What is Vata Dosha? Vata Under Stress and Imbalance


What is this Vata dosha body type imbalance all about?

In a minute you will be an expert in understanding Ayurveda’ s basic bio-energy, Vata.

Vata dosha, the most powerful and far-reaching of all the basic bio-energies of the body, is activated when air and space elements dominate over the other three; Fire, Water, and Earth.

How would it feel to be on the top of a highrise in the evening when the Fire of the warm Sun, Earth element of the ground and Water element, the moisture in the air, is low.

I can almost see you go ‘brrrr’.

That is what happens when the Air and the Space element take over the body.

The normally creative and exuberant Vatas, turn nagging, complaining, and going around in circles, driving their loved ones up the walls.

Brief Overview of the Vata Body Type

Body, the Vata body is slender, small-boned, has long limbs and sharp features.

Mind, the Vata mind is able to vision, is able to grasp many subjects very quickly but doesn’t retain them.

Emotion, the Vata dosha body type is excited and exuberant, loves to chat but can get anxious and overwhelmed.

Relationships, Vatas do well with nurturing Kaphas the best but also work well with Pittas when there is understanding that the fiery pitta has a bark worse than his bite.

Diseases, Vatas are challenged with disorders like weight loss, dry skin, constipation, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, constipation, gas and bloating, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, etc

Employment, Vatas do well as sprint athletes, artists, visionaries, healers, intuitives, models, movie directors, thinkers, poets, and philosophers.

Challenges, Vata tends to over plan and overdo when out of balance, they are disorganized and forget to take care of themselves often, and need frequent breaks to recover.

Vata in Motion

We poor Vatas are often the first in the room to reach for a blanket, head to the bathroom because it always feels like we drink too much and our skins need extra thick lotion, as soon as the hint of winter arrives.

Even if you are a Vata Pitta, if your Vata is dominant over your Pitta, which normally is, considering the Air and Space elements are lighter, cooler, and spread swiftly, you will still have an anxious Vata response under stress.


Vata is the quality of movement.


What does it mean to have a Vata Dosha Imbalance?

Energetically, Vatas faithfully follow the qualities of its element Space and Air.

As space expands air flows slower, as space constricts, air flows faster. This is key to remedy the Vata dosha tendencies as we can be excessively prone to churning thoughts, variable digestion, constipation and heightened circulation.

As stress constricts the body and the mind, Vatas find themselves talking fast, blinking fast, scrolling like crazy on Instagram, binge watching Netflix, and stuffing their faces with dry crunchy snacks that further reduce the hydration in the body.

Vatas are thin boned and may be of different heights but usually have low BMI and stay thin, no matter what they eat. Some Vata types with unhealthy lifestyles can grow a low hanging belly.

When in balance the movement of Vatas may still be higher than other body Types, a characteristic bubbly effervescence, too much talking, laughing, and jumping from subject to subject.

Vatas can drive their Pitta and Kapha friends crazy because of their high energies and frequent crashes. Pittas Body Types see them as directionless and flaky, while Kapha Types have trouble keeping up with the daily shift that is a Vata soul.

If you don’t know your body type, please take this free Ayurveda body type Quiz

What are the symptoms of Vata Dosha?

  • Dry skin, eyes that get dry in A.C, fingers that crack with trapped air, hair that gets fried easily when using hairdryers and chemicals.

  • Internal gas, bloating, constipation, flatulence when eating hard to digest foods like cheese and cured meats.

  • Overwhelm, restlessness, anxiety, ungroundedness, feeling like everything is about to fall apart.

  • Poor circulation of blood causing frostbite in winters, faster movement of food through the alimentary canal before the body has extracted nutrients, frequent urination triggered by anxiety, heart palpitations during extreme distress.

  • Quick to develop cracked lips as soon as the weather starts to shift, elbows and knees get rough faster than other body types, hair loses softness and gets textured.

  • twitching of eyes, jerking knees, bouncing and ticks, spasms and twitches when tired, not able to sit still during meditations, etc.

Vata Skin and its Challenges

Due to the higher movement of food, water, blood circulation, and evaporation, Vata imbalance in the skin looks like extreme dryness. Vata’s hair and nails get brittle when Vata gets lazy about nourishing her body with wholesome food and is too busy to cook nutrient-dense meals.

Be careful Vata Dosha Body Types

If Vata dosha, that anxious spaced-out state of mind, is not nipped in the bud with calming, grounding rituals and meditative activities of any kind like drawing, swimming, yoga, walking meditation, etc then the skin starts to show the effects of prolonged disturbance.

Vata skin starts to turn dry, rough, develop crow’s feet, fine lines, and premature wrinkles. Vata’s hair starts to look fried and lifeless.


Vatas are artistic and creative when in balance.


Can Vata Dosha be cured?

Those who attempt to cure Vata do not understand the fundamental mechanics of the body as defined by Ayurveda. A Vata imbalance can be healed, and samatva balance restored however if you are a Vata Body Type, this is the card you were dealt with.

Mother nature and the quality of your parent’s egg and sperm determined your Prakriti, your natural inclination towards a particular imbalance.

Like every other individual, you were born with assets and liabilities. Your Vata is a gift and an invitation to live a more structured, purposeful life within the limitations of your Prakriti.

Remedies for Vata healing

Catch the Vata in the mind.

When you start to feel excessively anxious for no reason, ground yourself with a walk on the beach or the park. Go barefoot, let your toes feel the earth, sink into some warm sand on the beach or the wet dew of grass. All offering opposites of warmth and hydration that the Vata type is craving for.

Get cozy with someone who loves you or hug your pet. Wear a sweater if it is starting to get cold and you are continuing to work or play.

Make yourself a cup of warm tea with a teaspoon of natural sugar or rock sugar or jaggery.

Vata Diet and Digestion

When we eat, we bring in fresh Vata, Pitta, and Kapha into the body. This could either help balance or knock us off, depending on what the state of the body is.

If you eat dry foods, make sure you sip on warm herbal digestive tea, buttermilk cooled in a ceramic or mud pot, or soup.

If you eat wet and soupy meals, take it up a notch by going easy on chilies that bring pungent, cruciferous vegetables that are astringent, and bitter tastes like bitter gourd, fenugreek leaves, etc and add sweet, sour, and salty. This is an important way to balance the Vata diet.

(sweeter by the way means grains, beans, and legumes, veggies and fruit, and also sugar, molasses, jaggery, etc.)

As the elements of Air and Space take over, the alimentary canal slows down and gets blocked in the colon or conversely speeds it up and quickly eliminates before all the nutrients could be extracted efficiently.

Constipation, gas, bloating and a noisy gurgling tummy are all the worst public offenders of a Vata body type.

Here is more on the Ayurvedic diet for all body types, Vata, Pitha, and Kapha.

What foods should Vata avoid?

Eating when not hungry will put a strain on the days when the digestive fire is weak, and this will cause bloating and gas.

Vatas with imbalance must not eat too much protein on days we do not feel hungry and instead, we must eat light to digest complex carbs, veggies, and fruit.

When depleted by illness or by a heavy monthly period, a Vata diet should have extra protein in the form of well-cooked light curries, soups, and broths or otherwise you will turn anemic, underweight, and feel constantly fatigued.

Remedies for Vata healing

It is important to stick to warm, soupy, nourishing meals that have high-quality oils in your Vata dosha diet. Vatas also do well with sweet tastes from adding whole grains, cereals, beans, and greens to their diet.

Vatas must have plenty of juicy fruit, at least 2 a day.

Grapes, Apples, Pears, Berries, Bananas for breakfast or lunch, citrus fruit are all excellent for Vata Body types.

Vatas must eat only when hungry and not tax their digestion when the digestive fire, Agni, is weak.

Warming spices will fire up the digestion and help cool Vatas get warm from the inside.

If you are a Vata do not skimp on your daily 5 teaspoons of good fats like coconut, sesame, Ghee, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, etc.

If the elimination is constipated, dry, and painful, a pinch of Triphala mixed with a teaspoon of honey and ghee will be beneficial. Do not do this for more than 7 days at a time, this may dry out your colon with extended use.


Vatas are prone to feel anxious , overwhelmed and scattered when under stress.


The Vata in the Mind

Vata types have a mind that changes as the wind does, not so much in values and principles, but in the way their brains are overcrowded with many thoughts rattling all day long till they crash under the strain.

Vatas being of the Air element can reach far with their sharp intuitions and have the ability to visualize the future a lot more reliably than Pitta and Kapha body types.

However, high energy spurts and crashes can deplete a Vata quickly. Conserve your energies on days when you are low, by taking a power nap, bathing with warm water, getting plenty of sunlight and the wind, keeping off intimacy for another time, and going to bed early.

Anxiety, overwhelm, scattered mind, irrational fears, and insomnia are the many ways our mind tells us it is Vata dominant and needs to be loved back to balance.

Here is a simple guide to the Ayurvedic philosophy of the mind.

Vata as a friend

A Vata, when in balance is a joy to be around as she is chatty and charming. She usually makes a million plans and gets overwhelmed by them just as quickly. She loves to read up on a wide variety of subjects. She lives to travel and go out at the drop of a hat.

A Vata soul has a large number of friends, she hangs out with and no party is complete without her creative energy bringing brightness to even the dullest corner.

What is a Vata personality?

When all the bio energies of a Vata body are in harmony, Vata personalities are known for their obsessive and high energy pursuits of all the things that matter to them. They are usually the early adopters of many crazy ideas out there, and they put on their traveling shoes one too many times a year. Vatas sleep on time, eat small soupy meals on time and sleep deeply, and wake up refreshed.

Their dreams are usually of flying or traveling through the dimensions, as energetically their mind fulfills their wish to explore. Vatas can be sensitive poets and artists, and for sure the Hippies were mostly Vatas, the pragmatic Pittas threw themselves into commerce and the Kaphas stayed cozy in their hometowns.

But when off their rockers, now that is a whole different game. All the good qualities of the mobile air come back to bite them and turn them into drifting malcontents, breaking up too quickly, falling in love too quickly, quitting work, launching into new projects without thinking it through. Spending all their money and borrowing some.

Be realistic about when your mind goes off and when stress hits, what you require to stay steadily centered.

Do the rituals that calm you, so you do not put the burden of bringing you back to center on your loved ones.

Take responsibility for what triggers your Vata and experiment until you find effective strategies.

When you have made one too many phone calls to friends in the midst of an anxiety attack, know that it is our Vata tendency and we do not have to believe all the doomsday scenarios running through our head at 3 am.

Rituals and practices to get a Vata back to balance:

~Meditate or do any activity that helps you get into the flow zone.

~Sip on warm tea made with warming spices like black seed, carom, etc

~Journal your thoughts and begin to notice patterns emerging. Question your beliefs.

~Do Yoga or Tai chi, keeping strong workouts for days when you are energetic and gentle stretching for challenging times.

~Go for a long walk with a pet or a friend, walking slowly and grounding in sensual delights as you observe nature.

~Get hugged by a friend who gets you and won’t judge your frequent crashes.

~Do a self Abhyangam oil massage with warm oil like Sesame or Almond, bathe in warm water.

~Before bedtime, add a drop of Cow’s Ghee in each nostril

~Eat soupy, nourishing meals made with warming spices and add a teaspoon of ghee for dinners.

~Apply oil on the soles of your feet, ears, and navel on the nights you have trouble sleeping.

~Create a plan for your day and your week, reward yourself for when you do well, stick to one or two supportive rituals every day like a walk after dinner, or a morning massage with your favorite body oil.

To summarize, having a Vata dosha body type is not a cruel joke on you by the creator. There are many blessings that come with the Vata body package. With Ayurveda, even a little effort, will go a long way to keep you healthy and happy till you turn a hundred years old.

Now that you have a whole list of advice for a Vata body type to stay balanced with diet and lifestyle, what would you like to try out first?

Follow me on IG @salila.ayurveda where I am happy to answer your questions in real-time 🙂

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