What Is "Vata?"

Vata is your dosha type. What is a dosha? It's simply the Ayurvedic definition for your  bio-individuality. In other words it's your body type, which includes your metabolic constitution, your personality, and your physical characteristics.  By understanding what makes us unique, we can make better decisions as they relate to our diet, our lifestyle, and our mental health. 

So I'm A Vata. What Does This Mean?

You think fast, talk fast, love being with other people, and enjoy travel and change. You are so enthusiastic and full of energy that it’s hard to keep you grounded. Much like the wind- you are changeable. Wonderfully creative with an artistic bent, you drum to a different beat. You are unique and …quite like it that way. You are very active, often restless and sometimes find it hard to relax. You have a strong and sensitive spirit.

You are good at initiating things, but not necessarily at following them through. You are prone to poor memory, lack of concentration, disorganization, fear and anxiety. You can suffer from nervous problems such as disorientation, panic attacks and mood swings. The balanced ‘you’ is active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express and communicate.

 Photo:  Ed Needs A Bicycle.  Creative Commons.

Photo: Ed Needs A Bicycle. Creative Commons.


Typical Vata Characteristics:

• Thinner lips
• A thinner and slender frame
• A tendency to show wrinkles earlier
• Wiry and often curly hair
• Expressive and narrow face

 Orlando Bloom - Photo: People Magazine

Orlando Bloom - Photo: People Magazine

 Woody Allen - Photo: Mark Mann

Woody Allen - Photo: Mark Mann

How do you know you have pushed your limits?

We often think of our health in terms of symptoms. We have a headache, or indigestion, or skin irritation. However, symptoms are just that, symptoms of an underlying problem or imbalance. At The Holistic Highway we work with patients to treat the underlying cause of their imbalance and not just their symptoms.  To use an analogy, if you have a headache, we want to determine and treat the cause of your headaches, not just prescribe Tylenol for the pain. This is health-care, not sick-care, and it's the key to long term health, energy and vitality. 

Signs & Symptoms of Imbalance:

• Aching pain in the bones, cracking joints, arthritis, low backache • Nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear • Fatigue, lowered resistance to infection, loss of weight • Tinnitus, tingling, numbness • Twitches, tics, tremors, spasms • Dry skin and hair, brittle nails, chapped skin • Constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools, explosive diarrhea (aggravated by anxiety) • Dislike of cold and wind, feeling cold and poor circulation • Pain (cutting or migrating), poor coordination • Insomnia, restless sleep, tension and anxiety • Insecurity, mental agitation, depression, restlessness • Difficulty tolerating loud noises • Spacy, scattered feeling • Excess thinking or worrying


In order to eliminate symptoms and get back in balance, consider the following recommendations. 

• Plenty of relaxation rest and sleep; avoid overstimulation and doing too much. This will calm the central nervous system that gets hyper-sensitized for you as a Vata.

• Do not skip meals. Even though you can forget to eat, skipping meals will increase fatigue. Eat a nourishing lunch at mid-day and lighter meals at breakfast and dinner. Have a light diet of warm, soft foods, avoiding hard, raw, dry and indigestible foods.  As your digestion can be pretty sensitive, it is best not to overtax it with dry, difficult to digest food. 

• Sit down to eat each meal, eat in a peaceful atmosphere with your attention on your food, and sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal. If your digestion is irregular, practicing these eating habits will help make your digestion more regular.  This will help with gas, bloating and constipation which Vatas have a tendency towards. Vatas are sensitive to stress and we now know that stress affects the digestive system first and causes it to dry out – this causes constipation.

• Use mild spices such as fresh ginger, cumin, cardamom, fennel and coriander. These spices aid in the digestive process. 

• Increase sweet, sour and salty foods. These foods, in general balance Vata by calming the central nervous system and minimize pungent, bitter and astringent foods which are more catabolic in nature and can wear Vatas down.

• Daily elimination is very important to prevent digestive toxins from accumulating in the body. Triphala (a mixture of fruits) helps promote regularity as well as toning the digestive system.  Triphala is made up of three fruits and is most commonly purchased as a powder: Triphala has the following effects: 

  • Assists natural internal cleansing
  • Gently maintains regularity
  • Nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues
  • Supports healthy digestion and absorption
  • Natural antioxidant

Triphala is most commonly known for its use as a gentle bowel tonic, being helpful in digestion, and supporting regular bowel movements. The combination of the three fruits has a synergistic effect to bolster many other systems as well. In addition to the GI tract, Ayurveda uses triphala to support healthy respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive, and nervous systems. Triphala has also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. The three fruits involved in making triphala are also known for their individual effects:

  • Amalaki (Emblica officinalis): Has a cooling effect that manages pitta, supporting the natural functions of the liver and the immune system.
  • Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica): Is particularly good for kapha, supporting the respiratory system as well as kapha accumulations in all systems.
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula): Though having a heating nature, it is still good for all three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). Is known for its “scraping” effect, which removes toxins and helps maintain healthy levels of weight.

• To pamper dry skin, to promote circulation and to nourish and tone muscles and nerves, indulge in a soothing self-massage at least three times a weekbefore you shower. Use almond or sesame oil for your massage. If you like, you can add 3-4 drops of a pure essential oil such as lavender or sweet orange to 2 oz. of massage oil. Lavender is known as a nervine which means it calms the central nervous system. Two or three times a week, massage your scalp with warm oil, and let the oil stay for an hour or two before you shampoo as this is really calming to the central nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety. 

• Protect yourself from the cold and wind. Stay warm and toasty in cold weather by wearing several layers of clothing. Wear a cap and scarf when you go out to protect your ears and throat. Wear lip balm to prevent lips from getting dry and chafed.

• Walking is the ideal exercise for balancing Vata. Walk in the early morning, for about 20 minutes every day.

• You may have to woo sleep if Vata dosha is aggravated. It is important to get to bed early, so that you can get adequate rest each night. A cup of warm milk, with a pinch of nutmeg, can be helpful before bedtime.  Nutmeg is associated with a long list of health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, detox the body, boost skin health, strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation. Nutmeg is also believed to possess mild sedative properties that can help those who suffer from insomnia.

• Set aside about 30 minutes each day for meditation, to help calm the mind and enhance body- mind-spirit coordination.



Stewed Apples with Dates and Cinnamon
This comforting home-style dish is great for balancing Vata. This comforting home-style dish is great for balancing Vata as cooked fruit is easy to digest, cinnamon is a carminative, an agent that helps break up intestinal gas. Cardamom has been proven to reduce constipation and indigestion. Ginger root is a medicinal herb used primarily for the treatment of dyspepsia (discomfort after eating), this includes the symptoms of bloating, heartburn, gas, and nausea. Did you also know that Medjool dates are high in natural sugar as well as potassium to keep you invigorated with energy? Potassium in Medjool dates (by the way they contain more potassium than bananas) builds muscles tone, which Vatas tend to lack. Cooked fruit is easy to digest and helps keep the body clean.
Serves 2.

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 or 5 dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
  • 4 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and cut in half
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.  Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
2.  With a ladle, transfer about a third of the contents, including the liquid, to a blender or a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Blend or process until pureed. Stir the puree back into the pan.

Serve warm.


Enjoy delicious, healthy meals that are specifically designed for the metabolism of a Vata  with an Ayurveda Meal Plan from The Holistic Highway. Each plan features 5 delicious, healthy meals a week that are ideal for the Vata who is looking to eat the foods that are right for them. Enjoy foods that taste great, are right for you, and leave you energized, healthy and wanting more! 

Putting the right foods in your body is the number one factor in determining your health and energy levels. Want to eat delicious, healthy foods that are right for you all the time?  These budget-friendly meal plans include everything you need to eat the foods that are right for you every night of the week. No more "What's for dinner?" No more time consuming dinner prep or expensive take out. Just simple, easy to make dinners that are right for you. Learn more about a meal plans for Vata's below!

  • Shopping Lists Make It Easy
    Each weeks plans come with a corresponding shopping list so that you know exactly what, and how much, to buy each week. Simply buy the ingredients on the shopping list and you will have everything you need for 5 Vata dinners that week!

  • Adjustable For Every Dosha
    One of the challenges of eating the food that is right for you is that, as social creatures, we rarely eat alone, and therefore need to create meals that the whole family can enjoy. That's why each recipe comes with instructions on how to make easy tweaks to the recipe so that the meal is right for each dosha at your dinner table. A little dash of this herb for a Pitta, a splash of oil for a Vata... you get the idea. One recipe with basic dinner plate tweaks allows you to prepare custom meals for the whole family with just one recipe!

  • Dinners for 1, 2, 4 and more!
    Each recipe is designed as a meal for 2. Eating alone? Simply cut the amount of ingredients in half. Feeding a family of four? Double up. Simple, easy and adjustable. 

  • 30 Minutes Or Less
    We understand that eating right isn't easy, and that we all live very busy lives. That's why each meal has been carefully crafted to take about 30 minutes or less to cook. Some may be a little longer, but they are worth it. we promise. 

Start Cooking Meals That Are Ideal For Your Today!

Looking to get back on the road to great health? Fill out the intake form below so we can learn more about you and your health challenges and goals. Then schedule a complimentary consultation with with Kerry Harling, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Integrative Medicine, TED speaker and the founder of The Holistic Highway. What's the catch? Nothing. No selling, no pressure, just a conversation with an Ayurvedic Practitioner for your own benefit. What have you got to lose?