14.2 Balancing Vata
Vata is directly related to the Apana Prana. The qualities of Vata are cold, dry, unstable, erratic, ought, and light. The colors associated with Vata are black or darkish colors. The pulse position is in the first position (closest to the hand) and the back or root of the tongue show the internal condition of Vata. The site of Vata is the large intestine, and it controls the organs of the lower half of the body. Vata is responsible for all movement in the body (Muscular and nervous) and all excretions or wastes from the body. Vata is directly related to the thinking process and stress. External condition of the skin and hair give us indication of Vata state (dryer, rough condition indicate higher levels of vata). Sweet, sour and salty tastes decrease vata. By the same token, bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes increase vata. Vata is strongest isn early morning and old age.
Any situation that involves the qualities or manifestations of vata indicates that vata is predominant in the given circumstance. To the degree that vata is the force that moves the other two humors, it is involved in every all ness. When it is the predominant force, it must be dressed directly. If it is not the predominant force, but present, then the predominant humor can be addressed in addition to vata. If vata is not involved directly, see the other humors. Traditionally, Apana Prana is the most difficult of the pranas to control, and thus explains the importance of controlling vata.
Vata can be lowered by raising either pitta or kapha, or both together; this result in balance. The concept of balance is relative to your constitution. For example, I am predominantly pitta, with vata second, and I have little kapha. To lower both pitta ans vata (should vata be high) I would increase the kapha humor. To lower only pitta I could raise both vata and kapha. In another example, if someone is a vata-kapha mix, then pitt can be raised to harmonize the predominant two humors. Thus balance does not mean three equal amounts of each humor, it means to return to your individual mix of the three humors, whatever that is for you.
For high vata condition leans towards the pitta side (i.e., Heat, inflammation, anger) then use more kapha-type herbs and foods to lower vata. If your vata condition leans more towards kapha (i.e., Wet, slow dull, lethargic), then use more pitta-type herbs and food to lower vata.
Oil is good for all vata conditions, both externally and internally. Oil that a heating action are best for controlling vata, like sesame or almond. To clear out internal toxins, castor oil is excellent for vata person (take 1 table spoon before bed.). Oil massage is very important for contorting vata; massage should be given regularly with warming oil. Massage nourishes the skin, bones, and nerves.
To control vata, it is necessary to eliminate all cold, dry foods from the diet. These are mainly snack food, such as cookies and chips, but drying food (i.e., astringent) and breads also tend to aggravate vata. Cold drinks, especially soft drinks should be avoided. Complex foods or dishes should be avoided when vata is very high. Simple meals are easier to digest for vata people, and warm, hot, or cool drinks are best. Meat can be very grounding d for vata; they are best able to handles meat if their digestion is strong enough. Meat soups are the best, as the are warming and nourishing.
Meditation, prayer, and quiet, nourishing times during the day are important for vata persons. Avoidance of stress, fear, and anxiety are important. Developing a regular life-style and habits is important also. Cultivating a kapha-like home-living, solid, romantic, nourishing, emotionally enriching-is very helpful for controlling vata. Often low self-estteem or simply a lack of love is the cause of the very destructive vata habits. I have a friends who is VERY vata and she thrives on all the crazy things that imbalance vata. She is very social, helping many people with an infinite variety of things, has good self-esteem, yet has difficulty accepting love on more then a superficial level. The ability to love and receive love balance vata and all the five pranas.