Signs and Symptoms of Vata Imbalance
Is your vata out of balance? If so, you may be experiencing some of the following signs or symptoms:
- nervousness, anxiousness, panic, fear
- twitches, tics, tremors, spasms
- dry or chapped skin
- constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
- low body weight
- dislike of cold and wind
- difficulty tolerating loud noises
- light, interrupted sleep
- spacey, scattered feeling
- excess thinking or worrying
To decrease vata, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle, and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these strategies are based on:
General Guidelines for a Vata-Pacifying Diet
- Foods that are naturally sweet, sour, and salty in taste.
- Warm foods, both energetically and in temperature. Whole, freshly cooked foods.
- A limited selection of legumes, including mung dahl, tofu, or tempeh that is well-cooked and warm soy milk spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.
- Plenty of room temperature or warm drinks.
- Dairy, as long as it is not very cold. Avoid drinking milk with your meals. It is best to have it warm and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, at least an hour before or after other food.
- A generous amount of high-quality oils or ghee in your daily diet.
- Routine times for your meals.
- Taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
- Eating your meal in a peaceful environment.
- Foods that are bitter, astringent, and pungent.
- Foods that are cooling, both energetically and in temperature.
- Dry and light foods (e.g. popcorn and crackers).
- Too much raw food, especially in the mornings and evenings (salads, carrot sticks, raw fruit, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, etc.)
- Most beans, including cold soy products.
- Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, "TV" dinners or pastries).
- Cold or carbonated drinks.
- Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants.
- Overeating or eating very heavy meals.
- Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice within 1/2 hour of any other food.
- Foods or drinks that contain refined sugar or corn syrup.
- Deep-fried foods.
- Hard alcohol.
Vata-Pacifying Herbal Remedies
Ayurvedic herbs are useful allies when it comes to balancing the doshas. Ayurveda has a long history detailing the use of herbs and herbal combinations. Some Ayurvedic practitioners will customize herbal formulas to suit the unique constitutions of their clients. General formulas based on traditional combinations of herbs are also used. Below are some herbs and formulations that are especially useful for balancing vata.
- For a broad spectrum vata pacifying herbal formula, consider Healthy Vata
- To support mental calmness and well-being, consider Tranquil Mind
- To balance vata in the joints, nerves, and muscles, consider Joint Support
- For dry or chapped skin, consider Vata Massage Oil or organic Castor Oil
- To support healthy elimination, consider triphala powder, tablets, or liquid extract
- To balance excess vata in the digestive tract, try taking haritaki powder or tablets instead of triphala
- To support healthy weight gain consider ashwagandha powder, tablets, or liquid extract
- For dislike of cold and wind, consider Healthy Vata
- For difficulty tolerating loud noises, consider Healthy Vata
- To support a sound, restful sleep, consider I Sleep Soundly
- To support stability and grounded awareness, consider Mental Clarity
- To support healthy, comfortable digestion, consider Vata Digest
- For a calming, fragrant soap that soothes the mind, consider using Lavender Soap
General Guidelines for a Vata-Pacifying Lifestyle
- Live as you would imagine a master would: with calm awareness and a gentle pace.
- A regular, daily routine with regular times for eating, sleeping, working, etc.
- A daily 10–20-minute self-massage with 1/2 cup warm sesame oil. Click here for more information on abhyanga.
- A gentle exercise routine that includes a calm, stretch-focused form of yoga, Tai qi (tai chi), qi gong (chi gong), walking, swimming (but don’t get chilled) about five times per week.
- Keeping warm, no matter what the weather.
- Sweet, soothing music, smells, scenes, and company.
- Vata-reducing oils.
- Vata-reducing herbs and remedies.
Our lives, environments, and health change regularly. We recommend taking our dosha quiz periodically. Then you can see how things have changed and decide which remedies would be the most beneficial to regain balance. It may be helpful to learn more about vata so that you can understand why following these simple guidelines really can help. For more information about vata, click here.