Vata is the Dosha with full liberty for all types of movements within the body. Vata is the essence of the movement of human body. Because it is presenting the principal of the movement in universe- the Air (Vayu Mahabhoota)! Only Vata is moveable inside the body. And it (Vata) is responsible for moving everything.
So wherever there is some movement inside the body- that will be all due to the Vata Dosha.
This movement might be that gross as movement of the food stuff inside the human body. And this might be that subtle as movements of micronutrients through pores of a cell membrane. Doesn’t matter what size of things and traits are moved inside the body- everything drives according to the Vata Dosha, alone.
So it is all about physical movements alone?
All the senses or perceptions inside the body are also part of the movement.
Once we look at something- this sensation moves to the brain for interpretation and analysis and this movement is also done by Vata. So this is the reason Vata is famous as Gyan/Jyan also- the knowledge.
Vata Dosha is not alone Movement!
So Vata is all about movement, alone?
When movements occur in a controlled way. These are meaningful. Walking a proper way is- movement. But shaking legs never helps us to reach anywhere.
Moving hands and fingers is good and important. But when this happens involuntarily- this we know as tremors.
Therefore Vata is something, which controls all these movements. Movement is important. But controlled movement is something “natural” Vata does.
Breeze and pleasant air in the atmosphere represents- “natural and pacified” air. But on otherside- storms, dust-storms, avalanches might be natural but is aggravated form of the air. Similar is the condition of Vata inside the body.
So, when we say- natural and pacified- this is a state of equilibrium. And when it turns violent- it becomes- aggravated and it shows a complete mess up.
The other aspects of the Vata Dosha
Certainly, Vata represents the movement. But beyond this, Vata also represents the other impacts of the principles of the movement.
- When there is Vata- this will cause dryness.
- Where we have dryness, things will turn up rough.
- Now with dryness and roughness things will become clearer. Because this is unctuousness and stickiness which makes thing messy.
So these effects will appear with Vata too. These all together are considered as Characteristics/Attributes of Vata dosha.
None of these doshas are stable things. These are dynamics. Doshas are expression of biological activities. When something happens on physiological level, it will cause some physical changes. Therefore when it comes to Doshas- body represents these physical attributes.
The same physical attributes are known as Gunas. These gunas tell about ongoing physical activities. This is the reason, Ayurveda is not about biochemistry. Ayurveda is more about biophysics.
When, any of these attributes are increased, we say Vata is disturbed or aggravated. This is because some physiological activity brings some physical changes in the body. Therefore we don’t have much biochemical testings in Ayurveda.
The tests which are least explained are also physical. These are like mutra-bindu pariksha or stanya-dushti parkisha.
Vata is not AIR or GAS
In last years many patients came and claimed they are suffering with Vata imbalance. And when asked- how can they confirm about Vata aggravation? And answers are always funny- bloating, flatulence, too much flatus, belching and blah blah….
When we say Vata is similar to air. Everybody start comparing Vata with AIR and Gasses.
Vata has nothing to do with the Air and Gas. Patients doesn’t believe so and who believes, it took months for them to accept, this wrong analogy.
As discussed above. Actions and activities of air represent- Vata and its activities. This is not air which has direct analogy with the Vata Dosha.
Here are the diseases due to Vata Dosha, which manifest in the body.
How does Vata cause diseases
Here are some of the examples of the diseases related to the movements. These are mere examples. Domain of Vata is much bigger and complete than this description here. The main aim of description is to give you an idea about this wonderful Dosha.
Excessive/ Uncontrolled and movements of the fluids and food in GIT represents Diarrhea, Irritative bowl Syndrome and alike conditions.
When these uncontrolled movements occur in muscles: this is known as Parkinsonism/ Tremors / Movements and Gait Disorders.
When movements of the Intestines are low: this will cause Constipation!
Nerves are when slow to carry the impulses to the desired location this will be known as Alzheimer’s Diseases and all other similar diseases.
No movements at all:
Paralysis!! This is the result of no movements inside the body, when there are no movements inside the body- this will be known as Paralysis and we can find example of the paralysis in all systems of the body.
Some other aspects of The Vata Diseases
Due to this basic nature of the Vata, there are certain properties of the Vata, which define rest of its activities inside the body and these are- Dryness, Subtleness, Lightness, Rough etc.
Dryness in Vata Dosha Diseases
Dryness is the main post-effect of all types of movements. Whenever, wherever there will be movement, there will be friction and this friction will be leading to the dryness of the moving parts. These moving parts might be the tiers of a vehicle or your joints!
If we think about dryness on other paradigm, fats are the main part of the body when it comes to oiliness of the human body! Whenever there will be some movements, body will need to produce more and more energy and in the same quest of “parenting” energy for these movements- body will burn the fats and these burnt fats will lead to the dryness- no material for oiliness- means dryness!
Subtleness of Vata Diseases
Second one is the subtleness! As we discussed above Vata is capable for the movement on the subtlest level of the body and governs these movements. This is only possible for a thing with subtleness to do so. If we talk about knowledge- that again is the subtlest form of the movement, it is too subtle to record under a microscope. We can see the results of the movements; even we are not able to see these movements to happen.
Movement means- burn of energy! Burn of energy means the consumption of the stored foods and result will be the lightness! Secondly, if you want to fly/move always you should be light enough to do so. This is the second factor which decides the lightness of the Vata! Air (Vayu Mahabhoota) is the main principle and air has weight but comparatively not that much, so is Vata.
Movements bring—Dryness and dryness results in the roughness. This is the reason why in case of Vata diseases like osteoarthritis- there will be rough surfaces of the bones. This roughness is the result of one more passive activity of the Vata, as discussed above- Vata consumes the fats for production of the energy to move. Fats give oiliness and that oiliness gives us the smoothness. Once there is no smoothness- that condition will be known as roughness. There is nothing perfect and perfect smooth- everything can be counted in terms of relativity only.
This is a brief description about the Vata! If your body type comes under Vata, don’t forget to check Vata Body Type Page!
Vaidya Dr. Pardeep Sharma, M.D. (Ayurveda) is the founder and medical director of Sukhayu Ayurved. Vaidya Pardeep is well known for his clinical skills of making proper diagnosis of the diseases, through Ayurvedic System. He is practicing Ayurveda clinically since more than 15 years. Specialisation of Vaidya Ji is- AYURVEDA.