This is the first of a several part series on nourishing and supporting Vata
Part 1. Understanding Vata
From the full splendour of late summer to the fruitfulness of autumn when each plant reaches its full expression…we are in vata time! Vata is the most important of the 3 biological humours. It forms the vital life force (prana), derived primarily from the breath, and it is the energising force for the entire body and mind.
Vata means wind, from the Sanskrit root ͞va͟ to blow, direct, move or command. A combination of ether and air, the principle of movement or kinetic energy. Autumn winds blow cool, dry air and prana becomes more abundant in the atmosphere.
Vata is the motivating force behind the other 2 doshas, which are incapable of movement without it. Disturbances of vata have more far-reaching implications than those of the other 2 doshas and affect our minds and emotions as well as the entire body.
The qualities of both autumn and vata are dry, cold, light, irregular, sharp, hard, mobile, subtle, rough and clear. When in balance, those with a lot of vata in their constitution are bright, enthusiastic, creative, full of new ideas and initiative, idealistic & visionary.
Like the wind, vata predominant people are changeable and irregularity features strongly in their physical and emotional make-up. This can also be apparent in other doshic types when vata is increased.
When vata is high people tend to eat irregularly, often living on crunchy snacks eaten on the go, since they can be restless and find it hard to be still. If they don’t eat regularly they can become hypoglycaemic and feel weak which only serves to heighten anxiety.
Vata predominant people feel the cold and may have poor circulation. They love warmth and sunshine so consequently symptoms tend to be worse in cold weather.
Because they are so active and use up so much energy, vata types can become dried out with dry skin and hair. Their skin may become wrinkly when they are still comparatively young.
Vata types think fast, talk fast, love being and chatting with other people and have a desire to travel and change life. Their experience of life is that things are always changing, in flux and unstable. Since irregularity and erraticism are part of their nature, their cycles of sleep, eating, digesting and menstruating are constantly changing. Because of this, they tend to be insecure, anxious, and are never sure what is going to happen from one minute to the next.
They are good at initiating things but not necessarily at following through. A clue to their constitution might be had from observing how many projects they have on the go at any one time or unfinished books there are on the bedside table!
Vata predominant people or those affected by vata can be active, restless and find it hard to relax. Their sleep tends to be light, easily disturbed with many dreams.
Vata times of day:
2 – 6 dawn & dusk, the beginning of the day, a good time to begin anew, and then late afternoon, where they can see rewards from their activity.
Vata presides over the body from the age of 50 onwards, our autumn season when we can enjoy the fruits of all our labours! The trees’ sap draws inward, the leaves change colours and hues in one last burst of magnificence before they fall.
Autumn is the time when vata accumulated over late summer can increase and become aggravated. This will particularly affect those with a predominance of vata in their constitution or in vata stage of life.
Part 2 coming soon!
Great Rissington, England