Vata, oh dear Vata… Changeable like the wind. Don’t ever think about stopping it. It’s rather all about taming it & re-directing in a more desirable direction 😉
Vata governs movement in the body: Ingestion of food and water, distribution of respiratory gases… In a psychological sense, Vata is responsible for the movement of thoughts and emotions. Therefore, if imbalanced, it may create psychological disturbances with the most common nowadays being excess worry and anxiety.
As you already know, Vata consists of of air and ether. In the entry on 5 elements of Ayurveda, we also got familiar with the other elements of fire, water and earth.
In order to better understand the qualities of Vata, let’s imagine a wall of fire: The burning sensation and the heat that such a wall would generate. Similarly, if you imagine a wall made out of earth and water, it would be cooler, but much more dense and stable.
Now, Vata comes in, and it only consists of space and air. How would the wall of these elements would look like? It would be so subtle, totally invisible! Can you imagine, how easy would it be, to pass through such a wall?
That’s the reason why, Vata is the first dosha, that gets thrown out of balance. In Ayurveda, it is estimated, that almost 80% of all diseases are caused by aggravated Vata!
But it doesn’t mean we should perceive Vata as “the source of all evil”. In this article, we are going to explore the different faces of Vata dosha, depending on the state (Guna), in which it is present. We’re going to mostly focus on the subtle body and its mental expressions. This is where the doshas will often manifest themselves first, before even giving the signs of dis-ease in the body.
Vata in Sattva
Sattvic Vata is like the summer breeze. It is subtle, pleasant and incredibly refreshing, giving inspiration and creative impulses to the mind. No music, no art, no poems would ever be created, if it wasn’t for the sattvic Vata.
Moreover, people with a lot of sattvic qualities of Vata can be extremely receptable and empathetic. Their emotional intelligence makes them very humorous and optimistic individuals, that are able to talk about any topic with anybody.
They are flexible (in mind & body) and adapt easily to any circumstances that life throws at them (by contrast to rigid Pittas or Kaphas, who don’t like changes).
Sattvic Vatas are full of love and trust – for themselves and for the world around them. Their empathetic, humanitarian nature makes them very sensitive to the suffering around them. They are also easily get touched by the beauty of nature.
The portion of Vata in my most Sattvic moments, touches me to tears, when I gaze into a sunrise or into the eyes of a wild animal. “Everything comes through the invisible wall.” Because of Vata’s sensitivity and ability to feel in, we are able to merge into oneness with the true essence of being.
Vata in Rajas
Vata in Rajas can be like a hurricane, that got out of control. It blows harshly in all possible directions. It spins and spins and spins and does not know, how to stop.
Rajasic Vatas are nervous and hyper-active, both in body and mind. Their hands or legs are constantly moving, their eyelids are twitching. Constant activity in their mind spins in a vicious cycle, leading up to anxiety, nervousness and over-thinking. They also love to multi-task, not recognizing that too much distraction equals destruction for them.
They are still very enthusiastic people, however, their enthusiasm is short-lived. They pile up books or motivational quotes and start a lot of new projects, but rarely end up finishing any of them. They are often too chaotic and unorganized to follow through their resolutions, which makes them unreliable and forgetful.
Vata in Tamas
Tamasic Vata is like a freezing, penetrating wind on the dark and cloudy winter day. It makes you crunch and contract. This kind of Vata is not loud, talkative or enthusiastic anymore. It’s often blocked in its throat chakra – quiet, secretive and afraid to speak up her truth.
Whipped by cold winds for too long, it acts like frozen – people with tamasic Vata are paralyzed by fears, too afraid to take actions. They experience chronic anxiety, panic attacks or tend towards auto-destructive behaviors.
They often feel separated and lonely, like nobody could empathize with what they’re going through. Consequently, this can make them even more private, superficial and closed-off.
I hope, this article gives you more clarity on how one dosha can manifest itself differently on the level of the mind. Remember, that life is a continuum of all three states. We all experience sattvic, rajasic or tamasic moments at times. However, the goal of Yoga & Ayurveda is to increase sattvic qualities in our life.
I wonder, how does the force of Vata expresses itself in your life? Let me know, in the comments below! 😀
Only those who know themselves, can truly understand the world around them.Yoga Sutra of Patanjali