Ayurveda is a life science in which three pillars i.e. the tridoshas play a major role in the origin, development, growth and maintenance of human body. The balance in tridoshas bestows healthy life where as imbalance in the same doshas deteriorate health, giving rise to several physical and mental disorders. Hence a proper balance in tridoshas is very much essential for a healthy day-to-day life.
The equilibrium in tridoshas, saptadhatus and trimalas is ‘Aarogyam’ (Health).
What are Tridoshas?
Ayurvedic aacharyas have given great emphasis on tridoshas. Tridoshas are: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata means vayu, air, wind, force and space. Pitta means bile. Kapha means phlegm
Let us discuss about the predominance of Vata dosha in Ayurveda
According to Aacharya Charak, Vata is life. It is the strength of our body. Vata is the soul of universe and is considered as the most significant and predominant dosha. Life doesn’t exist without Vata.
Hence it is said that,
“Pittam pangu kapham pangu pangavo mala dhatavaha
Vayushch yetra niyante tatra gacchati meghavat”
As the clouds move in the direction in which the Vata flows, in the same way pitta and kapha (which are pangu/handicapped or disabled) move in the direction of Vata in our body. So if Vata is balanced, pitta and kapha are automatically in a balanced state. All the activities in our body are carried out by Vata. For example – walking, talking, body movements, respiration, digestion, absorption, excretion and even blinking of eyes etc.
Vata Gunas (Characteristics):
There are 5 Types of Vata as per Ayurveda:
- Prana vayu – controls the upper part of our body i.e. nose, eyes, tongue, ear, brain, heart, lungs etc.
- Udaan vayu – controls speech.
- Vyan vayu – controls all the body movements.
- Apaan vayu – controls uterine activities, excretory system.
Vata Prakriti Personality:
Vata prakriti people are usually active, vibrant, flexible, enthusiastic, creative, innovative, sensitive and talkative by nature. They usually have thin body, thin hair, and dry skin, constantly restless and don’t easily gain weight.
What is Vata imbalance?
As mentioned above, the Vata gunas and prakriti indicates about a person whose Vata is in balance. This Vata aggravates due to:
- Excessive eating of foods (which are light, bitter and pungent)
- Excessive exercise
- Excessive talking
- Excessive eating
- Excessive starving
- Excessive consumption of cold food items
- Sleepless nights
- Suppressing the natural urges
During rainy and winter seasons, there is vitiation of Vata, which leads to Vata imbalance in our body.
Symptoms of Vata Imbalance:
- Dryness of skin and hair
- Discomfort in joints
- Menstrual disturbances
- Hormonal problems
- Reduction in weight
- Getting easily fatigued
- Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing
- Irregular bowels
- Numbness in extremities
- Muscular cramps
- Intestinal cramps
- Flatulence and bloating
- Stress related problems
- Difficulty in speech
Diseases caused by Vata imbalance:
- Facial paralysis
- Gouty arthritis
- Cervical spondylitis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Delayed milestone
- Difficulty in micturition
- Still birth
Vata can be balanced in two ways:
- Diet (Aahara)
- Activities (Vihara)
Vata Balancing Diet:
To balance Vata, one has to follow a disciplined diet, which is opposite to Vata gunas (that are mentioned above). Introduce the diet with sweet, sour & salty foods and avoid bitter, pungent and astringent foods. The usage of oil (internally or externally) should be a on the priority among the Vata balancing diet chart.
The Nature of Food for Balancing Vata as per Ayurveda:
- Hot: Hot water, flavored hot milk with cardamom or cinnamon or even ginger, hot soups, hot meals and hot stews.
- Heavy: To pacify Vata, one should avoid light foods and consume heavy foods (full breakfast, lunch and dinner) at regular intervals, but with limited quantity, which shouldn’t hamper the digestion.
- Soft: The food taken should be soft and nourishing i.e. well cooked with oil or ghee. Raw intakes should be reduced, as they are very rough, for eg: cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, beans green leafy vegetables. These vegetables should be cooked to ward off their roughness and made softer to consume. The fruits like bananas, apples, sapodilla (chiku), papaya etc. should be consumed. The nuts should be soaked and consumed. Khichri garnished with ghee is the best soothing and soft food, which pacifies Vata.
- Sweets: Milk based sweets, cakes, puddings, sweet lassi; chocolates and sweet fruits should be taken in limited quantities.
- Sour: Lemon juice, sliced cheese, sour cream and curd should be consumed in limited quantity. Sour fruits like grapes, oranges, pineapple should be consumed, as sourness helps in increasing the digestive fire thus promoting digestion, assimilation and elimination of excessive Vata.
- Salty: Salt favors digestion. It retains the moisture of food and flavors the food and supports the elimination of Vata.
Avoid pungent, bitter and astringent flavors, which aggravates Vata.
Avoid nicotine and caffeine.
Vata Balancing Activities as per Ayurveda:
- Eating regularly (daily) at regular intervals. Heavy breakfast, lunch and light dinner(2hrs before going to bed). Over eating should be avoided.
- Yogasanas and pranayam helps in balancing Vata. Heavy exercises should be avoided.
- Daily warm oil massage (with ayurvedic oils) is recommended as Vata shamaka i.e. full body massage or particular Vata affected part, which moistens the skin and increases the body luster and mobility.
- One should avoid day sleep and sleep harmoniously at night. Sleep early and wake up early to avoid vitiation of Vata.
- Avoid irregular eating habits.
- Avoid excessive talking and laughing for long hours on phones.
- Practice meditation and listen to light and soothing music.
- Keep yourself warm by wearing warm clothes and cover the head & feet with warm clothing, especially during cold season.
Lets talk about Dinacharya (Daily Routine) to Maintain Balance in Vata Dosha
- Start your day at 6:00AM by drinking minimum 4 glasses of warm water; it may be difficult initially, so one can start with 2 glasses and later increase gradually to 4 glasses.
- Perform yoga and pranayam or light exercise in the morning.
- After an hour have a cup of hot chocolate drink or badam milk.
- Between 8:30AM to 9:30AM, have a heavy breakfast.
- Have a fruit between 11:00AM to 11:30AM.
- Have lunch between 1.00PM to 2.00PM. Lunch should be: 2 rotis, dal, rice or khichri made with moong dal, some vegetarian curry. Non-vegetarians can have non-veg curry or any non-veg rice. It is an ideal time to have salads, yogurt (curd) and butter-milk (seasoned with ginger, cumin, asafoetida), cheese, sour cream and ghee.
- Evenings, hot milk or tea with some biscuits or milk rusk.
- Dinner should be light with some soups, boiled veggies, dal and rice.
Vata is the most predominant and an important dosha of our body. Maintaining the balance in Vata should be given utmost importance. If Vata is in a balanced state the other doshas will also attain the balanced state maintaining the equilibrium amongst tridosha, dhatu and trimala. The equilibrium among these three restores health, vigour and vitality in our body.
Balanced Vata is Balanced Life
One should be more careful and cautious about their lifestyle. One should always try to balance Vata through hot and nutritious diet and regular exercises. If Vata imbalance cannot be rectified with the above diet and schedule, one should consult an Ayurvedic physician who will help in eliminating the vitiated imbalanced Vata with Vatahara ayurvedic medicines.