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Complete Ayurveda Guide

Vata Dosha

Vata governs all movement in the mind and body. It controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without it, Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic Principles in the body. It's very important to keep Vata in good balance.

Formation of Vata

The action of swallowing enables us to take in food from the external world. This movement is ongoing and depends upon previously digested food, which creates the need for more food to sustain the processes already set in motion by previous eating. This results in a continual process of eating, digesting and elimination. A direct relationship exists between energy and food absorption. The more energy that we require to function, the greater the need for the proper food to sustain it, for example, needing to eat more when we are doing hard physical work.

Vata dosha is described as the by-product of the digestion of food, which includes the energy produced by digestion as well as the waste gases of the digestive process. Anna Mala, the eject able portion from food, equals Vata dosha or the portion of Vata that is produced. This absorbed energy .is then utilized by the body for essential movements like breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and excretion of waste products, which are the main actions of Vata. These movements cannot be measured or weighed. Thus, Vata is perceived by the totality of its functions. However, if Vat a is produced in excess it becomes a negative factor, drying or disturbing the various tissues and organs.

Functions of Vata Dosha

As the principle of propulsion, Vata carries out diverse functions in the body and mind. It controls cell arrangement and division, the formation of different tissue layers, and the differentiation of organs and systems. It conducts impulses from the sense organs to the brain and from the brain to the motor organs. Vata controls the expulsion of feces, urine, sweat, menstrual fluid, semen, and the fetus. It regulates respiratory, cardiac and gastrointestinal movements, as well as all higher functions in the brain and spinal cord. Vat a governs the movement of the mind and its transmission of information and provides the energy to perform all mental activities of thought and perception.

Five Types of Vata Dosha

The five types or subdoshas of Vata, also. called Vayus, are: Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana and Apana. All these farms are responsible far various movements.

  • Prana - Udana : -These two. farms of Vata, having opposite movements, operate together. Prana Vayu moves from the outside to. the inside. Prana is responsible far receiving air, water, food, and impressions from the outside world. Whenever a sound, touch, taste, or smell is attended with concentration, it has an effect on respiration (Prana).Prana Vayu moves downward from the head into the body. In the process, it brings in various external farms of nourishment and energy from food and breath to impressions.
    Udana Vayu moves from the inside to the outside, mainly through exhalation and speech but also. through various farms of exertion. Food and water received by the stomach, rendered fine during digestion, are eliminated to. same degree through expiration. Speech, which accurs through exhaling air through the vocal cards, is due to. Udana. Memory, which is the bringing out of the knowledge that has been previously received by Prana, is also. a function of Udana. Thus, Prana is responsible for intake and Udana far output. Udana governs will, enthusiasm and motivation. Udana moves upward from the center of the body up to. the head and is centered in the throat.
  • Vyana - Samana : -These two. types of Vata also. have opposite movements. Vyana Vayu is responsible far propulsion from the center to. the periphery of the body. The movement of the heart in pushing nutritive substances to. the periphery is a function of Vyana. It governs circulation to the limbs and the flaw of blood and sweat. Vyana carries efferent impulses from the sense organs to. the brain. Vyana pervades the entire body from its center in the heart. Physical exercise and extension of the limbs accurs mainly through Vyana.
    Samana Vayu, an the other hand, is the propulsive farce from the periphery to the center. Afferent impulses in the nerves, bringing the fluid pushed out by Vyana back to the center and promoting the process of digestion, are functions of Samana. Thus, the action of Samana is the central pull action opposite the outward push of Vyana. We could say that Samana Vyana. We could say that Samana Vyana. We could say that Samana Vyana. We could say that Samana is centripetal force, while Vyana is centrifugal force. Samana is centered in the navel and is responsible for the churning action in the intestines through which we digest our food.
  • Apana :- In contrast to the above two pairs, Apana controls all downward discharges of urine, feces, flatus, menstrual fluid, semen, and the fetus. All these are controlled for a particular period of time before being discharged from the body. The overall control of these substances for a particular period is beneficial for building or maintaining the tissues. Since this control is beneficial to the other types of Vata, it is said that Apana controls all the different forms of Vata. Apana also sustains the immune function that rests upon proper elimination. Apana moves downward from the navel. It is often regarded as opposite Prana as eating is opposite elimination, or as opposite Udana (upward movement) as downward movement.

Causes of High Vata

Vata becomes disturbed owing to cold weather, exposure to wind, or air-conditioning. Dietary factors are drinking cold substances like ice water, refrigerated foods or foods cold in energy like green salads, food that is dry, rough or light in properties like barley, millet or corn, or irregular eating habits. Excessive physical exercise, particularly of a strongly aerobic nature, as well as improper movements of the body aggravate Vata. Lack of proper nutrition and lack of proper rest are additional factors. Psychological factors that increase Vata include mental and emotional stress and anything that disturbs the peace or security of a person.

Symptoms of High Vata

High Vata is indicated by a desire for warm food, warm environment, and warm clothing. Physical symptoms are constipation, lack of energy, loss of sleep fatigue, emaciation, abdominal distention with flatulence, blackish discoloration of feces and urine, and defective sensory functioning. Psychological symptoms arise like fear, anxiety, insecurity, confusion, and aimless talking.

Management of Vata

Vata requires patience and consistency over a long period of time in its treatment. Treatment of Vata is divided into two types based on whether the cause is tissue-deficiency (Dhatukshaya) or obstruction in the channels (Srotorodha). The former is indicated by low body weight, while the latter is indicated by pain.

For tissue-deficiency, the best therapy is tonification or tissue-building. Anti-Vata diet should be given after making certain that the digestive fire has sufficient power to handle the heavy food required. If the digestive fire is weak, digestion-promoting herbs should be given like dry ginger, cayenne or black pepper. Then light oil massage should be given with warm oils like sesame or Mahanarayan oil, and a mild steam therapy. Herbal wines, like Draksha, can be taken before food to increase appetite, or after food as a tonic. Tonic herbs should be taken such as ashwagandha and bala. Seated yoga postures with silent meditation are helpful.

For obstruction in the channels, detoxifying and stimulating herbs such as dry ginger or fennel should be taken. Oil massage is recommended, emphasizing herbs like nirgundi or Vishagarbha oil. Special alkali medicines may be taken internally to open the channels. Mild laxatives and decoction enemas should be taken. Herbal wines prepared with jaggery and herbs like Dashamula are indicated. When the system is clean, then anti-Vata diet and tonifying methods can proceed.

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