What is Vata Dosha in Ayurveda?
Vata Dosha or Vayu dosha is the most important of the three doshas. Vata is responsible for breath, vibration, movement, which causes motility or activity, excitement and vitality in the body. Vata is the source of kinetic energy in the body. The dosha is connected to prana or the life-force and is the prime manifestation of prana in the body. According to Charaka, Vayu is the activator of the digestive fire and activator of all sensory functions, bestowing happiness and enthusiasm. It is Vata that holds the entire body together and maintains tissues normally.
Types of Vata-Locations and Functions
|Prana||Head, chest and brain||Perceptions and movements of all kinds, respiratory activity, swallowing of food, conversion of breath into life-force, spitting and sneezing.||Hiccoughs, cough, bronchial asthma, cold, sore throat and other respiratory complaints, giddiness, syncope and other neurological disorders.|
|Udana||Throat and lungs (diaphragm, chest)||Controls the process of speech and the voice, upward movement of breath, responsible for strength, enthusiasm and will to work.||ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) and eye ailments, speech defects.|
|Samana||Stomach and intestinal tract||Stimulating gastric juices to break down food and categorizing them into dhatus(rasa, rakta, mamsa, etc.) and malas,||Dyspepsia or low digestive fire, indigestion, diarrhea and defective assimilation linked to too slow or too rapid digestion.|
|Apana||Colon (large intestine), lower abdomen, organs of the pelvic region(kidneys, bladder, navel, rectum)||Elimination of waste, keeps foetus in place and helps during birth, responsible for sexual function (ejaculation of semen) and menstruation||Renal calculi diseases of bladder, anus, testicles, uterus and obstinate urinary ailments including diabetes,|
|Vyana||Permeates the entire body especially the heart||Responsible for sweating, bending, heart rhythm, blinking of eyelids, yawning, governs peripheral circulation, dilation and constriction of blood vessels, transport nourishing juices and blood throughout the body, elimination of waste and ejaculation of semen.||Sluggishness circulatory function of strota fever, diarrhea, bleeding, tuberculosis and other diseases.|
Characteristic of Vata and its Effects
|Ruksata (Dryness)||Dryness, emaciation and stunted growth; poor development of bodily tissues; vocal unclarity, low, obstructed, dry, rough and hoarse voice; and lack of sleep.|
|Sitalata (Coolness)||Inability to tolerate cold substances, disliking towards cold climate, afflicted with diseases related to cold; stiffness of limbs and shivering of the body, cold hands and feet.|
|Laghuta (Lightness)||Lightness in the body; inconsistent gait, action, food intake and movement (speed).|
|Motility||Movements of joints, eyes, eyebrows,jaws, lips, tongue, head, shoulder, hands and legs; irregular heart rhythm, muscle spasms; changeable mind and emotions.|
|Non-stickiness||Dry and cracked skin; crackling sound in limbs or joints, flickering of body parts.|
|Roughness||Coarse-textured and rough hair, skin, nails, teeth, face, hands and feet.|
|Abundance||Talkativeness; abundance and prominent visibility of tendons and veins.|
|Swiftness||Quick in initiating actions, acting on impulse, restless activities, gets frightened quickly; rapid susceptibility to diseases and infections; mood swings, scattered thoughts, quickly deciding likes and dislikes; picks-up new information quickly, which is also quickly forgotten poor long-term memory; fast speech.|
Reasons for Vata aggravation
- Suppression of urges: Suppressing the natural urges of the body such as defecation
urination, sneezing and so on.
- Dietetics: Eating before the digestion of the previous meal, eating foods with too many dry, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, excess intake of dry fruit, cold foods, fasting and skipping meals.
- Stress: Physical and mental stress, too much worry, anxiety and tension, overwork.
- Habits: Poor sleep, sleeping late at night, talking loudly and over indulgence in sexual activity.
- Season: During monsoon, Vata gets aggravated naturally without the onset of these
conditions, as the weather is windy.
Symptoms of aggravated Vata
- Physical indications: When Vata gets aggravated, it leads to dryness, roughness,
stiffness in the body and organs, pricking pain, loose joints, dislocation of the bones,
shivering and numbness in the limbs.
- Mental indications: Worry, anxiety, loss of mental focus, an over-active mind,
impatience, short attention span and depression.
- Behavioral indications: Insomnia, fatigue, inability to relax, restlessness, low appetite and impulsiveness.
Treatment for balancing Vata
- Consumption of oily substances (clarified butter, oil, fats); bathing with warm water and taking enemas or Basti.
- Stay warm – fomentation to induce sweating with the help of decoctions prepared from Vata reducing medicines.
- Mild purgation using medicines prepared from oily, hot, sweet, sour and salty substances to eliminate excretory wastes.
- Tying the diseased area of the body with a cloth or poultice.
- Pouring Vata-controlling warm decoctions gently over the head (Sirodhara therapy).
- Drinking medicated asava (fermented medicated herbal decoctions) prepared from Vata-reducing herbs and substances.
- Using oil, clarified butter and other oily foods processed with Vata-decreasing and purgative herbal medicines that elevate the digestive fire and act as an appetizer.
- Eat a Vata pacifying diet containing wheat, sesame, ginger, garlic and jaggery.
- Various types of bastis (enemas) using herbal medicines made from hot and oily
- Psychological treatment according to the ailment and condition of the patient to promote calmness and to relieve fear and anxiety.
- Get plenty of rest, avoid mental strain and stress.
- Do Nadi Shodhan Pranayama