The vata type

July 18, 2012

Bodywork, Constipation, Serenity

The vata dosha consists of the air and ether elements governing all movement in the mind and body.

by Dr. Meghana Thanki — 

Are you the type that suffers from insomnia, worries constantly, experiences constipation, has frequent spells of forgetfulness or just cannot seem to follow a routine? If yes, it is likely your vata dosha is out of balance.

According to Ayurveda, the elements existent in nature, such as water, earth, fire, air and ether, also exist within us. The vata dosha consists of the air and ether elements governing all movement in the mind and body. This includes blood flow, breathing and movement of thoughts across the mind. The key qualities of vata include dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear. This gives a good foundation for the necessity of therapies that are beneficial for soothing the vata dosha; specifically abhyanga and shirodhara — two ancient, time-honored techniques that have tremendous therapeutic value. Both treatments are grounding and warming, exactly what balances vata — the opposite of cold and mobile.

Abhyanga is a specific type of massage technique that can be performed by another individual in a therapeutic setting or as a self-massage as part of a daily morning activity prior to showering. Essential oils may be used in a sesame oil base that is warmed slightly. This massage stimulates both arterial and lymphatic circulation, enlivening and revitalizing the body.

Shirodhara is one of the best tools for calming the mind and achieving a deep state of inner silence. It is becoming one of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments in the United States. The word shirodhara derives from shiro, meaning head and dhara, meaning stream. This treatment involves a continuous stream of warm oil poured over the third eye.

Shirodhara is very beneficial whenever the mind is over-stimulated, mostly in the case of vata imbalances. There are, of course, many other treatment avenues, such as diet, exercise and herbs that lead to the healing of vata imbalances, but these two therapies have shown excellent results with the vata individual.


Dr. Meghana Thanki, a naturopathic doctor trained in Ayurveda and is co-creator of AyurZona — An Integrative Wellness Center in Old Town Scottsdale. or 480-425-ZONA (9662).

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 1, February/March 2008.

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