Description of Vata Dosha
Combination of the space and air elements. People with a predominantly Vata constitution are often lean, with dry skin, cold hands and feet and variable digestion tending toward bloating, discomfort, and constipation. Their sleep is typically light, and their lifestyle routines tend to be irregular. When unbalanced, they may become fearful, nervous, and anxious. They are prone to worry, easy to fatigue, and can be impulsive, compulsive, and erratic (Yoga International).
Pranayama for Vata Dosha – Nadi Shodhana (Nadi = channel, gateway or path. Shodhana = cleaning / purifying)
Pranayama is a controlled breathing during which one inhale, hold breath, and exhale in a specific sequence and regulated manner. Nadi Shodhana involves rhythmic, grounding, soothing inhalation and exhalation and is recommended for a Vata body type. It is good for releasing physical stress or stiffness in the muscles/tissues which could potentially promote mental clarity and reduce anxiety. Pranayama can be practiced on a regular basis to calm the predominant Dosha and restore balance and harmony in our mind, body, and soul. One should note that a Nadi Shodhana should not be practiced while suffering from cold, flu or fever.
Practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
- Sit comfortably and bring the right hand into Vishnu Mudra
- Begin the first round by closing the right nostril with thumb
- Inhale long and deep* from the left nostril
- At the end of inhalation, close left nostril with ring finger and hold the breath*.
- Release the thumb from the right nostril, exhale slowly*
- Inhale deeply from the same right nostril, hold the breath* inside and exhale slowly* from the left nostril. It completes the one cycle
- Repeat for 20 cycles
*Breathing Ratio for Nadi Shodhana Pranayama