In the previous blog, we talked about the physical features of a vata dominant body. In this blog, let us explore its unique metabolic characteristics. This information is a foundation for the effective implementation of Ayurvedic practices.
The word doshas mean – something that corrupts/spoils. Therefore, doshas are mainly about what can go wrong. And Ayurveda tells us how to prevent/correct things going wrong. Among the three doshas, vata is the most powerful. That is why it can cause the maximum number of disorders. However, if you are a vata person, do not be scared. These are just possibilities that may happen in case of a vata imbalance.
The vata metabolism
Let us recall the basic vata properties. Vata dosha is dry, cool, light, rough, subtle, and mobile. These are the properties that manifest themselves in a vata dominant metabolism.
The vata digestion
Digestion is the most crucial physiological function. It serves as the mother that sustains and nourishes all other systems. Vata dominant digestion is a little fragile. It resembles a small bonfire in a cold and windy environment. A strong vata current can completely extinguish this weak digestive fire. Therefore, a vata dominant person needs to carefully preserve this fire.
The oral cavity
Vata dosha creates a natural dryness in the entire alimentary canal. Therefore a vata dominant person may have a low amount of saliva in his mouth. This dryness also leads to a lack of taste sensation. It is typical for a vata dominant person to love warm, oily, and liquid food. Such foods help balance vata dryness, enhance taste buds, support salivary secretion, and soften food.
The overall alimentary canal may have a dryish surface. Therefore, any warm liquid helps to stimulate the peristaltic movement across the digestive tract.
The stomach and the intestines
A vata stomach may have random acid production. Someday, it may be great, other days, not so good. This is the reason why a vata person must follow a strict dietary and lifestyle routine. With a strict routine, you can align the digestive fire with meal times. It helps to tame random vata activity and strengthen the digestive system.
An imbalance in vata can lead to stomachache. Also, dried stomach acid may result in indigestion. This is another point where a warm liquid can help stimulate vata digestion. It can stimulate acid secretion from the stomach glands. Also, a liquid base can help the digestive juices to diffuse through throughout the food.
The same factor works for the intestines as well, esp. the large intestines. Large intestines are the abode of vata dosha. They are responsible for the absorption of excess water and form a solid stool.
Excess vata activity in the large intestines can lead to dry, hardened stool and constipation.
The vata respiration
A vata subtype – prana vayu is the energy that governs the process of respiration. Therefore, vata balance is crucial for normal breathing.
Kapha dosha dominates the chest region, the site of respiration. The kapha mucus coats the respiratory pathway and protects it from the drying vata effect.
The light, dry and mobile vata drains or dries up the mild and fluid kapha (mucus). However, excess vata can also harden the mucus. This dry, sticky mucus gets stuck to the respiratory tract and may produce multiple disorders like breathing problems, asthma, etc.
The vata circulation
Vata dosha is responsible for all movement inside the body. It is the force that drives blood circulation.
On the other hand, blood is the abode of pitta dosha. It is the source of warmth for the entire body. Here, the cooling effect of vata balances the fire-based pitta dosha. However, an imbalance of vata leads to circulatory problems like numbness, frost-bite, and a bluish/blackish tinge in the skin.
Since the dry vata rules the circulation, it determines the amount of moisture reaching the skin. This is the reason, a vata dominant person may have dry skin; as a strong vata dosha may dry most of the moisture on its way to the skin.
The vata nervous system
Since vata controls mobility, it is the governing dosha for the nervous system. Prana Vayu: a vata subtype is responsible for brain activity, thinking, feeling, and decision-making. It impacts both the voluntary and non-voluntary nervous systems.
Therefore, a vata balance is crucial for good nervous health. A balance in vata promotes balanced nervous activity.
But vata dominant people are prone to vata imbalance. Dryness results from a vata imbalance. It may lead to rapid deterioration in the nervous tissue. Therefore, vata dominant people are more prone to pain-related or degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementia, etc.
The vata excretion
Excretion, esp. through the large intestine is one of the primary functions of vata. Vata dosha also has a distinct subtype for excretion, called apana vayu. It is the opposite force to prana vayu or the incoming energy. Apana vayu can be termed as the outgoing energy!
This apana vayu acts on the large intestine and stimulates water absorption. However, a hyperactive apana vayu may lead to constipation.
The vata effect on hormones
Hormonal secretions are closely linked to vata balance. For example, thyroid imbalance is a perfect example of vata hyperactivity. Hyperthyroidism causes abnormal weight loss, hair loss, dryness in skin, body pain, etc.
Dry, cool, light and random vata dosha promote similar metabolic patterns in all the organ systems in the body. For example, it creates dryness in the large intestine that may create constipation. At the same time, it produces dryness in skin and hair.
This metabolic pattern is responsible for a specific range of disorders, esp. Pain-related disorders. The dehydrating effect of vata dosha erodes the nervous protective sheath. This erosion results in hypersensitive nerves and pain.However, if vata dosha is balanced, it promotes perfect health. Therefore, it is crucial to preserve vata balance, whether you have a vata dominant constitution or not.