Tips to Balance Vata Dosha
The Air & Ether Elements
The Vata Type Constitution
The vata-type constitution reflects the physical, emotional and mental qualities of the elements of air and ether.
For example, vata-types typically:
- have a thin, light bodies;
- are quick thinking, fast-moving and light-hearted;
- possess natural gifts of communication and creativity;
- are naturally attuned to the subtle or what is unsaid (e.g. intuition, psychics);
- tend to “think outside the box” and resist social norms and structures.
Signs of vata imbalance include anxiety, nervousness, dryness, constipation, low vitality, weakness and fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, arthritis, and digestive issues.
In modern society, the majority of people suffer from some form of vata imbalance, due to increased social, environmental and technological change.
Therefore, it is considered beneficial for all types to balance vata dosha.
Vata Balancing Lifestyle Tips
Keywords to Balance Vata: Warmth, Grounding, Routine
Vata has the tendency to move quickly and erratically, like the wind. To balance this tendency, vata dosha benefits the most from regular routines, including:
Morning: Start your morning with a daily routine of routine of pranayamas (breathing exercises) and meditation. Spiritual practice helps to balance and ground the naturally etheric qualities of vata.
Massage: Daily self-massage with warm sesame oil, is greatly beneficial for vata-types, either in the morning or evening.
Eating: Try to keep regular meal times. Favour warm, cooked meals and avoid skipping meals.
Exercise: The sensitive vata-type benefits most from gentle exercises and can reduce/avoid overly intense workouts (which tend to be depleting). This includes hatha yoga, tai chi, qigong, gardening, swimming or nature walks.
Environments: Vatas benefit from sweet, gentle environments, including soothing smells, music and company. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend in frenetic places, like movie theaters or shopping malls. Favour quieter, natural settings and keep yourself warm, dry, cozy and contained. You may also choose to wear a hat.
Colour Therapy: Vatas are balanced by colours that are warming and calming, such as white, yellow, gold, violet, blue, deep reds and earthy tones. Gold (warming) is the best choice for jewellery.
The Vata Balancing Diet
A warm, nourishing diet helps to balance vata, including:
- Whole, freshly cooked foods, preferably served warm. This includes avocado, asparagus, squashes, zucchini, root vegetables, sweet potatoes, quinoa, rice, oats, dairy and most nuts (preferably soaked).
- Avoid/reduce foods and drinks that are cold (raw food, smoothies and juices), and dry foods, such as popcorn, rice cakes, chips and crackers;
- Increase your use of heating spices, such as black pepper, ginger, chili, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and nutmeg. Try to limit regular use of spices that are over-stimulating, such as hot sauces or cayenne.
- Enjoy generous amounts of high-quality oils in your diet, such as ghee and olive oil;
- Try to have 3-4 warm meals each day at a regular time, leaving 3-4 hours in between meals.
- Avoid low-fat diets and intense detoxification programmes, especially in colder months of the year;
- Most natural sweeteners (cane sugar, jaggery, raw honey) are good for vata. Try to avoid/reduce refined (white) sugar and stimulants (caffeine, alcohol);
- Avoid the habit of excessive snacking, talking or working while eating.
- Choose warming, nourishing and calming drinks, such as golden milk or spiced chai, tulsi tea, fresh ginger tea, lavender tea, rose tea or chamomile tea;
- The herbal ashwaghanda can be taken daily (1-2 teaspoons) to strengthen the immune system, nervous systems, muscles and reproductive system.
- Before bed, take 1-2 teaspoons of triphala powder. Vata types can take their triphala with warm water or as a paste (mix with with 1 tablespoon ghee and 1 tablespoon raw honey).
- Essential oils for vata dosha include lavender, rose, clary sage, patchouli, vanilla, rose, geranium, vetiver and tulsi.
About the Author
Briya Freeman has been teaching courses in meditation and natural healing since 2011. She is the creator of The Bloom Project, an online course in self-care and radiant living for women.
Briya is a long-term student of Berdhanya Swami Tierra, a female mystic and shaman of South American origin. She also holds studies in ayurveda at Anjali School of Ayurveda (Kerala, India) and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa.