In Ayurveda, “Prakriti” refers to the individual’s unique constitution or natural physique. It is essentially a comprehensive description of the physical, mental and emotional characteristics of an individual, which provides guidelines to leading a healthy and balanced life. Our “Prakriti” or defining physical build is determined at the moment of conception and remains relatively stable throughout our lifetime. However, our mental and emotional constitution can alter as the balance of energies changes, so it is worth taking our extended dosha test if you feel out of balance and want to understand which energy is in excess and causing the problem.
In Ayurveda, each person’s individual constitution (Prakriti) is determined by the balance of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We all have all three! Some people may have one dominant dosha, you may have a dual dosha constitution, where you share the characteristics of two doshas, or in some cases your constitution may be a tridosa, meaning that the three energies influence your physique in equal proportions.
Vata dosha embodies the elements of air (wind) and ether, which represent movement, communication and impulses. The main characteristic of the Vata-dosha is mobility. This Dosa is responsible for our senses and perception (closely related to the nervous system), our ability to orient, adapt and perceive.
The characteristics of people with a Vata body type:
they can be tall or short, with a lean body and often protruding bones and very visible veins. Their hair is coarse, usually brown to blondish-brown in colour. Their head and face is small, elongated and narrow, with a long and thin neck. Typically their chest is narrow, they have thin arms, lean thighs and small but firm and tight calves. Their nails are a darker shade, and have a natural tendency to dryness, cracking easily. Vata people are prone to fear and anxiety and are easily agitated.
Vata people tend to be energetic, quick-witted, enjoy change and diversity, are flexible and creative, and are often talented artists. They tend to be indecisive and unpredictable. Vata imbalance causes anxiety, restlessness, and problems associated with dryness and cold, such as dry skin and crackling joints, as well as sleep disorders. They are quick learners, but also quick to forget. They express their feelings easily, meet people easily, but have few friends.
Vata (air) is typically aggravated by fasting, lack of sweet taste, light and cold food, eating too much fruit and raw food. Lack of daily routine, irregular sleep, cold and windy weather, and excessive mental or physical strain and stress also increase vata.
When vata excess starts to accumulate, it leads to dehydration, weight loss, shivering, dizziness and weakness, and they feel cold all the time. They suffer from constipation, bloating and speech problems, the physical body becomes exhausted and weakens. They are prone to anxiety and restlessness, and experience feelings of fear and melancholy.
People with Vata dosha may suffer from weight loss or tissue deterioration if the dosha out of balance. For them, improving the quality of food and meals is a priority. Choose a soothing, nourishing and grounding diet that is heavy, warm, fortifying and hydrating. Choose sweet, sour and salty flavours. Meals should be frequent, regular, and small portions. Cooked, hot food is best. Avoid eating when stressed, anxious or fearful. Vata type have the most irregular and unstable eating habits often skipping meals, so it is most important to establish and maintain a proper diet and rhythm.
|Recommended||Should be avoided|
As most fruits have a pleasant, harmonising effect, they are good for Vata dosha. Dried fruit is an exception to this rule.
|grapefruit, banana, orange, papaya, pineapple, mango, fig, apple (as compote), plum, apricot, cherry, date, lemon, lime, peach, pear, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry||raw apples, dried fruit, melon, cranberries|
Cooked, most vegetables are good, but they can’t live on this alone because it makes them too light. Eating vegetables with spices, oils and grains is best for them. Eat raw salad in moderation with lots of dressing, oil.
|avocado, beetroot, carrot, fresh corn, green beans, okra, parsley, fresh green peas, radish, summer squash, sweet potato, horseradish, black olives||artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Swiss chard, aubergines, kohlrabi, green olives|
Most grains are nutritious and heavy, so they are good for those with a sturdy build. A prolonged whole-grain diet can prevent many wasting diseases.
|basmati rice, brown rice, couscous, oats, wheat, amaranth, quinoa||muesli and dried cereals, barley, buckwheat, maize, millet, rye, tapioca|
Most legumes have a bloating effect, and therefore can severely aggravate the vata.
|mung bean, tofu||chickpeas, soya, yellow peas, urad dal (black lentils), lima beans, kidney beans|
|Seeds, nuts||almonds, tomatoes, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, pumpkin seeds||none|
Most dairy products are heavy, nutritious and moisturising, so they soothe the diaphragm. Fermented dairy products are generally more suitable for those with a wattage problem, as they have already started the pre-digestion process.
|butter, cottage cheese, paneer, ghee, kefir, milk, sour cream, yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, rice milk, goat milk||ice cream, soya milk, milk powder|
Most oils are good for Vata dosha. The warmth and moistness of the oil make it the most recommended food in the category of wax reducers, as its characteristic properties are an excellent counterbalance to the cold and dry nature of Vata dosha.
|almond oil, avocado oil, butter, ghee, olive oil, sesame oil, peanut butter, coconut oil, linseed oil||margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, rapeseed oil|
Most sweeteners or sweets are good for Vata type, as they need more sugars to strengthen their tissues than other body types.
|fructose, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, honey||refined (white) sugar|
The spices regulate the appetite of people with Vata dosha and relieve the symptoms of flatulence. They are mainly used to accompany sweet and heavy foods to aid proper digestion.
|asafoetida, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, saffron, oregano, nutmeg, sage, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dill, horseradish, mint, mustard, red pepper, rosemary, soy sauce, turmeric, garlic, ginger, celery|
People with Vata dosha should make sure that they drink enough fluids. Not only water, which is not nutritious enough for them, but also dairy products, herbal teas, acidic juices, lemon or lime water.
Vitamins & minerals
People with Vata dosha need oil-soluble vitamins (e.g. A, D, E) and vitamin C. The most important minerals are zinc and calcium.
The key word is consistency!
People with a Vata type need to relax, to reduce stress.
Exercise regularly, and take time for equally calming practices such as Hatha yoga or Tai Chi which are slow and flowing energy, focusing on balance, coordination and relaxation. Practicing meditation and deep breathing also helps to reduce vata. Regular, relaxing walks in nature can have a grounding and calming effect on the vata. Connecting with the earth and rhythmic movement also help balance the restless nature of Vata.
For a restful sleep, use sweet or calming herbs such as fennel, licorice, lemongrass.
Keep warm in winter and summer.
Use sweet, warm spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg.
Sauna, steam bath, massage with sesame oil are useful.
Eat five meals a day, always small portions. Eat heavy, oily foods, sweet, salty and sour flavours. Spicy, bitter, sour flavours in moderation, they increase the blood pressure.
Fasting is not recommended Vata type.