Vata is a combination of the elements Wind and Space and represents the concept of movement. Vata controls the processes that move within us; our circulatory system, our respiratory system, the elimination of waste from our body, the nervous system, and very importantly our thinking process.
If born with a stable Vata Dosha then all these processes will be stable and relatively ‘normal’ according to standard measurements.
However, if Vata is aggravated at birth there will be a tendency for everything to move faster. For example the heart may beat more quickly and the breath will tend to be shorter and faster. Wind is drying and a person with excess Vata tends to experience dry skin and also internal dryness resulting in the likelihood of chronic constipation.
Vata people tend to be intelligent and to grasp ideas quickly but may have memory lapses and quickly forget things. To be able to think with clarity our thoughts cannot move too slowly or too fast; if the thought process moves too quickly as it may do when Vata is aggravated we cannot see our thoughts clearly. This could be compared to a film where the frames skip so we miss what is happening and become confused. A person with this problem will not be able to function properly as activities come from our thoughts.
Vata aggravated people may suffer from forgetfulness and incoherent speech, changing topics as their mind skips ahead or being unable to finish what they have started as their mind has moved to another topic. Stress, anxiety and fearfulness can often result. When Vata is stable such individuals can be creative, good speakers, imaginative and full of enthusiasm and fun.
A word of caution, it is important to note that an aggravated Pitta or Kapha person may exhibit any of the above symptoms, but the reason for that will be different, and the correction for this will also be different. Hence the importance of correct diagnosis of the Dosha first (not by looking at symptoms nor a Dosha quiz, but through pulse diagnosis which will correctly determine the actual aggravation).
Like the wind Vata tends to be changeable, fast moving, subtle, rough, light, cool and dry.
Vata has a tendency to influence us more during the older years (post menopause for women); during the autumn or fall season; after the digestion of food when nutrients are assimilated and wastes excreted; and during the day from early morning until dawn, and mid afternoon to dusk – the junctions of day and night.
As with all Dosha everyone has Vata, it is simply a question of to what degree.