Embracing Vata

You may be hearing more about “vata” this time of year. The Ayurvedic vata season — when the predominance of the elements air and ether fill our environment — began with the onset of fall, although it started to accumulate in late summer. You can feel vata as it moves in: the days become cooler, the wind starts to pick up and the skin begins to dry out.

Much like the shifting temperatures and winds outside, vata also lives within us and is responsible for the fluctuations of our internal compass. You may feel restless, have more concerns or notice changes in your appetite and trouble digesting food. Maybe you notice more general inconsistency, less certainty or have trouble sleeping. The mind will often dash in many directions at the same time.

Unfortunately, vata tends to get a bad rap. Of all the Ayurvedic doshas — consisting of some combination of air and ether (vata), fire and water (pitta), and earth and water (kapha) — vata is the one we tend to demonize the most. Because of its mobile and volatile nature, vata is responsible for a majority of all imbalances and diseases in the body. That is just a reality. But it does not have to be our truth. 

We can choose to focus instead on the beauty of vata — the lightness, airiness and openness of this dosha — which inherently helps to manage its challenges. 

Vata, in its splendor, is creative, excited and open to possibilities. Those who have a predominance of vata in their constitution are your biggest fan, cheering you on as you go and staying lighthearted even in the most difficult moments. They may whisk in and out of your life, run late to parties or forget to call but when they show up, they remind you of your own vivacious nature. They light up every room. They wake up everyday with hunger for something new and unknown. They gift their own sense of adventure to everyone they meet. They remind you to love everyone for who they are. 

When things become stagnant, dark or murky, vata reminds us to let go of what is weighing us down; to free the mind and stop resisting what is holding us back; to open up to the possibility of something different, something new, something exuberant. Vata allows us to shake things up; to uncover our own internal curiosity; to simply be present, open, and aware of whatever may travel down our path of inquietude, resistance, and complexity. 

Vata delivers Prana - our internal life force. Without vata, we would not be able to breathe or to circulate oxygen throughout our body. Without vata, we would fail to connect to something bigger than ourselves - something greater than our anxieties, more powerful than our fears and stronger than our emotions. Without vata, we would not be here. 

This Thanksgiving, open your heart, open your mind and find gratitude for your vata. 

Om Namah Shivaya