Ayurveda is the ancient medical wisdom of India. According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe is composed of a combination of the five basic elements: ether (space), air, water, fire and earth. As with most medical systems, it is the balance of these elements which creates the picture of perfect health. Ayurveda teaches that there are three combinations of these fundamental elements which create the ‘bio-energies’ or functional aspects of the body. These doshas are Vaata, Pitta and Kapha and it is the balance of the doshas which fuels the practice of Ayurveda.
Vaata (or vaayu meaning wind) is the dosha which supports bodily movements. Vaata is a combination of air and ether thus without vaata, air would cease to move in our body, respiration would stop and life would ultimately end. Vaata is closely related to our prana or life’s eternal energy and controls the movement of this energy throughout the body. Vaata manages many bodily movements from digestion to anxious thoughts but due to its air-like nature, one can imagine the volatility of a vaata-predominant person.
Vaata persons will have erratic movements like the wind, but due to all this movement, they will be left cold and dry. The minds’ of vaata persons are also airy. Their thoughts will be sporadic and seemingly random with fickle tendencies. But, this jumping tendency will empower their creative and innovative capacities. Unfortunately, this creativity is coloured with an intense predisposition to anxiety and worry. Finally, vaata’s light and moving mind gives the ability to understand quickly but forget just as quickly. Some could say that vaata people literally have their heads in the clouds!
Physically, vaata people are thin, tall and lanky. Generally, they cannot gain weight but this could be from their erratic appetite and poor digestion. Vaata is seated in the abdomen so when there is an imbalance of vaata, one will likely experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms like bloating and constipation. Further, vaata also controls the movement of blood or circulation and a high vaata tendency will have weak circulation predisposing one to cold and dryness. Vaata people are almost always sensitive to cold. Their skin will reflect this trait with their thin brittle hair, parched lips and cracking skin. Warm moist environments and foods will serve to balance the vaata dosha.
Socially, vaata persons tend towards loneliness. They are the ones that will not call you back and say many things which they did not intend or spill out without thinking. Do not give up on the vaata as they are lovable people, but they just need some patience in a friend as their minds are scattered over the ten thousands things of life. They will often spend all their well-earned money on frivolous indulgences again without clear thought to what they are doing.
If you know that you are a person with these vaata tendencies, you should take some action in order to balance you excessive airy nature. Indulge in sweet, salty and oily foods, always cooked and served warm. You will always want to take on many tasks at once, but try to focus on one thing until completion and then take the time to reflect on what you have accomplished. Regularity in routine is also essential to give structure to your fleeting mind. Calming activities like yoga and meditation are highly beneficial in contrast to intensive activities like running. Stay warm, stay moist and keep your feet on the ground to avoid aggravating your vaata symptoms further.