If you’re not quite sure what or, rather, who is a Vata, you’re not alone. I had practiced yoga for years before I remember hearing the names of the doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Of the three, Vatas are known for being light, airy, and fun.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that each individual is a composite of all three doshas. Perhaps you’re not very strong in an area or two, but never the less, you are still made up of all three. Additionally, each individual is unique. No two people have the exact same dosha combinations.
Your physical and personality traits help define you and provide guidance on what you should eat, what you should avoid, and how you can balance yourself. You can even predict how you will behave under certain kinds of stress.
According to Nadya Andreeva’s article “Ayruveda & Dosha Types for Beginners,” the Vata dosha is the “Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.” When Vata is in balance there is creativity and vitality. However, when out of balance, it can produce fear and anxiety.
Those who are Vata dominant physically tend to:
- be thin.
- be tall.
- have cold hands and feet.
- have dry hair and skin.
- don’t perspire much.
- walk quickly.
Vata personalities tend to:
- be creative.
- learn easily and quickly.
- be forgetful.
- prefer warmer weather.
- be lively and fun to be around.
- have an irregular daily routine.
- have high energy for short periods of time.
- overexert and tire easily.
- be joyful.
- respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety.
- act on impulse.
- have rapid, disjointed thoughts.
Air and ether or space are the elements associated with Vatas. Because of this association, Vatas can be very spiritual and mystical. However, because of their airy association, Vatas can easily come out of balance. Imbalance can sometimes be improved by performing grounding activities and developing a ritual for practice.
Grounding activities include standing poses like Warrior 2, balancing poses like Tree Pose, and stabilization poses like Downward Facing Dog. Consistently work on holding these poses for long periods of time and don’t be afraid to use props to help you achieve your goal.
Health Tips for Vatas
In her article on MindBodyGreen, Nadya Andreeva advises:
“Maintain regular habits, try to eat and sleep at the same time every night. Get enough rest and choose foods that are warm, cooked, nourishing, and easy to digest. Sweet berries, fruits, small beans, rice, and all nuts and dairy products are good choices for Vata types. Exercise intensity should be moderate. A more meditative yoga, Tai chi, walking, and swimming are all good. Avoid strenuous and frantic activities.”
She also recommends that Vatas “stay away from icy drinks, and add more warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to your food. This will prevent any digestion issues that Vata types tend to get, as well, as anxiety, dry skin, or insomnia.”
Vata Balancing Video
Here is a video to help balance your Vata energy.
Find Your Doshas
There are several different websites that offer free online tests. The more questions asked, the more likely it is that you will receive accurate results. You can take an online test from the Chopra Center and Holistic Online. The Ayruvedic Institute has a test that you fill out and grade yourself.
You will want to test yourself from time to time because we change throughout the years. A person who may previously associate with being cold may now constantly feel hot. By retesting and staying current with the guidelines for your constitution, you may help to prevent disease and, at the very least, encourage optimal health for yourself.
I really enjoy the Yoga Toolbox for Teachers and Students by Joseph and Lilian Le Page. The book is a three-ring binder that contains pictures and descriptions for many basic yoga poses. Each picture shows the activated chakras and the doshas that benefit most from this pose.
Do you have a different dosha test that you prefer? If so, let us know in the comments below.