The Ayurveda Guide For Vata Dosha

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

 

Vata Dosha Disease Process

The concept of vata originates from the Sanskrit word “vyv” [vaya] which implies ‘that which moves things’. Eventually, vata began to be depicted as wind. In essence, vata is the principle and dynamic force which governs all movement. When vata is balanced it promotes great creativity, evokes feelings of freshness and lightness which springs forth the sense of happiness. When vata becomes imbalanced it then promotes dispersing qualities which can then make the mind and body vulnerable to a wide-range of health conditions. Let us now see how various factors express themselves in the realm of vata dosha.

Samprapti/Shad Kriya Kala
The ancient writings of Ayurveda describe “Samprapti” as the disease process which, if understood properly, can actually detect and address certain health conditions at each and every stage; i.e. addressing the root cause. According to this philosophy [i.e. samprapti/pathogenesis], there are six stages for the disease process.

The Six Stages Of Disease:
1. Accumulation Of Doshas – Sanchaya
2. Aggravation/Provocation Of Doshas – Prakopa
3. Spread Of Doshas – Prasara
4. Deposition/Localization Of Doshas – Sthana Samshraya
5. Manifestation Of Qualitative Changes – Vyakti
6. Differentiation & Destruction Of Tissue – Bheda

 

 

Stage One – Accumulation [Sanchaya] 
During the initial stage of vata imbalance the cold quality accumulates which may create conditions of constipation, lower abdominal distention, and gas. Likewise, this increased sensitivity to cold weather can also creates pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. The natural inherent tendency is to warm the stiff muscles and painful joints. In the same manner, our initial goal is to create this same sense of warmth within to help balance the cold quality of vata dosha.

Quality – Cold
The exposure to cold food and cold climate can aggravate vata dosha.

Introduce warm qualities such as:

  • diet: warm and spicy food
  • warming spices: ginger, black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds
  • lifestyle: dress warm, avoid cold climates and air-conditioning
  • warm castor oil compress on the abdominal region
  • warm water bottle to the abdomen
  • warm sesame oil basti/enema

 

Stage Two – Aggravation [Prakopa] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced with cold, dry, and light qualities it soon becomes aggravated primarily in the colon with symptoms of fullness in the abdomen along with the above-mentioned symptoms of constipation, lower abdominal distention and gas.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light
This may occur with increased intake of raw food, exposure to gusty winds especially during the dry and cold autumn season.

Balance cold, dry, and light qualities with:

  • regular oil massage [i.e. abhyanga]
  • adding extra oil or ghee to food
  • additional warm clothing when exposed to cold & dry climate

Base oils infused with a decoction of one or more Ayurvedic herbs combine nourishing and soothing qualities of oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

– warm dashamula tea basti/enema
– triphala guggulu
– gandharva haritaki

Vata's Secondary Sites:
As vata dosha increases and begins to become aggravated in the colon [primary site], vata also begins to increase in the secondary sites which may begin creating certain signs and symptoms associated with vata dosha.

Stage Three – Spread [Prasara] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced the mobile quality now allows vata to spread from the gastrointestinal tract into the general circulation. The dry and light qualities of vata can affect blood tissue [rasa dhatu] which can create signs and symptoms of dehydration, dry skin, palpitations, ringing in the ears, cold hands and feet. Likewise, the mobile qualities of vata can begin to create physical symptoms of tics, spasms, tremors and even uncertainty [“shakiness”] within the mind; amongst many other conditions.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile
Excess mobile quality of vata may arise with increased physical and mental activities such as running, jumping, flying and excess stimulation of the mind such as loud noise, excessive talking, etc.

Balance cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities with:

  • rest & relaxation
  • abhyanga [oleation massage]
  • snehana [self-massage with oil]

Prevention Is Better Than Cure
At this point, vata has now entered the general circulation and has the ability to cause disease if it enters into certain bodily tissue. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken in order to prevent the progression of disease.

Abhyanga [Oil Massage] & Svedana [Sweating]

Vata Types may use sesame oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy] using a steam box under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Likewise, vata types may want to consider adding a few drops of nirgundi oil to the steam box.

Pitta Types may use sunflower oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Likewise, pitta types may want to consider adding a few drops of sandalwood oil to the steam box during swedana – sweat therapy.

Kapha Types may use olive oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Kapha types may want to consider using a few drops [i.e. 3-5 drops] of eucalyptus oil added to the steam box during swedana – sweat therapy.

Stage Four – Deposition [Sthana Samshraya]
This stage in the progression of vata dosha is particularly significant because the subtle quality of vata allows for the entry of vata into weakened tissue [i.e. impaired dhatu agni]. If the integrity of each tissue is intact with optimal function [i.e. dhatu agni] – then vata dosha will not be able to enter into tissue and will therefore return back to the gastrointestinal tract – where it belongs.

Stressing The Importance Of:

  • preventing the progression of doshic imbalance
  • maintaining healthy tissue integrity [agni]

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle
As the qualities of vata dosha circulate through the body, the clinical manifestation of disease depends on which quality of vata predominates and which tissue is most influenced by the predominating qualities of vata dosha.

Very Briefly
Dhatus are similar to tissue. Dhatu comes from the word “dha” which means ‘to hold’. Therefore, dhatus are “that” – which hold certain functions; which is similar to our modern understanding of bodily tissue. We can think of dhatu agni as being the tissue’s protective barrier to disease. If this tissue barrier [dhatu agni] becomes impaired, this allows the qualities of vata dosha to enter the tissue and begin to create clinical signs and symptoms of disease.

Stage Five – Manifestation [Vyakti]
During this stage of the disease process the rough quality of vata predominates and now the full manifestation of disease occurs. The rough quality of vata can create conditions of fissures, fistulas and excessive rough and scaly skin [i.e. psoriasis] amongst many other health concerns.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle – Rough
Rough and raw foods will further aggravate the qualities of vata. Instead, we should consider oily and lubricating qualities such as “maha snehana” – combination of oil, ghee, animal fat and bone marrow – applied at the site of roughness.

 

As Vata Dosha spreads throughout the body and enters various bodily tissue [i.e. dhatu] it manifests as characteristic signs and symptoms such as ...

  • Impaired Rasa Dhatu allows for the subtle and mobile qualities of vata to enter into rasa dhatu [plasma] creating symptoms of fever with chills [vata jvara], dehydration, fatigue, generalized body ache, etc.
  • Impaired Rakta Dhatu allows vata to enter rakta [blood] dhatu [rakta gata vata]  which may lead to impaired circulation creating symptoms of poor circulation, cold hands and feet, blood clots, varicose veins, aneurysms, etc.
  • Impaired Mamsa Dhatu allows vata to enter mamsa [muscle] dhatu [mamsa gata vata] and create symptoms of muscle spasms – tics, restless leg syndrome muscle wasting, etc.
  • Impaired Meda Dhatu allows for vata to enter meda [adipose] dhatu [meda gata vata] which can lead to lack of lubrication with cracking and popping of ‘dry joints’, dry skin, hernias, displacement of internal organs [i.e. descending kidneys and/or spleen; due to diminished supportive omentum [adiposity].
  • Impaired Asthi Dhatu allows for vata to enter into asthi [bone] dhatu [asthi gata vata] which can create symptoms of osteoporosis, lower back pain, hair loss, splitting hair, receding gums, ringing of the ear [ear drum – specialized bone], and even thyroid dysfunction.
  • Impaired Majja Dhatu allows for vata to enter into majja [nerve/bone marrow] tissue [majja gata vata] and may create neurological symptoms of tingling and numbness in extremities, cluster headaches, tics, spasms, neuralgia and sciatica, etc.
  • Impaired Shukra/Artava Dhatu allows for vata to enter into shukra/arthava [male & female reproductive dhatu and create symptoms of various male and female health concerns.

 

Stage Six – Complications [Bheda] 
In this final stage of the disease process, the clear quality of vata leads to further complications nearly abolishing or “clearing out” the function of the already weakened tissue. Here, the individual should seek immediate care of a qualified professional.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle – Rough – Clear

Panchakarma
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

Click Here – To Learn More About Panchakarma

 

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS – 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


Ayurveda - The Movement Of Vata Dosha

 

Ayurveda - The Movement Of Vata Dosha
Ayurveda is the science of life. The science of Ayurveda explains that the human body is a replica of the vast external universe recognizing each individual to be an integral part of the entire cosmos. A unique aspect of Ayurveda is the explanation of three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy. Not only do the doshas govern our bodily functions but from a more truer perspective – they are the governing principles of nature. For now, we shall consider vata dosha.

“That which moves things.”

Vata Dosha
The concept of vata originates from the Sanskrit word “vyv” [vaya] which implies ‘that which moves things’. Eventually, vata began to be depicted as wind. In essence, vata is the principle and dynamic force which governs all movement.

Balanced Vata Dosha:
When vata is balanced it promotes great creativity, evokes feelings of freshness and lightness which springs forth the sense of happiness.

Imbalanced Vata Dosha:
When vata becomes imbalanced it then promotes dispersing qualities which can then make the mind and body vulnerable to a wide-range of health conditions. Click Here: To Learn More About Vata Types 

The Movement Of Vata Dosha
Ayurveda recognizes that each individual has a unique balance and that this balance can become disturbed by various factors such as diet, lifestyle, seasonal changes and even the way we think and perceive our experiences. Let us now see how various factors express themselves in the realm of vata dosha.

Stage One - Accumulation [Sanchaya]
During the initial stage of vata imbalance the cold quality accumulates which may create conditions of constipation, lower abdominal distention, and gas. Likewise, this increased sensitivity to cold weather can also creates pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. The natural inherent tendency is to warm the stiff muscles and painful joints. In the same manner, our initial goal is to create this same sense of warmth within to help balance the cold quality of vata dosha.

Quality - Cold
The exposure to cold food and cold climate can aggravate vata dosha.

Introduce warm qualities such as:

  • diet: warm and spicy food
  • warming spices: ginger, black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds
  • lifestyle: dress warm, avoid cold climates and air-conditioning
  • warm castor oil compress on the abdominal region
  • warm water bottle to the abdomen
  • warm sesame oil basti/enema

 

Stage Two - Aggravation [Prakopa]
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced with cold, dry, and light qualities it soon becomes aggravated primarily in the colon with symptoms of fullness in the abdomen along with the above-mentioned symptoms of constipation, lower abdominal distention and gas.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light
This may occur with increased intake of raw food, exposure to gusty winds especially during the dry and cold autumn season.

Balance cold, dry, and light qualities with:

  • regular oil massage [i.e. abhyanga]
  • adding extra oil or ghee to food
  • additional warm clothing when exposed to cold & dry climate

 

Organic Massage Oil
Base oils infused with a decoction of one or more Ayurvedic herbs combine nourishing and soothing qualities of oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

- warm dashamula tea basti/enema
- triphala guggulu
- gandharva haritaki

 

Stage Three - Spread [Prasara] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced the mobile quality now allows vata to spread from the gastrointestinal tract into the general circulation. The dry and light qualities of vata can affect blood tissue [rasa dhatu] which can create signs and symptoms of dehydration, dry skin, palpitations, ringing in the ears, cold hands and feet. Likewise, the mobile qualities of vata can begin to create physical symptoms of tics, spasms, tremors and even uncertainty [“shakiness”] within the mind; amongst many other conditions.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile
Excess mobile quality of vata may arise with increased physical and mental activities such as running, jumping, flying and excess stimulation of the mind such as loud noise, excessive talking, etc.

Balance cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities with:

  • rest & relaxation
  • abhyanga [oleation massage]
  • snehana [self-massage with oil]

 

Prevention Is Better Than Cure
At this point, vata has now entered the general circulation and has the ability to cause disease if it enters into certain bodily tissue. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken in order to prevent the progression of disease.

Abhyanga [Oil Massage] & Svedana [Sweating]

Vata Types may use sesame oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy] using a steam box under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Likewise, vata types may want to consider adding a few drops of nirgundi oil to the steam box.

Pitta Types may use sunflower oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Likewise, pitta types may want to consider adding a few drops of sandalwood oil to the steam box during swedana - sweat therapy.

Kapha Types may use olive oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Kapha types may want to consider using a few drops [i.e. 3-5 drops] of eucalyptus oil added to the steam box during swedana - sweat therapy.

 

Stage Four - Deposition [Sthana Samshraya]
This stage in the progression of vata dosha is particularly significant because the subtle quality of vata allows for the entry of vata into weakened tissue [i.e. impaired dhatu agni]. If the integrity of each tissue is intact with optimal function [i.e. dhatu agni] - then vata dosha will not be able to enter into tissue and will therefore return back to the gastrointestinal tract - where it belongs.

Stressing The Importance Of:

  • preventing the progression of doshic imbalance
  • maintaining healthy tissue integrity [agni]

 

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle
As the qualities of vata dosha circulate through the body, the clinical manifestation of disease depends on which quality of vata predominates and which tissue is most influenced by the predominating qualities of vata dosha.

Very Briefly
Dhatus are similar to tissue. Dhatu comes from the word “dha” which means ‘to hold’. Therefore, dhatus are “that” - which hold certain functions; which is similar to our modern understanding of bodily tissue. We can think of dhatu agni as being the tissue’s protective barrier to disease. If this tissue barrier [dhatu agni] becomes impaired, this allows the qualities of vata dosha to enter the tissue and begin to create clinical signs and symptoms of disease.

  • Impaired Rasa Dhatu allows for the subtle and mobile qualities of vata to enter into rasa dhatu [plasma] creating symptoms of fever with chills [vata jvara], dehydration, fatigue, generalized body ache, etc.
  • Impaired Rakta Dhatu allows vata to enter rakta [blood] dhatu [rakta gata vata]  which may lead to impaired circulation creating symptoms of poor circulation, cold hands and feet, blood clots, varicose veins, aneurysms, etc.
  • Impaired Mamsa Dhatu allows vata to enter mamsa [muscle] dhatu [mamsa gata vata] and create symptoms of muscle spasms - tics, restless leg syndrome muscle wasting, etc.
  • Impaired Meda Dhatu allows for vata to enter meda [adipose] dhatu [meda gata vata] which can lead to lack of lubrication with cracking and popping of ‘dry joints’, dry skin, hernias, displacement of internal organs [i.e. descending kidneys and/or spleen; due to diminished supportive omentum [adiposity].
  • Impaired Asthi Dhatu allows for vata to enter into asthi [bone] dhatu [asthi gata vata] which can create symptoms of osteoporosis, lower back pain, hair loss, splitting hair, receding gums, ringing of the ear [ear drum - specialized bone], and even thyroid dysfunction.
  • Impaired Majja Dhatu allows for vata to enter into majja [nerve/bone marrow] tissue [majja gata vata] and may create neurological symptoms of tingling and numbness in extremities, cluster headaches, tics, spasms, neuralgia and sciatica, etc.
  • Impaired Shukra/Artava Dhatu allows for vata to enter into shukra/arthava [male & female reproductive dhatu and create symptoms of various male and female health concerns.

 

Stage Five - Manifestation [Vyakti]
During this stage of the disease process the rough quality of vata predominates and now the full manifestation of disease occurs. The rough quality of vata can create conditions of fissures, fistulas and excessive rough and scaly skin [i.e. psoriasis] amongst many other health concerns.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle - Rough
Rough and raw foods will further aggravate the qualities of vata. Instead, we should consider oily and lubricating qualities such as “maha snehana” - combination of oil, ghee, animal fat and bone marrow - applied at the site of roughness.

 

Stage Six - Complications [Bheda] 
In this final stage of the disease process, the clear quality of vata leads to further complications nearly abolishing or “clearing out” the function of the already weakened tissue. Here, the individual should seek immediate care of a qualified professional.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle - Rough - Clear

Panchakarma
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

Click Here - To Learn More About Panchakarma

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS - 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


Hey Vata - Slow Down!

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old medical philosophy predicated on the idea that we are influenced by three main doshas - vata, pitta, and kapha. These three doshas in Ayurveda, describe our state of mind and all functions of the body. While all three doshas are present in everyone, Ayurveda states that we often have a dosha that’s predominant from birth. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy; when they are unbalanced, we become increasingly vulnerable to disease. Let us now focus on vata dosha.

Hey Vata - "Slow Down"
Being a vata type you undoubtedly are an active and energetic person. If there were ever a need for speed it’s specific for vata individuals. Plain and simple, vata types love moving - running, jumping, tumbling, twirling, flying, and movement of all types. Due to all this active energy, vata types are most vulnerable from overwork, over exercise, and tend to overextend themselves beyond the scope of their physical capacity.

The Vata Body
Vatas commonly have a thin build, muscles generally not as well-developed as the other two main types [pitta, kapha] and often find it hard to gain weight. Dry skin? Thought so. Vata types can often have dry, cracked or even rough skin. This makes sense since the predominant qualities of vata doshas are dry, rough, and cold.

The Vata Mind
Vata types love excitement and new experiences. Vatas are creative, energetic and very flexible. When vatas are balanced they are lively, take initiative and are great conversationalists. When imbalanced, vata types easily become vulnerable to worry, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. Vata are easily able to grasp ideas quickly and often have great short term memory but not-so-great long term memory. A well developed vata mind is agile making for great intellects. When this agile nature of the vata mind is well developed, vata types can be great intellects and scholars. On the other hand, if there is too much flexibility of the mind without structure this can make the vata mind “spacey” and at times ungrounded.

Creative Motion
Vata types are governed by the mobile quality which makes them inclined to a state of creative motion. This makes vata types vulnerable to exhaustion because these individuals go beyond their own physical stamina. Despite vata types being ones who most need rest, they are also the ones most likely to keep going. Vata types - need to calm down and rest more!  Vata types are predominately made from the most variable elements - ether and air.  Due to these variable elements vata’s sexual appetite varies just like the wind. Some days the wind is calm and gentle while other days, the wind furiously storms about. This best explains the sexual nature of vata types. That said, vatas are often the most creative of people often fantasizing with intense passion.

Vata Pacifying Meals: Warm - Grounding - Slightly Oily Foods

Hard Digestion
Vata types often have irregular digestion; meaning very hungry at times and at other times no hunger at all. They also are thought to have a “hard” digestive tract which makes them vulnerable to experience symptoms of abdominal distention, flatulence, and a tendency towards a “nervous appetite”.

Light Sleepers
Vatas often have irregular sleep patterns and whatever sleep these individuals are able to get tends to be “light” sleep. It’s only until vatas become tired and exhausted that they  experience deep sleep. Generally, vatas have difficulty falling asleep and being “light sleepers” wake up several times throughout the night. Due to the mobile quality inherent to vata types, these individuals become vulnerable to all “types” of movement - grinding teeth, sleep-talkers, sleep-walkers and commonly have the most dynamic dreams. Vata dreams are adventurous dreams centered around the enjoyment being chased.

Vata Management
Vata individuals are made primarily of the air element and just like the wind, vatas are always moving. Due to the ‘air’ element and the cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities - management for vata types is centered around principles of:

– Warming
– Moistening and
– Weight promoting

Several considerations for vata types:

  • eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods
  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

 

Sweet, Sour & Salty
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, vata types often are most balanced by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Interestingly, these tastes [sweet, sour and salty] are considered to be moistening and nutritive in action; the very management goals for vata types.

Improving Digestion
Vata types are characterized as having irregular digestion and even vulnerable to constipation. Therefore, vata individuals may want to consider digestive stimulants to help promote their appetite and digestive ability. Moistening and bulking elements [i.e. flaxseed, psyllium seeds] may also help to manage constipation which is common for vata types.

Great Veggies For Vatas [cooked well]

  • asparagus
  • beets
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • sweet potatoes
  • onions
  • radishes
  • turnips

 

Awesome Fruit For Vatas [ripened]

  • bananas
  • apricots
  • avocados
  • berries
  • cherries
  • fresh figs
  • grapefruit
  • lemons

 

Terrific Grains For Vatas

  • well cooked oats
  • cooked rice

 

Favorable Beans:

  • chickpeas
  • mung beans

Sub-Doshas of Vata

The Five Sub-Doshas of Vata

1. Prana Vata ~ 'Forward-moving air'
Primary air or nervous force. extends from the diaphragm to the throat, centered in the brain, governing inhalation and swallowing, as well as sneezing, spitting and belching; it is in charge of taking things like food, water and air into the system. It governs the senses, mind, heart and consciousness. It is our portion of cosmic life energy and directs all the other Vatas in the body. It determines our inspiration or positive spirit in life and connects us with our inner self. The term 'Prana' is also used in a broader sense to indicate Vata in general, as all Vatas derive from it.

2. Udana Vata ~ 'Upward-moving air'
Extends from the throat to the top of the head, located in the chest and centered in the throat, it governs exhalation and speech, endeavor, enthusiasm, memory, vitality, complexion (one of the body's means of expressing its innate state of health). Udana determines our aspiration in life. At death it rises up from the body and directs us towards various subtle worlds according to the power of our will and the karma that move through it. When fully developed it gives us the power to transcend the outer world, as well as psychic powers. The practice of Yoga is involved primarily with developing Udana.

3. Samana Vata ~ 'Equalizing-air'
Extends from the diaphragm to the navel, centered in the small intestine and the nervous system behind the digestive system. It is in charge of digestion and assimilation, and helps keep Prana and Apana in balance. Samana vats helps to keep balance and equilibrium in all the bodily systems.

4. Vyana Vata ~ 'Pervasive air'
Pervades the entire body from its seat in the heart, distribution of nourishment by causing blood and other fluids to circulate, and producing locomotion, extension and contraction, perspiration and other such actions (discharge of impulses and secretions).

5. Apana Vata ~ 'Downward-moving air'
Operates from the navel to the anus, centered in the colon. In charge of: elimination, urination, menstruation, parturition and sexual activity. Apana, the descending air, carries life-force down and brings about the devolution or limitation of consciousness. Apana supports and controls all the other forms of Vata, and derangements of it are the basis of most Vata disorders (as the colon is Vata's main seat). As a downward moving force, when it is aggravated it causes decay and disintegration. Therefore, the treatment of Apana is the first consideration in the treatment of Vata.

 References:
• Robert E. Svoboda, Ayurveda Life, Health and Longevity
• David Frawley Ayurvedic Healing, A comprehensive guide


VATA ~ Basic Management

THE BASICS FOR MANAGING VATA TYPES:

The management of vata types can be explained in just one word, “relax”. Vata individuals are made primarily of the air element and therefore, just like the wind, are always moving. Due to the ‘air’ element, vata types often experience cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities. Therefore, from a simple perspective, management for vata types is centered around principles of:
- Warming
- Moistening and
- Weight promoting

Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, vata types often are most balanced by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Interestingly, these tastes [sweet, sour and salty] are considered to be moistening and nutritive in action; the very management goals for vata types.

VATA IN A NUTSHELL:
dryness, pain, irregularity, nervous imbalance, weight loss, cold and lightness

VATA WARNING BELLS:

  • Irregular Digestion
  • Increased Anxiety and Worry
  • Insomnia

KEEPING IT SIMPLE:
Several considerations for helping to balance vata types:

- eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods

  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tabaco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

VATA QUALITIES AND THIER MANIFESTATIONS:

- Dry

  • Light
  • Cold
  • Rough
  • Mobile

DRY:
Due to the dry quality, vata types are often vulnerable to dry skin, dehydration and even that annoying cracking and popping of the joints.

LIGHT:
The light quality, if increased, can make vata types feel ungrounded, light-headed and even lead to insomnia if this quality persists.

COLD:
If you ever shake the hands of a vata type, you will take notice of cold hands. Vata types are most sensitive to cold weather and will often experience pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, specifically in cold weather.

ROUGH:
Vata types are vulnerable to developing dry, rough, and scaly skin. Likewise, the inner lining of the body [i.e. mucosal lining] can also become dry and rough and according to this principles is the underlying cause of fissures along the mucosal lining.

MOBILE:
As mentioned above, the air element of vata types is always moving, resembling the wind. If this mobile quality is increased, this can lead to abnormal movements of the body such as tics, spasms, tremors and even agitation within the mind giving rise to uncertainty and anxiety.

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