What is Vatta?

The meaning of the word vata is "wind, to move, flow, direct the processes of, or command." In Ayurveda Vata is one of the tridoshas that is believed to be the combination of air and space (ether). It is also thought to be the controlling energy in the body and influences all forms of movement in the mind and body. Hence it is believed that the initial cause of diseases in the body and mind is Vata imbalance. Vata also facilitates the other two doshas to be expressive.

Vata governs many basic functions of the body like breathing, heart pulsation, blood flow, all expansion and contraction, movements in the muscles and tissues, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells, blinking of the eyelids, waste elimination, and the way our thoughts cross our minds. Vata also controls feelings and emotions such as freshness, anxiety, fear, nervousness, pain, tremors, and spasms.

The prime location of Vata in human body is colon but it also resides in the hips, thighs, ears, bones, large intestine, pelvic cavity, and skin. Thus if the vata exceeds in the body it accumulated in these areas. Any imbalance of Vata energy can cause conditions like high blood pressure, constipation, anxiety, dry skin, insomnia and cramps. Vata can be thrown out of balance by, by staying up late at night, eating dry fruit, or eating before the previous meal is digested.

Distinctive Features of Vata people
Physical
Body frame People with Vata prakriti has light body frame and are usually physically underdeveloped. They may be short or tall but thin and slender. Their chests are flat and their veins and muscle tendons are visible.
Skin & HairType The vata people usually have brown complexion with dry, rough, cold and cracked skin. They have average to thin hair that is usually dark and dry and may be curly.
Eyes Vata people usually have dark brown or grey colored eyes with thin eyelashes and less luster. The eyes may be sunken, small, dry, and active.
Other Vata people have rough and brittle nails, crooked, large or protruding teeth, and bent and turned-up nose.

Physiological
Vata people generally have irregular daily routine.
The Vata individual is quick moving both physically and in talking.
They have variable appetite and digestive efficiency and like sweet, sour and salty tastes and hot drinks. They usually have irregular appetite and thirst; hence experience digestive and malabsorption problems.
Vata people have tendency to cold hands and feet and moderate sweating.
The urine production is also scarce and the feces are dry, hard and small in quantity.
Their sleep is light, interrupted, and fitful and they usually sleep less than the other types.
They show dislike for cold climate.
They spend high energy in short bursts thus tend to tire easily and to overexert.
Sexually such people are easily excitable but quickly satisfied.
Vata types tend to be delicate in health, so they may have few or no children.

Behavioral or Psychological
Positive
Highly imaginative, Creative and filled with ideas.
Mental quickness means they quick in learning and grasping new knowledge.
They have excitable, lively, fun personality with tendency for swing able moods. When in balance they are full of joy and enthusiastic.
They do not like sitting idle, and seek constant action.

Negative
They have little willpower and possess little tolerance, confidence or boldness.
Their reasoning power is weak. They have a tendency to act on impulse.
These people are fearful, anxious, and insecure. Fears of darkness, heights and enclosed spaces are common with them.
Their memory is not very good and they are quick to forget the learned knowledge.
These people are restless and often have disjointed thoughts.
When out of balance they respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety.
They have a tendency to change and may often move furniture or residence to keep from feeling bored.
They are quick to earn money but spend it on trifles and have difficulty saving.

Indications of Balanced Vata
Vata influences as well as controls many vital organs of human body. When it is in balanced condition it ensures:

Mental alertness
Abundance of creative energy
Good elimination of waste matters from the body
Sound sleep
A strong immune system
Enthusiasm
Emotional balance
Orderly functioning of the body's systems
Thus it encourages your physical and mental health as well.

Indications of Imbalanced Vata
Any of the qualities of vata in excess can cause an imbalance. Frequent travel, especially by plane, loud noises, constant stimulation, drugs, sugar and alcohol, exposure to cold and cold liquids and foods can disturb the balance of vata. Vata dosha also aggravate and increase during autumn and early winter. When vata is imbalanced or disturbed the body shows some distinctive signs or symptoms that include:

Feeling of tiredness, fatigue but unable to relax
Poor stamina
Nervousness, lack of concentration, anxiety, fearfulness
Impatient, or hyperactive behavior
Weight loss, under weight
Insomnia; wake up at night and can't go back to sleep
Generalized aches, sharp pains, Arthritis, stiff and painful joints
Agitated movement
Sensitivity to cold
Nail biting
Rough, flaky skin, chapped lips
Fainting spells
Heart palpitations
Constipation, Intestinal bloating, gas, Belching, hiccups
Dry, sore throat, Dry eyes
Self-defeating, shy, insecure and restless nature
Indecisiveness (lack of decision making power)
Mental and emotional depression
If you experience any of the above-mentioned condition it is a sign that your Vata is aggravated or imbalanced. In such condition one should follow the practices that balance vata dosha.

Health Problems caused by Imbalanced Vata
Vata regulates some of the basic functions of human body, hence the imbalance in vata can cause several minor or major health problems including headaches, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, muscle spasms, lower back pain, constipation, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, menstrual cramps, premature ejaculation and other sexual dys-functions, arthritis. Most neurological disorders are related to Vata imbalance.

General Tips on Health and Wellness For Vata Types
When in balance, vata promotes creativity and flexibility and general well being of body and mind, when run out of balance; vata produces fear and anxiety along with several health ailments. To keep vata in balance one should be acquainted with the causes and factors that can influence vata dosha and also the ways to regulate them.

The Vata people usually have irregular habits of eating and sleeping but this is the most important thing for them to do. When Vata is out of balance this may feel almost impossible, but all the people with a Vata body type should make an effort to establish a regular routine.

You should include relaxed and moderate kind of exercises in their routine. Yoga, meditation, walking, swimming are good for them. But you should avoid exhausting, competitive and frantic activities.

To maintain vata balance one should rest sufficiently, and choose foods, behaviors, personal relationships, and environmental circumstances that can set positive influences on vata. It is also important to regulate mental and physical impulses and to modify mental attitudes, emotional states, and behaviors in supportive ways. Try to associate with people who are calmly purposeful.

Vata people need to keep warm thus they should avoid staying out in cold weather and having cold food. Steam baths, humidifiers and moisture in general are beneficial for them. Daily oil massage before the shower or bath is also advisable.

Vata prakriti people should consume warm, moist, slightly oily and heavy food and should avoid cold and raw food. Optimum meal times for vata people are: breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at noon, a snack at 4 p.m. and a full dinner at 6 p.m.
Vata people should go to bed by 10 p.m. since they need more rest than the other types. A small daily nap between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. is beneficial for them.

The colours that correspond well with the Vata dosha are warm and gentle such as yellow, ochre, and brown. So vata people should include these colors in their wardrobes and homes as well.

People having vata constitution should wear Amethyst as this stone associate well with Vata dosha and drive positive influences.

If your basic constitution is mixed like vata-pitta or vata-kapha, then you should include portion for the second influential dosha.

A Food Plan to Balance Vata Dosha
Since vata is a cold dry dosha, warm, nourishing foods are good to balance Vata. You should include in your diet the food that is warm, moderately heavy, slightly oily (garnished with butter and fat), sweet, soothing and satisfying. All such foods are good for settling disturbed Vata. Food items such as warm milk, cream, butter, warm soups, stews, hot cereals, fresh baked bread, ripe fruits, salted nuts are good for vata. Breakfast is very important for vata people. You can add hot cereals such as cream of rice or wheat, any warm, milky, and sweet food item in your breakfast. Vata person should avoid high caffeine drinks instead of them they can opt herbal teas. Spicy Mexican or Indian foods that are cooked in oil also good for vata people. On the other hand cold foods such as cold salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not very good for persons with vata imbalance. They should avoid eating candies, dry fruits, and unripe fruits.