals and keep irregular habits in general
• digest food well one day and poorly the next
• tend towards exhaustion from overworking or over-exercising
• display bursts of emotion that are short lived and quickly forgotten
• spend money quickly and find it hard to save
• be highly social, and like to mix with all types of people
Vata likes variety, change and stimulation or excitement. “A little spice makes a meal tasty, a little too much spoils the taste!” When life becomes a little hectic or enervating then signs of Vata imbalance arise. Check below to see how balanced Vata Dosha is in you at the moment.
Common signs of Vata imbalance
Are you experiencing:
• worries, an overactive mind
• sleep problems
• difficulty breathing
• dry coughs, sore throats, earaches
• generalised fatigue
• slow or rapid digestion with gas, intestinal cramps, or poor assimilation of nutrients
• intestinal cramps, menstrual discomfort or lower back pain
• constipation and gas to diarrhoea, in a changeable manner
• dry or rough skin
• nervousness, shakiness
• poor blood flow or cold hands or feet
• stress-related problems
How does imbalance come about?
There is usually a pattern of behaviour that will over time throw Vata dosha out of balance. Below is a list of behaviours that can cause or contribute to Vata imbalance.
What applies to you currently?
• under stress and respond with fear, worry and anxiety
• physical and mental exhaustion from a period of overdoing it
• you chain smoke or suffer from alcohol or drug addiction
• you have had a sudden change in your life or the season is changing
• your diet includes a lot of cold, dry, raw foods
• you eat a lot of bitter, spicy or astringent foods (salads, beans, raw green leafy vegetables)
• you habitually skip meals or are dieting
• you have been sleeping poorly for more than a few days
• you have taken a trip recently
• the weather is cold, dry and windy (autumn and winter)
Maintaining and Restoring Balance
It is the simple habitual choices made each day that over time make all the difference. To keep Vata in balance during autumn and winter or to help restore balance when Vata is out of balance.
• Ensuring you have regular input of warm and nourishing Vata Foods can keep you and your family content and healthy. Drink 2-3 cups of soothing Vata tea during the day.
• Start the morning at a slow pace to calm the tendency for quickness. Where you can establish a regular time of waking and getting out of bed. The regular morning routine provides an oasis of calm that can be carried through the day, especially when your morning routine includes Transcendental Meditation.
• Have an oil massage with warm Vata Massage Oil prior your morning bath or shower to counteract the tendency for dryness. A morning massage helps to soothe a sensitive nervous system during cold times and is great for circulation.
• Reduce stress as Vata governs all movement in your nervous system. Practising Transcendental Meditation is a great stress soother, as is taking 1-2 tablets of MA686 Aswagandha/Indian Asparagus formula prior to breakfast and evening meals or at bedtime to aid sleep.
• Consider having a Seasonal Change Consultation with a Maharishi AyurVeda practitioner at the change of season from Autumn to Winter mid-December. If you are 45+ or have a long standing Vata imbalance then a change of season consultation is recommended for you.
• Adopt a regular daily routine of sleeping to balance the changeable quality of Vata. It is worth the effort to go to bed by 9.30 to 10.00 pm during the colder seasons as quality sleep and ideally undisturbed sleep is most important for keeping Vata dosha happy within you. If you have difficulty going to sleep then consider taking Blissful Sleep Basic food supplement. If you find you wake in the night then also take Blissful Sleep Vata & Pitta food supplement.
Wishing you the bliss of a balanced Vata Dosha.
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525