Definition - What does Vata mean?

Vata is one of three doshas (energies) in Ayurvedic medicine. The other two are pitta and kapha. According to Ayurveda, the doshas govern the physiological activities of the human body. Vata controls movements in the body, such as blood flow, elimination and breath. It is seen as the primary dosha since kapha and pitta are not able to move without it.

Vata is a combination of air and ether. It is dry, light, cold, rough, moving and always changing. People with a predominantly vata dosha are mostly energetic, creative and lively. They are light sleepers with sensitive digestion. When vata gets out of balance, they can get anxious, have insomnia, lose weight and suffer from indigestion.

Yogapedia explains Vata

To bring the vata dosha back into balance, it is recommended to go to bed earlier, eat regularly and keep the body warm. Physical activities that focus on balance and flexibility, such as yoga, dancing or tai chi are also beneficial. Yogis should add meditation, grounding and balancing asanas to their practice so that a healthy mind-body connection is re-established.

Grounding poses such as vrksasana (tree pose), tadasana (mountain pose) and Virabhadrasana (warrior pose) are ideal. Savasana (corpse pose) is soothing for vata imbalances and it is recommended to remain in it for at least 15 minutes.

Fast vinyasa movements can aggravate vata, so it is preferable to practice yoga slowly and deliberately. Restorative practices such as Yin yoga are also recommended.

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