In Ayurvedic health there are three dosha types; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The three types all relate to the 5 elements – earth, fire, air, wind, and water.
Your dosha type is made up 1/3 genes, 1/3 environment and 1/3 attitude and mental activity so it is open to some change.
The dosha type expresses unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.
Doshas are neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in Ayurveda health the aim is to promote balance within your dosha type.
When Vata, Pitta or Kapha are not functioning optimally, the imbalance is indicated by specific symptoms.
Vata constitution or imbalance
A Vata constitution is characterised by the elements of air and space – Lightness, movement, and wind dominate. Vata people tend to have high mental activity, like change, variety, creativity and movement is fast. As with any of the three dosha types, it’s important to know our own tendency and maintain balance.
A Vata imbalance may manifest as insomnia, anxiety, agitation and digestive issues.
With a Vata imbalance we are seeking to cultivate a deeper connection between mind and body, a sense of earthliness, radiance, and stability through asana, pranayama and meditation. Also channelling the first root chakra Muladhara is important, it is the first chakra and associated with the element of earth and grounding.
Tips to help balance Vata
- A grounding pranayama, such as ANULOMA – VILOMA paying particular attention to the warmth on the inhalation nourishing the body. In addition, feel the breath deeper within the body below the navel area
2. A lower drishti point or gaze point – keep your eyes level or below the horizon to help focus your energy inwards and ground the body and mind. Then fix the gaze at a single point to maintain that inner focus and present moment awareness.
3. Channelling our root chakra – Muladhara to help stabilise and ground the Vata energy in our bodies. This chakra is located at the root of our spine or tailbone.
4. Calming and grounding asanas that chanel the opposite qualities of Vata – so think warmth, stability and focus. The lower abdomen, pelvis, and large intestine are the main residence of Vata in the body, so many of the asanas will compress the lower abdomen and work on strengthening the lower back. In asanas, ground the parts of the body that come into contact with the earth – be it feet, palms, the sit bones.
5. Move at a slower, more controlled pace. Let the flow be fluid and gentle
6. Visualisation – imagine yourself as a tree with a wide, strong trunk that extends down the centre of your body from head to toe. Then visualise the trees roots growing from the bottom of your feet and rooting you down into the earth creating a sense of solidity. Let the roots anchor and stabilise you as you come back to the outer world.
7. Chose food that warms and nourishes the body. Sweet, sour and salty foods are best.
Claire Thomas (Sept 17 YTT)