Vata comes from the elements of Air and Ether (Space). Because of this Vata has a lot to do with movement since Air or Wind move as well all the time. Therefore Vata governs all movement in the body, the activities of the nervous system and the process of elimination. It also controls the movement of thoughts across the mind.
Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without Vata, Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic Energies (called Doshas) in the body. Hence Vata influences the other doshas. It’s very important to keep Vata in good balance.
The qualities of Vata are: Cold, light, dry, rough, moving, irregular and changeable.
If Vata dosha predominates in you, movement and change are characteristic of your nature. You will like to always be on the go, with an energetic and creative mind. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body. Read more here on the Characteristics of a Vata, Pitta or Kapha type Person.
Here are some tips for balancing Vata:
- To balance Vata, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life.
- Favor calming and soothing music.
- Drinking Vata tea or another Vata balancing tea like chamomile, lemon balm, fresh Ginger Tea or licorice tea.
- Season meals with Vata churna (powdered spice mix) or use Vata balancing spices for cooking (see below).
- Diffuse calming Vata aroma oil in the environment like Lavender, Geranium, Lemon balm, lemongrass, jasmine.
- Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) – daily massage with sesame oil (good quality, cold pressed).
- Warm temperatures for everything e.g. having warm drinks, warm baths etc.
- Stay warm in cold, windy weather. Always dress for the season and especially keep your head warm.
- Early bedtime is best and often rest when needed throughout the day.
- Do gentle and slow yoga sessions. Watch the backward bends, not holding them and only practicing them gently and carefully.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness to calm down and learning to de-stress. Click here for an online course.
- Regular daily routine is great and important for Vata.
- Nice calming walks in nature balance Vata but too much exercise is not so good for Vata.
- Avoid stimulants like coffee, alcohol and energy drinks.
- Regular, daily elimination is important.
- Warm, cooked foods are best (less raw foods).
- Favour sweet, sour, and salty tastes (they balance Vata).
- Favour warm, oily and heavier but healthy foods (not deep fried etc.).
- Reduce light, dry, cold foods and pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.
- Eat larger quantities of food, but not more than you can digest easily.
- Dairy. All dairy products pacify Vata. Always boil milk before you drink it, and drink it warm. Don’t drink milk with a full meal.
- Sweeteners. All sweeteners are good (in moderation) for pacifying Vata.
- Grains. Rice and *wheat are very good. Reduce intake of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye, and oats.
- Fruits. Favour sweet, sour, or heavy fruits, such as oranges, bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, berries, plums, Pineapples, mangos, and papayas. Reduce dry or light fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and dried fruits.
- Vegetables: Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimized. Favor beets, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus and sweet potatoes. They should be cooked, not raw. The following vegetables are acceptable in moderate quantities if they are cooked, especially with Ghee or oil and Vata reducing spices: peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, and potatoes. It’s better to avoid sprouts and cabbage.
- Spices. Cardamom, cumin, ginger (fresh and dry), cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed and small quantities of black pepper.
- All nuts are good except peanuts but especially almonds.
- Beans. Reduce all beans, except for tofu and mung dahl. Make sure the beans are well cooked and soft.
- Oils. All oils and ghee reduce Vata.
*Wheat used to be different. Nowadays wheat contains more gluten and spelt is more like wheat used to be.
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Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or a health program.