The vatha dosha is composed of air and space. Vatha regulates all activities of body movements, is represented by the central nerve system and acts as a catalyst that brings about the expression of the other two doshas. It is the energy that controls ones circulation, respiration, excretion etc. and is in-charge of the vital essence of life i.e. Prana; which when leaves the body leads to cessation of life.
Thin body frames, light and quick thoughts and actions, characterize the pre-dominance of the vatha dosha. Opennes to change is also a characteristic of this dosha. When vatha is balanced, an individual is creative, enthusiastic and lively. Vatha in excess may cause anxiety, insomnia or irregular digestion. Symptoms of vatha aggravation may include poor blood circulation, constipation, abdominal distention/enlargement, emaciation, joint pains, stiffness, cracking of joints, breathing difficulty etc.
The large intestine, pelvic cavity, skin, thighs and ears are the seats of the vatha dosha. The colon is the most important seat of vatha.
The vatha dosha is further classified into 5 types according to its seat and the different functions it carries
Praana Vayu: Residing in the head, it governs reasoning, learning, creativity, reception of information through sense organs, interpretation of and reaction to signals by the sense organs, consciousness and mental activities
Udaan Vayu: Residing in the chest and throat pervading the nose, umbilicus & throat, it governs sneezing, expiration, hiccough, spitting
Vyaana Vayu: Residing in the heart and pervading the whole body, it is responsible for controlling heart functions & movements of the body parts
Samaana Vayu: Residing near the digestive fire, it governs digestion, absorption & assimilation of food. It stimulates the peristaltic movements
Apaana Vayu: Pervading the pelvic cavity, bladder, sexual and reproductive organs, it governs the elimination of wastes, menstrual cycle, sexual function and childbirth
Measures to balance the Vatha Dosha
Changes in food, lifestyle, climate and mental factors can cause an imbalance of the vatha dosha. The factors similar to the attributes/properties of vatha bring about its aggravation while those opposite to it pacify it.
1) Consume warm, oily, sweet, sour and salty food items
2) Avoid cold, frozen, raw food, gas-producing food like potatoes, cauliflower, biscuits, refined flour
3) Avoid fasting over exertion, strenuous sports and activities causing extensive wear & tear
4) Stay warm in cold, windy and rainy weather
5) Avoid suppressing natural urges like urination etc. and mental emotions
6) Refrain from smoking, alcohol, stimulants