According to Ayurveda our bodily constitution is made of three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which determine our bodily and mental state, our emotions and our vulnerabilities toward certain types of diseases when these doshas are out of balance.
People often have one or two doshas dominant in their body. In our case, Vata and Pitta dosha are quite strong which means their influence is greater than the one of Kapha.
To identify what doshas are dominant in one’s particular case, one has to undergo an ayurvedic dosha test or quiz.
The most common situation when one has two strong doshas, like in our case, it is Vata and Pitta, and Kapha’s influence on the person is insignificant compared to these two.
Vata Pitta or Pitta Vata?
While both combinations have many similarities, the dosha which is mentioned first is usually more prominent among the two. So, Vata-Pitta means that Vata is more dominant than Pitta and vice versa in the second case.
Vata Pitta Dosha Personality
OK, now since we have Vata-Pitta mixed dosha, what are the qualities or characteristics this mixed body type has?
Our skeletal frame is slight and the limbs are probably quite long, our hips and joints are rather narrow; the joints look prominent.
Vata Pitta body has lean muscles; the weight is either steady or there is a tendency to be underweight.
Long face or/ and heart shaped, angular face features, eye are small or of a medium size.
Skin is usually thin, tends to be dry (or sometimes oily); the same for hair – it is thin and fine; often straight, but can be curly as well.
Vata-Pitta prefers warm climate, sunny weather, because due to the poor blood circulation, the extremities often become cold when the environment is also cold.
Mental and Emotional Characteristics
Vata-Pitta personality is intense, ambitious, and intelligent, has lots of new ideas, creative and loves travel. These people love to learn, can have big plans, and are very insightful.
This may lead to over-commitments and the following exhaustion and stress, so it’s important for this dosha combination to know the limits, and to be able to find time for relaxation and rest.
With all the intensity you might have, you need to find time to enjoy what you get or achieve.
Unique Qualities of Each Dosha and Symptoms of Vata Pitta Imbalance
Both Pitta and Vata are light, which meant your body is rather slim, quick-moving, your mind is bright and alert; you are creative and may have spiritual tendencies.
When the lightness quality is out of balance (a person doesn’t feel themselves well grounded), it leads to insomnia, emotional security, headaches, baldness, inadequate nourishment and low blood sugar.
Pitta is spreading, and Vata is mobile, which can be manifested in a form of charm of charisma, influence on other people, recognition, fame, communication, and action.
When the spreading quality is aggravated, it may lead to toxic emotional environment, which surrounds the person.
When there is too much mobility, it produces restlessness in the mind or body, deprives person from internal peace, causes instability in life, inhibits the ability to concentrate, and triggers anxiety, fidgeting or tremors.
Cold and Hot
This is where these doshas are quite opposite. Hot quality makes your digestion strong and keeps your warm.
When in excess, it can lead to acne breakouts, skin rashes, inflammation, excess acidity, burning sensations, and fiery feelings such as anger and rage.
Coldness of Vata dosha makes you more susceptible to cold weather and environment, and your limbs are often cold as well.
When this quality is imbalanced, it results in weak digestive fire, brings the feeling of loneliness and isolation, and causes constriction in the body.
Oily and Dry
Another set of opposite characteristics. Pitta dosha is oily in nature and makes your skin soft and lubricated, your joints – smooth in movements; you can relax easier, and more willing to give and accept love.
But when this oily quality is out of balance (which means there is too much of it), it leads to excessive oil production on skin and hair (making your skin acne prone); you have more mucus in your body, and may act in a manipulative way.
Vata dosha is dry and rough, so in one sense this combination helps your organs and tissues absorb nutrients and eliminate wastes properly. But on the other hand, if these qualities are in excess in your body, it results in skin dryness, waste elimination becomes more difficult (constipation), joints move less smoothly, hair and nails become brittle; a person becomes more careless, and a characteristic rigidity is observed in the mind or body.
Pitta is sharp and liquid, which manifests in quick and penetrating mind, strong appetite, good digestive power, and sharp vision. Liquidity brings healthy digestive juices, proper salivation, normal sweating, and the normal movement of fluids throughout joints, blood and digestive tract.
Excess of sharpness leads to sharp words and hunger, short temper and harsh judgments of oneself and others.
Too much of liquidity dilutes digestive fire, triggers bleeding disorders and excessive sweating.
Vata is subtle, and this quality helps the substances go deep into the cells of the body. It also helps the emotions or ideas go deep into the consciousness and let a person to have a more meaningful life experience.
The aggravation of this subtlety leads to the feeling of aloofness, of being disconnected from reality.
Vata-Pitta’s Sleep, Energy and Stamina
You probably sleep lightly (usually around 7 hours or maybe even less), and may experience insomnia once in a while. The problem is that your body may require more sleep than you think it does, or just more rest, which you may deprive it of regularly.
Usually you wake up fresh and alert, even if your sleep wasn’t that good (but in this case your energy reserves will deplete much faster).
To improve Vata Pitta sleep, one should go to bed earlier to let the body and the nervous system rest nicely.
Pitta makes you a competitive person, while Vata gives your body lightness and mobility. It means you like quick movements, but your stamina may not be so long-lasting, which means you tend to overexert yourself.
Another point is that you often have difficulty in estimating your stamina and strength (as well as time), so you may find yourself not being able to say ‘no’ to things that are beyond your time and capabilities.
So, you need to learn how to properly estimate your own resources (be it time or stamina) and remember to have a rest to let yourself restore your energy.
More on Vata Pitta Imbalance Symptoms
The symptoms of Vata Pitta dosha imbalance will comprise the signs of each dosha, where one may be more prominent, so it may require more attention.
Initially we feel in our mind that something is wrong with us – it all starts from there, with the emotional side.
So, emotionally, Vata would feel as being overwhelmed, loosing focus, lacking energy, trying to escape.
Emotions of Pitta would be: I have so many things to do, I need to find the right solution to my problems, and I have to stop trying to escape, but do something.
These two “points of views” will be constantly switching between themselves, leading to hasty attempts to find the solution to the problems.
How to Balance Vata Pitta dosha?
The signs of such imbalance will be the combination of the imbalance symptoms of the particular dosha, so in the first place you need to know what to expect from Vata or Pitta when they are out of balance.
The second step is to identify at least three ways, how your dosha combination manifests in your daily life. For this you need to pay a closer attention to your food, routine, emotions, work, relationships, etc. For example, what type of food do you eat, or how hectic or planned your life is, or maybe you feel unsettled (Vata sign) because of some unresolved conflict (Pitta sign).
The third step of the treatment is to find ways to pacify the aggravated dosha(s). The first thing to look into is your food. Taking meals prepared from the suitable foods is the easiest way to bring your doshas to a balanced state. For more details, read about Vata Pitta diet.
Peaceful environment is another important thing, because Vata is moving, and Pitta is expanding, so bringing calmness to your life will balance both of these qualities.
Warm water is also very effective for both doshas, so take a warm bath or steam sauna, but don’t overdo it to keep Pitta in a balanced state.
Other recommendations include using appropriate oils and completing what you planned or started, because the feeling of having completed the task is very pacifying for Pitta, and it relieves Vata from the burden of an unfinished work as well. But you need to do it in steps – to complete one thing at a time, because trying to do all at once will aggravate Vata.
So, the whole idea is to reduce the aggravated qualities by increasing the opposite ones of each dosha.
And here we are going to have a summary of how to balance Vata dosha.
1. Vata’s Diet
The best foods for you are those that are freshly cooked, wholesome, not rough, not dry, warm and nourishing; there should be enough liquid and oil (butter) in your diet.
Always eat warm or hot food and drinks – such food will counteract the coldness of this dosha. The same principle is applicable for Vata Kapha diet.
Avoid cold drinks and food – these aggravate Vata. The common sign that you were affected by such foods is bloating and gases.
If you have leftovers from the previous day and you want to reheat them – think twice. While it may work once or twice, if you are going to regularly consume such reheated stuff, you’ll have hard time fighting your aggravated Vata dosha.
Your meals should be generally moist; dry food will increase the dosha, since it is its quality.
The same goes for raw vs. cooked foods: while there should be some raw dishes in your diet, do not give them the priority in your meals, since the majority of raw products increase Vata (the exception is made for juicy fruits and vegetables).
By the way, moist meals do not only mean ‘watery’ or ‘juicy’, but ‘oily’ as well. If there is lack or oil or butter in your dishes, you may have difficulties with timely elimination of wastes.
Smooth foods are better than rough, but do not think of ‘refined’ stuff as the most suitable here. Actually, the case is the opposite: refined foods are bad for Vata dosha, since they ‘clog’ the intestines, causing gases and problems with the evacuation of wastes. So stay clear of refined things!
Eat at the same time every day, have three nourishing meals, don’t skip your meals, and chew every bite thoroughly – this will help to keep your digestion fire burning well.
The best tastes for you are sweet, sour and salty. And you should minimize pungent, bitter and astringent.
This does not mean the exclusion of the less suitable tastes – just minimizing them.
But there are details as well. For example, white sugar is sweet, but it’s bad for Vata, because it is too refined.
Salt taste is good, but if you eat too much of it, it may reduce your energy and spoil digestion.
Bitter taste is not that good for this dosha, but it’s a healing and cleansing taste, so sometimes it is also required to maintain our health.
Therefore you need to know the general principles of balancing Vata dosha through diet, and use them according to time, place and circumstances, considering the response you get from your body along the way.
2. Balancing Vata through Lifestyle
The dosha is quick in actions and thoughts, so you need to learn how to calm your mind. Stress is very bad for you, as it puts pressure on your mind, already overloaded with many thoughts.
The disturbed mind is one of the most common causes of underweight in Vata people.
So you need to adjust your lifestyle to make it more peaceful, less stressful, and more regular.
Routine – is the magic word for your dosha, believe me! If you can make your life fully regulated (especially when it comes to eating and sleeping), you will have more energy, better digestion, normal weight and good mood most of the time.
Physical exercises are essential for you, but they should not be too intensive and exhausting. The best are those that are grounding, slow, gentle and rhythmic. Consider Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Walking, Golf, Dance, Bicycling, etc.
Short travelling may be OK, but the prolonged one is not very good for Vata dosha, because it disrupts the routine, which grounds this dosha. Swimming and oily massage are also good.
The keys to balancing your lifestyle are stability, consistency, routine and rhythm. Vata always tends to ‘fly away’ (in Sanskrit Vata means ‘air’), so you need to ground it through these ‘keys’.
Why grounding my dosha, if it has such natural tendencies?
Because dosha in Sanskrit means ‘the flaw’ or ‘drawback’. It is not a ‘natural merit’, so you need to tame it to be healthier and happier.
When Vata is increased in the mind, one may feel like they cannot calm down, or as if they are jumpy. There can be problems with falling asleep; the sleep itself can be interrupted. If you won’t balance it in the mind, it may lead to mental instability, insomnia, blackouts and severe depression.
Digestion and Elimination
Since the place of residence of Vata dosha is the digestive tract, the first symptoms of Vata imbalance are manifested there in a form of gases, bloating, and constipation; there can also be gurgling intestines, burps and hiccups, and one may feel too much thirsty.
Vata dosha normally has a weak appetite, but when it is increased in the body, the appetite becomes irregular, which often leads to mild weight loss; dryness in the mouth, dry feces, there may be hemorrhoids, diarrhea and pressure under the diaphragm. It is not that all these symptoms will occur simultaneously, but some of them are usually there.
If the aggravation of Vata remains for some extended period of time, one will have problems with elimination, constipation, and one’s stool will become dry and dark, will be small in amount and have a bullet-like shape.
Skin, Hair and Circulation
Excess of Vata dosha is often manifested through the skin dryness, cracking skin, heels and nails, split ends in hair, dandruff. Blood circulation is poor, skin is lusterless and pallor, there can be eczema or psoriasis in severe cases.
Hands and feet are often cold; a person does not sweat enough. The severe cases of Vata imbalance here include brittle hair and nails, nail deformation, skin discoloration, blood clots and varicose veins.
Muscle, Bones, Joints and Nerves
The signs of aggravated Vata in these areas include weakness, muscle fatigue, lack of coordination, tightness and stiffness, joint cracking, muscle pain, tremors, tingling and numbness, sciatica and nerve pain.
If you ignore the imbalance, it may turn into muscle rigidity and atrophy, joint dislocations, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, spontaneous bone fractures, incontinence, seizures, paralysis, fainting, changes in thyroid function, and even Parkinson’s disease.
Generalized Symptoms of Vata Dosha Imbalance
These will be the ones you can easily identify:
Constipation – digestive tract is the seat of this dosha.
Tingling or numbness – Vata is linked to nervous system.
Pain (especially low back pain, sciatica).
Malabsorption – to see if you have this, just stick out your tongue and look at it before a mirror. If you see teeth indentations along the sides of your tongue, then it can be an indicator of poor absorption of nutrients by your body. Another sign is the vertical ridges on your nail beds. These sings may take place even if your diet is healthy. Malabsorption means that you cannot digest and absorb the nutrients properly and you need to kindle your digestive fire to fix the problem.
Insomnia – a sign of restless mind.
Common Causes of Vata Imbalance
Eating too rapidly, or not eating enough food;
Eating food not very suitable for this dosha: old, dry, raw or cold;
Eating at different times;
Staying up late;
Suppression of bodily urges, such as sneezing, passing gas, or elimination, which is not really good for any dosha and for Vata especially;
Overstimulation of the senses;
Excessive worry or fear;
These are the Vata imbalance symptoms; once you notice them, try to bring your dosha into a balanced state. The first thing to do is to follow a Vata dosha diet.
The balancing lifestyle for Vata Dosha is aimed at reducing Vata’s qualities such as being cold, dry, changing and light, which occur in excess when the dosha is out of balance.
Vata Is Irregular And Changing
The best solution here is to create and follow a consistent daily routine, which means taking meals at the same time, going to bed and waking up at the same time, working, exercising and having rest – all about the same time during the day. It may be a challenge in the beginning, but later, once you get used to following the routine, your life will become so much easier and less hectic.
Vata Is Cold
We’ve got a couple of tips here:
Eat warm, solid meals, three times a day; don’t skip any. Your meals should be nourishing, juicy (not dry) and in appropriate quantities. Vata people should not overeat, since the digestion will not be optimal; at the same time, your meals should not be small or scarce. Eat enough but don’t eat too much per meal.
Stay warm. Cold weather may cause Vata Dosha imbalance, especially after prolonged exposure. If it is very cold outside, wear several layers of clothing, must have some warm socks, hat and scarf. Protect your ears and throat, apply lip balm before getting outside when it’s cold, and be safe from wind by wearing the wind-resistant clothes.
Again, nourishing food, taken at regular periods, will help. Also everything that brings peace, is also helpful for Vata to stay grounded: meditation, relaxation, peaceful activities such as reading or walking, yoga practice, and similar exercising programs, meditation; staying warm also.
Vata Is Dry
The important thing is to drink enough water during the day – it will provide your body with the necessary liquid to moisturize its tissues, especially skin, which gets really dry when the dosha is out of balance.
Your food should be quite juice and contain good amounts of healthy oils such as ghee, olive, almond, etc.
Proper skin care is essential: moisturize your skin with the appropriate creams or oils, avoid exposing the untreated skin to harsh, cold and windy weather.
Various types of oil massage are great for this dosha (best oils for massage are sesame, olive, jojoba and almond).
Exercises are important to keep Vata grounded, but not all of them. The workout routines should be moderate in time, not very heavy, but can be intensive. The key points are balance and flexibility ( and some static strength too). Avoid exceeding the limits of your energy by pushing yourself too far.
The best workout types for Vata Dosha are: Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, golf, bicycling, tennis, short hikes, dancing. Walking is very good, so do it as often as you can.
Other things that contribute to balancing Vata lifestyle
Drinking ginger tea and other hot teas.
Listening to calming or meditative music.
Having a regular massage.
Wearing or be surrounded by warm, earth colors and pastels.
Favoring sweet, warm and heavy aromas (basil, cinnamon, cloves, bay, citrus, lavender, sage, pine and vanilla).
Touching and being touched by the people you love.
Getting enough sleep.
Doing work in smaller/shorter periods and making smaller or short-term goals that are easier or faster to reach.
If your digestion is weak, you need to take a course of Triphala treatment (which is about one month usually) and consume easy-to-digest meals at regular periods of time (around 3 times a day).
If you follow all the tips or at least some of them, you will create a Vata Dosha lifestyle that brings balance, peace and satisfaction to your life.
Vata dosha is a combination of Air and Ether elements; it is cold and dry, irregular and agile, so to bring it back to balance you need to use essential oils with the properties that reduce Vata’s natural tendencies.
Choose oils that have sweet, warm and sour aromas. According to Deepak Chopra, the most suitable oils for Vata dosha are: Basil, Rose, Clove, Geranium, Orange, Vanilla, and Patchouli. You can also use camphor, cardamom, bay leaf, eucalyptus, ginger, thyme, lavender, cinnamon, chamomile, bergamot, rosewood, lemongrass, myrrh, tangerine, sandalwood, sweet orange and ylang ylang.
Since pure essential oils are quite powerful, it is advised to dilute them with carrier oils before applying on your skin.
Good carrier oils are: sesame, castor, avocado, olive oil, jojoba or grape seed oil.
If you are pregnant, consult with a physician before using any of these oils.
How To Use Essential Oils To Balance Vata Dosha?
Aromatherapy is the common way to use them. Add 10 drops of essential oil to hot water, and let the scent fill the place for around 30 minutes.
There are other ways to extract the aroma: through the use of candles or portable diffusers.
Another way is to place a drop of oil on the back of your hand or wrist, so that you can inhale it from time to time.
You can try various combinations of the essential oils for Vata dosha to unlock your best blends.
Massage is an important part of the ayurvedic therapy. It helps to relax muscles, improve their tone, increase blood circulation and lymph flow. Your mental stress and physical tension can also be relieved by a good massage.
To enhance the positive effect, dilute an appropriate essential oil in carrier oil before applying to the skin. The common proportion is about 20-30 drops of essential oil per 60ml or 4 tablespoons of carrier oil. If your skin is too sensitive, you may want to reduce the amount to 10-15 drops per 60 ml.
Using Oil on Your Face
Facial skin is gentler so smaller amount of oil is usually required. To apply oil to your face, dilute 3-5 drops to 1 ounce (30ml) of carrier oil (good options are jojoba and almond oil).
To make a facial mask, prepare a mixture of oatmeal, clay and water with a smooth texture, and add 2-4 drops of essential oil to it, then use it on your face.
Another way is to create a facial steam bath. It’s very simple: just prepare 2 liters of hot water, add 2 drops of oil to it, and hang your face over the water to let the steam wrap your face gently.
Oil for the Body
Taking bath is a good way to balance Vata dosha, and if you add some oil to it the overall effect will be even better. For a full tub use 5-15 drops of essential oil and up to 5 drops will be enough for a sitz bath.
Dilute an essential oil to a carrier oil, raw organic honey or mix it with bath salts to help the oil disperse in the water (otherwise it may stay on the water’s surface).
To use oil after the shower, put it on your hands, and rub them together and quickly spread the oil all over your body while the skin is still damp. Leave it to dry.
Since our feet contain lots of important acupressure points, keeping them healthy will affect the whole body. The skin on our feet can absorb nutrients and healing substances pretty quickly, so you can add 3-5 drops of oil to a bowl of water, and use to bath your feet or hands. Such baths are helpful for relieving aching joints or problems with the circulation. If you use cool water it can energize you; warm water promotes better relaxation.