top of page

Balance Vata Dosha

Image by Kenrick Mills

Vata dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body element associated with air and space. It’s light, cool, and dry in nature, and it governs all movement and processes in your mind and body—including processes like blood flow, elimination, breathing, and the movement of thoughts in your mind.

Vata in Sanskrit literally means wind, which is why the vata constitution, or dosha, is known for having the quality of wind and space at its heart. Like the wind, vata is the force of communication and movement in the body, influencing the other two doshas – indeed, without vata, both the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha are inert.

The qualities of vata

Cold, light, rough, mobile, irregular, subtle, clear, dry and astringent.

The function of vata

Vata is responsible for all movement in the body: the flow or breath, the expression of speech, the circulation of the blood, the elimination of waste, and the regulation of the immune and nervous system. It moves the diaphragm, muscles and limbs, and also stimulates the intellect.

The physical manifestations of vata

Those with dominant vata tend to have low body weight, and struggle to put weight on. Their physical frame is thin and slender, their face tends to be long and angular, and they’re either very tall or short. They have dry skin and poor circulation, often suffering with cold hands and feet.

The emotional manifestations of vata

Vata is dynamic in nature, as such it manifests as energetic bursts. Vata types move like the wind, love change, and are very impulsive. When in balance, they’re also creative, bursting with ideas and inspiration, usually becoming inventors, dancers, writers or artists.

When vata is in balance

A balance of vata in the body brings comfortable movement, regular breathing, a consistent appetite, normal bowel function, positive enthusiasm, healthy desire, good energy, a calm mind and inspirational creativity.

When vata is out of balance

With an excess of vata, you may lose weight, experience piercing pains or spasms, numbness, dry skin, dehydration, excessive bloating, erratic digestion or insomnia. Too little vata and you may feel sluggish and lazy, you may become increasingly fearful, anxious, lonely and depressed. Later in life, vata may bring diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

How to balance your vata

You can balance vata’s cold, airy tendencies by increasing its opposite qualities: such as bringing more warmth, stability and earthiness into your life – staying warm at all times, keeping a regular sleep pattern, and enjoying earthy spices and foods can all help. Be sure to take a look at our dosha herbs guide for information on vata balancing herbs."

 

Take the Mudra Wellness Dosha Quiz to discover your dominant dosha.

Lifestyle Routines for Vata

Ayurveda’s wisdom considers good lifestyle routines to be really important in balancing Vata dosha. As Vata dosha is light, cold and dry with mobile and irregular qualities, it is best balanced by using the opposite qualities: grounding, warmth, routine and moisture, for example.

Overwork and excess travelling can send Vata sky high, so it’s important to learn some lifestyle key tips for keeping this dosha in balance, such as sticking to regular times for meals and sleep. Out of all the doshas, a good daily routine is most important for Vata types to help balance these qualities.

The following lifestyle tips can all be helpful in keeping Vata dosha in balance:

  • Try a daily self-massage to nourish skin and ease your mind. Use a warm oil such as sesame oil, or another pure oil suitable for your skin type. Massage all over, starting from your feet or the head. Leave on for 5-15 minutes before you shower to remove excess oil and toxins and improve circulation.

  • Eat at regular intervals throughout the day- every four hours or so, which can help you to stay energised and grounded. Eating in a peaceful environment is also very important for Vata, so try to minimise any sensory distractions and eating when moving. It's also important not to skip meals when you are busy or stressed as this can make Vata types feel ungrounded.

  • Drink water at room temperature (or warmer) throughout the day, as this is both cleansing and hydrating for Vata’s dry quality, and unlike ice cold water, does not disturb Vata’s cold qualities.

  • Going to bed at the same time each day can also help, preferably around 10pm after a gentle wind down to end your day, something like a warm bath or some gentle, slow stretches to balance Vata’s tendency for excess movement.

  • Vata is often drawn to high-impact forms of exercise, such as jogging. However, they are balanced by a gentler, flowing, meditative form of exercises such as yoga, tai chi or Pilates. Stretching and swimming are also ideal, along with regular walks in natural places.

  • Autumn can be a vulnerable time for Vata types as the weather is mainly cool, dry and windy- all of which increase Vata. You may have noticed you need to take extra care to stay well at this time, so make sure you wrap up warm and slow down a little to adapt to the changing seasons.

  • Thinking of holiday destinations, a warm and slightly humid place would be ideal to counter Vata’s cold, dry qualities.

 

A guide to 3-day cleanse for vata dosha

Vata can struggle with energy, so a vata-specific cleansing regime can support regular energy levels and keep them feeling balanced and strong.

1. Practice daily meditation and mindfulness at the beginning and end of the day 

2. Daily self-massage before showering with sesame or sunflower oil

3. Dring a glass of warm water with a few drops of lemon juice upon waking

4. Eat Kichadi for breakfast lunch and dinner for 3 days

5. Eat breakfast before 8am, lunch before 1pm and dinner before 6pm

6. Wake with the sun and sleep by 10pm

7. Avoid screens, conversations and stimulation 1 hour before sleep

Warm food is vital for a vata type, so no juices, smoothies or anything raw or cold. Simple, warm and lightly spiced foods such as kitcharee, dahl, soups and vegetable stews are ideal. Think about adding aromatic but not hot herbs such as fennel, cumin, coriander, and turmeric into your meals. Herbs that really support the vata constitution are those that will help create a sense of balance and stability, but also nourish the body at a deep level.

Hydrate with warm herbal teas that support optimum digestion such as fennel, cardamom and ginger. Balancing herbs such as ashwagandha will also help to support the nervous vata emotions.

Don't know your dosha? Take the Mudra Wellness Dosha Quiz to find out.

Vata Diet

People with a Vata dosha should eat protein with breakfast, a full meal at lunch and a light, cooked supper. Avoid combining too many different foods. Allowing sufficient time to eat and chewing carefully will ensure that pre-existing digestive enzymes in the saliva are released, making food easier to digest.

Important for Vata types: drink regularly and in plentiful quantities. Also important: warm drinks. Meals should also be predominantly warm and vegetables should generally be cooked, because sweet and warming dishes help subdue Vata.

The Vata type should avoid stimulating drinks. This includes cola, coffee and black tea. This is because they stimulate the human nervous system too much. Carbonated beverages should be avoided as far as possible too.

OILS FOR VATA:

  • Sesame

  • Avocado

  • Ghee

  • Almond 

  • Mustard 

  • Coconut 

  • Sunflower

 

SPICES FOR VATA

  • Turmeric

  • Ginger

  • Cumin

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Clove

  • Vanilla 

  • Allspice

  • Asafoetida

  • Paprika

  • Black pepper

  • Pippali

  • Rosemary

  • Tarragon

  • Oregano

  • Thyme

  • Marjoram

  • Salt

  • Saffron

  • Mustard seeds

  • Fennel

  • Cardamom

 

VEGGIES FOR VATA:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Yams

  • Butternut squash

  • Acorn Squash

  • Spaghetti Squash

  • Pumpkin

  • Zucchini 

  • Yellow Squash

  • Rutabaga 

  • Okra

  • Peas 

  • Asparagus 

  • Avocado

  • Okra

  • Caramelized onions

  • Chilies (in small quantities)

  • Mustard Greens 

GRAINS FOR VATA:

  • Rice

  • Rice pudding 

  • Oatmeal 

  • Pancakes

  • Amaranth

  • Durham flour

  • Seitan 

  • Quinoa

  • Wheat BEANS & LEGUMES FOR VATA:

  • Mung beans

  • Red lentils

  • Split black lentils / black gram (urad dahl)

  • Split pigeon peas (toor dahl)

  • Soy 

  • Tofu 

 

MEATS & EGGS FOR VATA:

  • Goat

  • Beef

  • Dark meats of birds 

  • Buffalo

  • Freshwater fish

  • Saltwater fish

  • Sardines

  • Anchovies

  • Shrimp

  • Shellfish

  • Eggs

 

DAIRY & PLANT MILK FOR VATA:

  • Raw cow’s milk 

  • Goat’s milk

  • Ghee

  • Butter

  • Buttermilk

  • Ricotta

  • Goat cheese

  • Clotted cream

  • Cottage cheese

  • Cream cheese 

  • Yogurt 

  • Sour cream (in small quantities) 

  • Oat Milk

  • Almond Milk

 

NUTS & SEEDS FOR VATA:

  • Almonds

  • Walnuts

  • Brazil nuts

  • Pistachios 

  • Cashews

  • Macadamia Nuts

  • Hazelnuts

  • Pecans

  • Pine nuts

  • Chia seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sesame seeds 

  • Flax seeds

 

FRUITS FOR VATA:

  • Stewed or baked apples

  • Ripe bananas 

  • Apricots

  • Peaches

  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Coconut

  • Cherries

  • Melons

  • Lemons

  • Limes

  • Grapefruit

  • Oranges

  • Mandarins

  • Clementines

  • Tangerines 

  • Mango

  • Papaya

  • Tamarind 

  • Rhubarb 

  • Grapes

  • Dates (fresh, cooked or soaked)

  • Figs (fresh, cooked or soaked)

  • Prunes (cooked or soaked)

  • Raisins (cooked or soaked)

SUGARS / SWEETENERS FOR VATA:

  • Jaggery

  • Molasses

  • Sucanat

  • Barley malt

  • Date sugar

  • Turbinado sugar

  • Honey (fresh and raw)

  • Maple syrup (in small quantities)

 

A complete Ayurvedic Consultation will give you a more in-depth analysis of your body/mind constitution and causative factors of symptoms or illness.  Receive a more personalized plan of lifestyle, routine, diet and herbs for your longterm healing as well as more specific recommendations according to your symptoms or illness.  Private consultations dive deeper into the root causes of current imbalances in your body, mind and life. Book your Complete Ayurvedic Consultation.

bottom of page