Understanding Vata-Pitta Dosha
While vata dosha comprises of the elements of space and air, pitta dosha comprises of the elements of fire and water. The vata-pitta combination therefore exhibits qualities of coldness, dryness, lightness, and mobility, as well as heat, lightness, intensity, and fluidity. The opposing qualities of cold and heat can give rise to imbalances, depending on the season. Vata-pitta individuals tend to be creative and passionate, but can also be unfocused and indecisive. When your doshas are balanced, there is unlikely to be any conflict and you should be able to multi-task efficiently.
Risk Factors that Cause Imbalance
The risk factors for a vata-pitta constitution can vary during the year because of seasonal influences on doshas. Vata dosha tends to be aggravated during the latter portion of autumn and the winter months, resulting in imbalances. Following erratic schedules, with irregular sleep hours, inadequate rest, and inappropriate food choices can exacerbate the problem, increasing vata levels.
On the other hand, pitta aggravation tends to occur during the summer months, possibly extending into early autumn. Pitta levels can also rise due to faulty food choices that include excessive intake of heating and spicy foods, as well as over consumption of sour and citric fruits. In addition, spending a significant amount of time in hot environments, such as in poorly ventilated kitchens or outdoors during peak sunlight can raise pitta levels causing an imbalance.
Signs of Imbalance
When dealing with a dual dosha constitution it is important to recognize the specific dosha that is aggravated. Keeping this in mind, the warning signs of imbalance can be divided into 2 categories:
- Increased dryness of both hair and skin
- Poor circulation and coldness in the extremities
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Frequent bouts of indigestion including bloating and constipation
- Increased stiffness of the joints and lower back pain
- Difficulty falling asleep or impaired sleep
- Restlessness and anxiety with frequent worry or fear
- Forgetfulness and a lack of focus
- Loss of energy and lower endurance
- Increased menstrual cramping and dryness of the vagina
- Increased sebaceous oil production and acne outbreaks
- Frequent skin rashes and inflammatory skin conditions
- Dehydration and excessive food craving
- Buildup of heat in the extremities and increased perspiration
- Acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, or peptic ulcers
- Weakened immunity that results in frequent infections
- Higher incidence of eye strain and headaches
- Premature graying or balding
- Mood swings with frequent outbursts of anger
Balancing a Vata-Pitta Constitution
No matter your dosha type, Ayurveda offers detailed recommendations on the ideal daily routine, diet, and yoga activities to preserve an optimal balance of doshas. As a vata-pitta type individual, here’s an overview of the lifestyle changes needed to promote a healthy dosha balance for better health and wellbeing.
Vata-Pitta Balancing Daily Routine
Dinacharya or daily routine is an important concept in Ayurveda and you need to follow a routine that is best suited for your dosha type. The ideal vata-pitta balancing daily routine would see you start your day by around 5:30 to 6 am, with elimination of bodily wastes being the first activity. This is followed by a cleansing routine, abhyanga, meditation, and so on before you proceed with your working day. For a more detailed account of your recommended daily routine with morning, mid-day, and evening schedules check out our Vata-Pitta Balancing Daily Routine page.
Athlete getting ready for training
Vata-Pitta Balancing Diet
Every food and beverage contains unique properties that influence the way they interact with the three doshas. While Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a wholesome diet that includes every food group, it lays down clear guidelines for the specific foods to support your unique constitution.
Colorful peach smoothie with wild berries
As a vata-pitta type, it is advisable that you opt for foods served at room temperature or moderately heated. The intake of cold foods can aggravate vata, while hot foods can aggravate pitta. Adjust your food intake to balance heating and cooling foods, depending on the prevalence of vata or pitta aggravation symptoms.
In addition to heating and cooling properties, Ayurveda also classifies foods and beverages on the basis of their distinctive tastes. While tastes like bitterness and pungency will help boost vata levels, sweet and sour tastes have a pacifying effect. On the other hand foods with a sour and pungent taste can aggravate pitta levels, while sweet and bitter tasting foods will help lower pitta levels. For a more detailed account of the dietary recommendations for your unique doshic makeup, visit our Vata-Pitta Balancing Diet page.
Vata-Pitta Balancing Yoga
As is the case with diet and eating habits, your yoga routine also needs to encourage those qualities that are in contrast to your dominant dosha. In case of vata dominance, asanas should have a heating and grounding influence to counter vata’s cold and mobile qualities. On the other hand, to deal with aggravated pitta, asanas should have a cooling and calming influence to counter pitta’s hot and intense qualities.
Kid practicing Balasana pose
As a vata-pitta type, your asana routine should have an emphasis on balance, with slow and fluid movements. The practice of asanas should be more casual, rather than challenging, so as to promote stability and relaxation. Ideally, a vata-pitta balancing yoga routine should include a combination of asanas like Surya Namaskar, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Tadasana, Padottanasana, Viparita Karani, Balasana, and so on. Whenever vata seems to be aggravated, make sure to hold forward bends and both sitting and standing poses for a longer duration. Focusing more on asanas with bends and twists will help to balance pitta levels. For a more detailed account of the yoga asanas, sequences, and other recommendations for your unique doshic makeup, visit our Vata-Pitta Balancing Yoga page.
Vata-Pitta Balancing Herbs
Ayurvedic herbs are commonly used to treat a variety of health conditions. But, these herbs also have an important role to play in the maintenance of health through their dosha balancing effects. Ayurvedic herbal products are in fact the most effective solution to countering imbalances in doshas, as and when they arise. Ayurvedic herbs are carefully classified on the basis of their therapeutic properties, tastes, and other qualities that have a direct influence on the three doshas.
The most effective herbs for pacifying and balancing a vata-pitta constitution include Amrataka, Amla, Cardamom, and Giloy, among others. For more detailed information on Ayurvedic herb recommendations for your dosha type, visit our Vata-Pitta Balancing Herbs page.
- Cavanagh, Danny, and Carol Willis. Essential Ayurveda: A Practical Guide to Healthy Living. Ayurveda UK, 2004.
Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
- Frawley, David, et al. Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice. New Age Books, 2003.
- Khare, C P. Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic and Other Traditional Usage, Botany. 1st ed., Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2004.
The information on this page has been contributed by Dr. Pratik Bhoite, M.D. (Ayu), M.S. (Couns.&Psy.) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.