Vata Dosha: An Explanation


The Three Dosha & Prakruti

Last week, we discussed the various Dosha Types in Ayurveda. Today we are going to discuss Vata Dosha. There are three dosha types in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The dosha are the primary life forces in the body and each person has their own unique combination of the three dosha in their physical and psychological makeup. When you see an Ayurvedic professional for an Ayurvedic Consultation, they will help you discover your prakruti or your specific makeup of the three dosha of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata Dosha

Vata dosha is the dosha of movement. Vata comes from the Sanskrit root word meaning “to move.” Vata controls all the movement in our body and in our minds. Vata is controlled by the elements of air and ether/space. Vata dosha is balanced by sweet, salty and sour tastes and aggravated by pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. Vata exhibits the qualities of dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear. These qualities determine the characteristics of Vata Dosha and a Vata individual. The primary Vata location is the colon which is why Vata has a tendency toward constipation. Vata will also commonly experience imbalances in their secondary locations of the pelvis, thighs, ears, bones, skin, head, throat, and diaphragm. Vata controls the function of all physical movement as well as the movement of thoughts, feelings and nerve impulses. Vata also governs communication, respiration, heart function, peristalsis, elimination, hearing, touch, clarity, creativity and enthusiasm. The things that cause Vata to be provoked or go out of balance are over eating; staying up late at night; talking too much; excessive physical work or exercise; eating too much pungent, bitter, astringent foods; worrying and excess thinking; frequent fasting; eating cold foods; fall/autumn season; and suppression of natural urges


Vata Dosha Qualities

  • Dry

    • dry skin, hair, lips, tongue

    • tendency toward constipation which is dryness in the colon

    • hoarse voice which is dryness in the throat

    • scanty urination and hard, dry stools

  • Light

    • thin frame, light weight and light muscles

    • tendency toward insomnia and sleep disturbances which is sleep lightness

    • proneness to anorexia and forgetting to eat

  • Cold

    • cold hands, feet and poor circulation

    • prefers a warm climate and has a sensitivity to cold climates

    • cold and stiffness in the muscles and joints

  • Rough

    • rough, dry, cracked skin, nails, hair, teeth, as well as hands and feet

    • tendency toward cracking and popping joints

  • Subtle

    • subtle emotions like fear, worry, anxiety, and nervousness

    • tendency toward muscle twitching, tremors and goosebumps

    • body frame and immunity is delicate

  • Mobile

    • vata is the dosha of movement so vata individuals are fast/mobile talkers, walkers, and are often doing many things at once

    • tendency toward mood swings and can be moody

    • restless legs, eyes, hands and feet; and often jittery

    • frequent vivid dreams

    • loves to travel and doesn’t like to stay still

    • difficulty with commitment and stability and tend to feel ungrounded

  • Clear

    • clear, open mind

    • tendency toward loneliness and hopelessness

    • understands quickly but also forgets quickly; very alert

    • able to see through the veil, clairvoyant

  • Astringent

    • tendency toward a dry, choking sensation in the throat

    • tendency toward getting hiccoughs and burping