Vata, the movement principle, formed from akash and vayu, and
having the qualities of emptiness, expansiveness, subtlety, coldness,
dryness, roughness, movement, instability, and variability. (Note that the
descriptions attributed to vata dosha are similar in many ways to the
chemical definition of a gas—no definite form, molecules move very fast,
expand to fill the volume of the container, etc.)
Vata, as a principle, underlies all movement in living beings, including
thought. It is described as being particularly strong in certain locations
in the physical body where there is a great deal of movement:
· the colon and abdomen (apana vata), where it promotes the
downward movements involved in evacuation, urination,
menstruation, ejaculation, ovulation, and birthing, as well as the
movement of the legs.
· the small intestines (samana vata), where food is moved through
approximately 21 feet of digestive tubing in the process of its digestion
· The chest (prana vayu) where vata expresses through movements
of the heartbeat, breath and breathing apparatus, and trunk and
· The head (udana vayu) where movements involved with speech
occur (in association with prana vayu), as well as cognition and the
brain as the center of the nervous system.
· The entire body, where vyana vata circulates blood, lymph, and
nutrients through the vessels and tissues, and moves subtle energies
through the auric field of the subtle body.
Whenever there is a disease condition involving lack of proper mobility
of body or mind (scanty speech, loss of sensitivity or concsiousness,
etc.), vata is said to be either deficient or obstructed. Similarly,
when drying quality of vata is absent, and in certain situations where
fluid accumulates locally in the body, vata may also be said to be
deficient or obstructed.
Balanced vata manifests as a healthy nervous system and healthy
activity of the five vayus, liveliness, creativity, curiosity, sensitivity,
enthusiasm, empathy, and intuition.
When vata is excessive, its qualities manifest in imbalanced ways in
the physical, emotional, or mental aspects of the living being:
· Its dry qualities may manifest as constipation, dryness of the skin,
sinuses, and eyes, and mouth, insufficient lubrication of the joints (eg.
· Its movement and spacey qualities may manifest as insomnia,
inability to focus the mind or sit still, nervousness, rapid or excessive
speech, and inability to calm the mind.
· Its sensitive, subtle, and empty qualities may manifest as anxiety,
anxious depression, over-sensitivity to stimuli, inability to gain
weight, poor appetite or eating patterns, etc.
· Its cold qualities may manifest as chronic chilliness and
intolerance to cold and wind.
· Its changeable qualities may manifest as inconsistent energy level
and difficulty completing tasks or keeping commitments.
Factors Aggravating Vata
· Dry weather, cold, windy weather, high altitudes, and
· Excessive exercise, travel, or driving
· Grazing and snacking between meals, lack of regular healthy
· Too many cold and dry foods in the diet (rice cakes, granola, dried
fruit, chips, powerbars, ice water, etc), stimulants in the diet, and ice
water and cold drinks
· Insufficient intake of oils in the diet, insufficient protein and warm
· Suppression of natural urges (eg. tears, flatulance, urination,
· Insufficient sleep and/or staying up late at night
· Situations of fear, loneliness, or financial stress
· Any shocking or unexpected trauma of body, mind or emotion.