Vata dosha is the most important dosha or bioenergy for highly sensitive people to learn about and understand. Since HSPs suffer from stress overload and overstimulation, the Vata dosha can be easily destabilized causing either systems of the body to go out of balance. Vata represents movement and its subdoshas govern movement for various aspects of the body including the nervous system.
Every single person has each of the three doshas in different combinations to one another creating the unique makeup of each individual. This understanding demonstrates how we are alike in that we each have all three doshas, and yet we are all different because each person has a slightly different dosha signature.
Each of the doshas has a primary vital function that serves the entire human system and each dosha also has five subdoshas that reflect the role of the dosha for various parts of the body and spirit. It is important to note that health and spirit are not separate; they are interdependent. A person in a spirit damaging situation over a period of time will suffer health effects. A person who has ill will have difficulty maintaining a healthy life-affirming spirit. Healing one heals the other.
The Importance of the Vata Dosha
We all have had the feeling of being in the zone. We know when we feel in balance when we feel clear-headed and are able to act in a way that is consistent with the highest good for ourselves and each other. That is the feeling of vata in balance. When vata is out of balance we can feel frenetic, anxious, worried and unable to resolve the discomfort that we feel. We find our actions or the lack of them tied to external forces rather than the natural good of ourselves. Because our center of gravity has shifted, we have become decentered. Vata in balance, is the feeling of being centered.
For highly sensitive people, staying centered is a huge challenge and requires sustained health and stress management practices that will support the HSPs highest and healthiest daily functioning. Feeling decentered is an important clue for an HSP, signaling imbalance and the potential for additional health problems in the future.
Everywhere you look your body is doing something unique with every molecule of air, water and food you take in, guided by its innate tendencies. You have the choice to follow these tendencies or modify them, but to recklessly oppose them is unnatural. In Ayurveda, living in tune with nature-easily, comfortably and without strain-means respecting your uniqueness.
Deepak Chopra, MD, Perfect Health, p. 32..
Vata Dosha: Vata Subdoshas and Their Importance
Vata has five subdoshas. They are:
- Prana Vata: You have probably heard the word prana at some point. It is the sanskrit word for vital life, and refers to our vital life force. This Vata subdosha is located in the head and chest and governs perception, thinking, and the senses – all of the facilities we use to manage our lives.
- Udana Vata: Udana is a sanskrit word for upbreath, and it is located in the throat and chest. It is a communication path between the body and the head. It regulates speech including self-expression.
- Samana Vata: Samana vata is located in the stomach and intestines. It does not regulate digestion, a pitta function, however, it has the vital function of regulating the movement of food, peristalsis. If food moves too quickly or too slowly through the digestive tract then imbalances will occur.
- Apana Vata: Located in the lower intestines and colon, this subdosha governs elimination, sexual function, and menstruation.
- Vyana Vata: An important subdosha for HSPs, Vyana Vata is located in the skin, circulatory system, and nervous system. It governs touch, circulation and the nervous system, which reflects how stress touches us. Many stress and circulatory disorders including heart disease are represented by this subdosha.
The Predominantly Vata Dosha Person
The Vata dosha characteristics are cold, dryness, movement, and roughness. The Vata person has certain readily visible characteristics, most noticeably a thin, lanky build with a tendency to rarely gain weight. Vata individuals also have prominent joints, dry, rough skin, dry often light-colored hair and fine features. They dislike cold, dry and windy weather. A Vata because of their moveable nature, can have difficulty keeping a fixed schedule including eating which creates a constant state of disruption in their system. They have poor digestion and have a tendency to be constipated.
All doshas are balanced by their opposites. To stay in balance a Vata person needs to practice a schedule that provides some security for their system. Because a Vata person will tend to be hyperactive and restless, they need to maintain a healthy, balancing schedule to support their resilience and minimize disorders created by excessive, frenetic activity, including anxiety, stress disorders, and insomnia.
When in balance, a Vata person is enthusiastic, cheerful and full of life.