Vata Dosha: An Introduction
Every individual has a unique body constitution that comprises of a combination of the three doshas (also known as bioentities or forces that run through the body including Vata, Kapha and Pitta). The body constitution or ‘Prakriti’ of a person plays a key role in understanding his/her health and its related issues. Usually, two doshas are predominant in a person’s prakriti.
Vata Dosha is a combination of air and space, and is concerned with the nervous system and controls all body movement.
Characteristics of the Vata Type
Vata is associated with dryness, cold and lightness. Vata types are usually petite in build, with brittle nails and thin hair, and are erratic in nature. They are creative and crave new experiences, and sometimes, maybe quick -witted. Due to their movement orientation they are active and enthusiastic and are drawn to physical activities quickly, however, they do not have good stamina, and get tired quickly.
Their spontaneous nature can sometimes cause them trouble. For instance, they could easily be enticed into making impulse purchases, or forget to eat their meals, and then later be troubled by excessive gas or constipation problems. This may also cause them arthritis and joint problems. However, when they do find their balance, they can lead a meaningful and creative life.
To calm down their restless mind, Vata type must meditate regularly. Practice of slow rhythmic movements synchronised with breath can do wonders for Vata types, eg: Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
The Vata type are best suited to live in a humid and warm location. Their rooms must be uncluttered and create a pleasant, soothing environment so that they can feel safe and connected to themselves. They must do weekly oil baths (Abhyanga) with sesame oil to cleanse the body of toxins and use warm water for a bath post an Abhyanga.
Best Diet for Vata Type
When it comes to food, Vata type people must eat warm and small meals between regular intervals. These types cannot digest huge meals at once like the Pitta and Kapha types. Their digestive fire (jatharagni) is usually low, and needs to be enticed.
More specifically, the Vata type people must eat the following:
Vegetables: The Vata gut prefers cooked food as compared to raw food. Asparagus, okra, water chestnuts, red beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, radish, zucchini, spinach (in small quantities), sprouts (in small quantities), tomatoes (in small quantities), celery, onions and garlic are all good for the Vata type.
Fruits: Unripe fruits such as bananas should be avoided as they are astringent in nature. Apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, cherries, coconuts, dates, figs, mangoes, papaya, peaches and plums are all beneficial for the Vata type.
Sweeteners: Sweet reduces Vata. Vata people can use any sweetener in moderation except white sugar.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds are the best of all nuts. They should be soaked in lukewarm water overnight and then peeled before eating the next morning. Pumpkin seeds are a brain tonic. All nuts and seeds are good for Vata people especially when they are made into nut butters.
Spices: All spices (especially garlic and ginger) are good for the Vata type in small quantities, since these help in keeping all digestive issues at bay. Asafoetida is one of the best spices for the Vata type.
Grains: Freshly cooked grains such as rice are good for the Vata type. Of all grains, wheat is most satisfying to the Vata type The grains must be cooked with plenty of water and additional butter, ghee or sesame oil to provide grounding to the airy Vata types.