View Full Version : Air head - vāta doṣa

11 October 2015, 03:08 PM
hariḥ oṁ

Within āyurveda¹ there is one affliction that called vāta doṣa : that blemish (doṣa) that is grounded (niṣṭha) is wind/air ( vāyu) based.

When we think of the wind, it moves from here to there, it is always on the move; sometimes quick, other times not. Sometimes
from the north, then south, then north east, etc. etc. Like that the mind that has this blemish takes on this quality of substantial movement,
fleeting, it barely alights on to something and it is off again on to another thought, feeling, observation, only to remain there momentarily.

For some they have taken this a ~normal~ , ‘ oh, that is just how I operate’. For many this blemish can cause spaciness, excessive thoughts
to the point of feeling on edge or ungrounded. If not addressed then one may find increased instability, feeling on edge , some would call
this high-strung. A vāta ‘trade mark’ is quick to remember and quick to forget ( compared to kapha people who are slow to remember and slow to forget).
So, this quickness is also exacerbated with excess vāta. The mind quickly grasps an idea and then just a fast it is forgotten and a re-learning needs to occur, or
for some it is just passed up and forgotten all together.

The āyurvedic vaidya ( doctor or expert) will know of the proper upakarma or upakāra-s ( treatments, ‘doing good’) for this…
What we can do ourselves is to get the right balance of foods and the 6 tastes¹ within our diet. There are also things we can add to our diet:

vāta cūrṇa (some write churna) – a blend of powered spices used on food that balance vāta.
vāca rasāyana-s ( some write vacha rāsayana) - vāca is a species of plant; in this case as a rasāyana it is many plants ( and ghee) that is ‘the best or finest or prime part of anything’ which is the term for rāsa. Yet rāsa also means ‘6’ as in 6 tastes, it too is defined as taste or flavor, or essential part.
sāmana (pacifying or quieting) vāta - this can be done by one’s actions, and also by intake. Here is a list of the blended ingredients found together in this type of product ( from Banyan Botanical web site ):

Ashwagandha root
Shatavari root
Vidari Kanda root
Brahmi leaf
Guduchi stem
Kapikacchu seed
Cardamom seed
Pippali fruit

What is key is the quality of the ingredients no doubt, but the ability to blend these ingredients successfully and according to the āyurvedic
methods offered in the caraka-saṃhitā and suśruta-samhitā.

Why do I mention this ? There is no doubt this can affect one’s sādhana, the ability to sit quietly, not to be pulled here-or-there; things
like this are viloma ( opposite) to what one wishes to accomplish.

Also , and just a side note when mentioning ‘intake’ of that which can be consumed, this consumption is not only what occurs
via the mouth and food-stuffs, but that too which is consumed via the other senses of seeing, hearing , touching and the like.
A simple example would be loud staccato-like noises that aggregate vāta, or excessive cold, irregular routines vs. a balanced schedule of events,
excessive exercise etc. All of this can be researched, there is plenty on the web regarding this knowledge.

iti śivaṁ


āyus –vital power , vigor , health , duration of life , long life

niṣṭha - being in or on , situated on , grounded or resting on
doṣa – fault, deficiency
vā = wind , air
6 tastes or rāsa-s = madhura - sweet , amla -sour, lavaṇa -salty, kaṭuka - pungent, tikta - bitter ,and kaṣāya - astringent

12 October 2015, 03:50 PM
hariḥ oṁ

Note the following combinations that makes up a human’s constitution ( called prakṛti¹)
and the elements ( tattva-s , officially called mahābhūta-s)

vāta = vāyu + ākāśa or wind/gas + pure open space or vacuity
pitta = tejas + jala¹ or fire/combustion/heat + water or fluid
kapha = jala +pṛthvī or water + earth

Now, a basic principle of āyurveda is ‘like increases like’; this means if I add more of the same quality it increases the intensity or amount of the overall
constitution in question.
Example with vāta. If I subject myself to more vāyu producting elements , then vāta in my system is increased. If it
is overdone it is aggravated and hence a blemish (doṣa) is established or ground in.
So, let’s say I am predominantly vāta constitution. I go outside in and it is excessively windy and cold. That increases vāyu and hence vāta increases.
I sit in front of an air conditioner , that increases vāta. Vāta becomes aggravated and one’s constitutional balance is off. This is just a gross example, but
there are many more. The same holds true with the other prakṛti components of pitta and/or kapha.

Yet no one is 100% one constitution as we are made up of the 3 aformentioned. The āyurvedic vaidya ( doctor) may say you are ‘primarily’
one or the other of the 3 humours¹ ( a western name)- Many are both and would get an evaluation such as being vāta primary and pitta secondary. Like that, i.e. pitta-kapha.

The goal of āyurveda is to keep all 3 working harmoniously and to their optimal capacity. The āyurvedic approach is to treat the person as a whole, avoid the 'parts' mentality
of treating jsut the dis-ease. You solve the disease in one place but bring off-balnced issues to other areas ( you hear as side-affects)

iti śivaṁ


prakṛti - nature , character , constitution , temper , disposition; prakṛtyā is then by nature , naturally , unalterably.
āpa is sometimes used meaning a quantity of water ( jala).
humours – in the west there are 4 called out; For me , I think they almost got it right ( again my opinion) – see the graph below on the 4.


12 October 2015, 07:26 PM
hariḥ oṁ

I wrote,

A simple example would be loud staccato-like noises that aggregate vāta,
For me this is quite insightful… within the kaśmir śaivism view of Reality there are 36 elements or tattva-s ( the sāṃkhya¹ system counts 25);

We know that there are the mahābhūta-s or ~great elements~ , tattva-s if you will, and they are called space, air, fire, water and earth. This is a ‘western’ view ;
the 5 or pāñcabhautika-s are ākāśa, vāyu, tejas ( some call agni), jala and pṛthvī , in that order.
Well here is the insight ? The mahābhūta-s ( just mentioned) come about from the addition of the 5 tanmātra-s. And what are these 5 tanmātra-s ?
They’re sound, touch, form or seeing, taste and smell. So, let’s look at it formulaicly.

sound brings ākāśa ( space) or is the essence (guṇa) of ākāśa in the order of tattva-s and manifestation
sound + touch = vāyu ( wind/gas)
sound + touch + seeing = tejas ( fire or agni)
sound + touch + seeing + taste = jala ( or water/fluid)
sound + + touch + seeing + taste + smell = pṛthvī ( earth or solidity)

There are a great many observations one can make from this as I see it. Let me keep to the subject first, then we can expand to a larger view
if there is interest shown by the reader.

Notice the relationship of sound with vāyu ? And if you recall the āyurvedic principle of ‘like increases like’ ; if I increase the amount of sound in excess, I will get excess vāta in the (human) system. Why? Based upon this formula mentioned in the last post: that sound is within ākāśa and is part of the ingredients of vāyu and is part of the ingredients that make up vāta:
vāta = vāyu + ākāśa or wind/gas + pure open space or vacuity

The brilliance of this approach is worth applauding. The insight by caraka-ji¹ and others on just how we work ( the manual for humans) is most beneficial and worth one’s time and effort even to get a lay-man’s view or practical understanding of its workings.

Within āyurveda there are 108 patterns formed by the various permutations of vāta, pitta and kapha ( the prakṛti components mentioned). This then tells us these 3
principles change and flow, they have a rhythm or impulses. They are not hard and fast, but ebb and flow. This is so as how they respond to the surroundings, food-stuffs,
mental calmness or agitation, etc. of the native and his environmental stimulus.

To be excellent within this field of knowledge requires a masterful hold on the knowledge and intuition. It’s written:
The vaidya (physician) should enter the heart of the patient with the light of perception ( intuition) and knowledge of
āyurveda in order to diagnose the dis-ease; only then is a cure possible.
The term heart hṛ́daya has multiple meanings e.g. essence, awareness, the seat of feelings and sensations, and obviously the physical pumping heart.

This āyurvedic approach in my opinion is beyond the western view of medicine. How so ? The vaidya is there to make conditions more favorable, to re-establish equilibrium in the system i.e.
the human constitution. He or she is not the motivating cause for one’s ~ cure~. The ~cure~ is done by the intelligence of nature, of those creative ( intelligent) impulses within us and nature. Nature wants balance – it is the vaidya’s intent to assist and set the conditions for this to occur. That means we to must participate in our selections of food, activities and routines.

Some other āyurvedic principles worth mentioning:

like increases like ( as mentioned)
everything in the external universe has an internal component within our body ; my teacher would say , as above so below.
food is medicine, medicine is food ; (side note: who and how the cook prepares the food influences the food’s influence)
dis-ease = disharmony within the 3 principles or prakṛti components
what ever affects the body affects the mind and vice versa
harmony is possible because of rhythm; rhythm is possible via routine, therefore:

the seasons work with and influence the human constitution – Seasons also suggest not just what occurs over several months, but
what can occur over a day & night as the sun rises and sets; and over the ‘season’ of age.

iti śivaṁ


sāṃkhya some spell sāṅkaya – the word sāṃkhyā actually means counting, relating to a number. So the school sāṃkhya is that which enumerates the number of tattva-s that define all of reality.
caraka – some spell Charaka the muni and physician/vaidya. It is said śeṣa received this āyurvedic knowledge after visiting earth and finding it full of sickness. He became moved with pity and determined to become incarnate as the son of a muni for alleviating disease ; he was called caraka because he had visited the earth as a kind of spy or cara (secret emissary or agent) ; he then composed a new book on medicine , based on older works of agni-veśa and other pupils of ātreya.

​It is not well known that patañjali’ , author of aṣṭāṅga yoga found in his yogadarśana is also called śeṣa-patañjali and wrote on āyurveda. I am told he is one and the same as caraka.

13 October 2015, 01:25 PM
hariḥ oṁ

The 10 pairs (paṅkti-dviśas) , or 20 guṇa-s

There are 20 attributes (subdivisions , species , kind, ~qualities) that are used in āyurveda; In the nyāya¹ school of thought 24 are found yet applied a bit differently. I mention this to just compare-and-contrast, not to suggest one view or list is better than another.

These 20 guṇa-s will increase or decrease the various prakṛtyā (natures) of vāta, pitta and kapha¹ of the human constitution. These guṇa-s can be found in our environment ( cold, hot, wet, etc) or in the foods we consume ( ice water, pungent foods, dry potato chips) and these influence the flow and balance of vāta, pitta and kapha within us. Some aggregative a condition , some support and nourish, and some will leave the constitution¹ in a balanced condition.

Let’s list the 20 out in pairs , taking a few posts to complete the task

guru or heavy – decreases vāta and pitta ; increases kapha

laghu or light/slight/minimal - increases vāta and pita ( and agni!) ; decreases kapha

So, let’s say a vāta person has a substantial meal – this means guru or ~heavy~; that in itself decreases vāta within the system.
Why so ? Because the qualities of a vāta person is: dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile or moving, clear, and dispersing (going in different directions i.e. doing many things – the ‘poster child’ for kalā śarīra – embodiment of doing). Now this ‘guru’ meal I am suggesting is not one of junk food but a nutritious , whole meal. Would it make sense to have ice cream as the dessert ? For the vāta person cold is one of its natures, so adding more cold to the system does not support or balance the vāta constitution. Yet it ( ice cream) would be fine for the pitta person. Why so?
Because of the qualities of pitta constitution: hot, oily, penetrating ( as in the intellect), light, mobile, liquid and sour. So ice cream being cold and a bit heavy would complement the pita’s hot and light qualities. Especially in the summer season which expresses pitta of hot to an extreme ( in the 100º zones); So ice cream would cool the system down;

And what of kapha? a heavy meal and ice cream would not complement the kapha constitution. Why so ? Due to the attributes of kapha: heavy, slow, cold, oily, slimy, dense, soft and static ( static meaning more comfortable resting than being greatly active – opposite of vāta’s ‘dispersing; quality. So the heave meal and ice cream is not the best fit.

Yet does this suggest people should not have ice cream ever? Nope. In the summer months pitta is on the rise in the environment and in our bodies. So, a person can have ice cream in moderation. If one over-indulges then there is a blemish (doṣa); when this is done in excess then ama gains a foothold. Ama = dis-ease. The absence of ease. Ease comes with harmony and balance. The absence of ease is the body over-trying to balance itself when conditions are made that thows off that ease. This dis-ease can be physical, mental or emotional.

So , one must stop and ask what then does the prakṛtyā (natures) of vāta, pitta and kapha bring if I only get grief when they are excessively out of balance ?

vāta – air + space gives us movement; this infers breathing ( air and movement within the lungs); all biological movement like the transformation of tissues, secretions, excretion, natural urges ( the movement of desires); Yet too due to space there can be emptiness and the notion of anxiousness which in fact can bring fear ( which is also an alarm system e.g. here comes a bear, run!). All listening is grounded in air + space, hence vāta is the guna of hearing. These are a few, there are more.

pitta – fire + water (fluids) gives us heat-energy in the body. No pitta , then there is no digestion. This fire + water can be seen as gastric juices (fluids) + chemical processes (fire) for digestion. Pitta gives us the ability to take in nutrition as it digests (assimilates) food and therefore is responsible for our metabolism. Think of pitta ~like~ agni – the fire of digestion. This agni is very important as it is found in every step of transformation within our system e.g. blood, bones, reproductive activities, muscle tissue, plasma – these are named the 7 dhātu-s¹. A key quality of pitta is comprehension ( the fire principle within the intellect) and intellectual horsepower. Yet when too much fire is there, then anger , hate, and jealousy can arise.

kapha – water + earth gives us the ability for physical structure. It brings together or cements (water+earth) for lack of a better term, the elements to provide this structure. And the water/fluid quality allows for flexibility .Think of your knee, elbow, hip joint. There is structure and flexibility at the same time. This then gives us stability – both physically and emotionally. Due to this holding principle ( water+earth = a sort of paste) can bring the quality of hording, greed, attachment. Yet the human qualities of forgiveness and generosity is also anchored in kapha.

Car example
If we think of a car (auto) the engine is pitta , the energy producer; vāta is the transmission ( motion, movement) and kapha is the ~ body~ or physical structures within the auto.
This kapha is also the lubricants found throughout. This ‘body’ quality no doubt provides strength and stability , but not rigidity due to the water quality. So it is structure with flexibility.

We will continue the paṅktidaśā ( 10 pairs) in the next post.

iti śivaṁ


The nyāya view or school lists out twenty-four guṇa-s:1. rūpa , shape or , color ; 2. rasa , taste some save savor ; 3. gandha , odor/smell ; 4. sparśa , tangibility/touch ; 5. saṃkhyā , number ; 6. parimāṇa , dimension or size ; 7. pṛthaktva , severalty ; 8. saṃyoga , conjunction ; 9. vibhāga , disjunction ; 10. paratva , remoteness ; 11. aparatva , proximity ; 12. gurutva , weight ; 13. dravatva , fluidity ; 14.sneha , viscidity ; 15. śabda , sound ; 16. buddhi or jñāna , understanding or knowledge ; 17. sukha , pleasure ; 18. duḥkha , pain ; 19. icchā , will ; 20. dveṣa , aversion ; 21. prayatna , effort ; 22. dharma , virtue ; 23. adharma , demerit ; 24. saṃskāra , impressions of the past therefore the self-reproductive quality
paṅkti-dviśas – drawn by 2 (dviśas) + paṅkti = 10 -or- paṅktidaśā ( 10 pairs)
constitution - sometimes these 3 qualities are called tridoṣa which is incorrect; doṣa is a blemish, so tri = 3 + doṣa = blemish – this would be the 3 ‘blemishes’ and that is not what one is talking about when mentioning the nature (prakṛtyā) of one’s constitutiuon; as we define prakṛti as fundamental form , pattern , standard , model , temperament , the predominance of one’s makeup or ‘inventory’.
dhātu-s – the 7 are: plasma found in the blood, red blood cells, muscle tissue, meda or adipose tissue ( fat) , bone tissue found in teeth and nails, bone marrow and nerve tissue, and last is the finest fluid made by the body , semen or śaukra.

14 October 2015, 12:34 PM
hariḥ oṁ

Continuing with the 10 couplets (paṅkti-dviśas)

manda is dull, blunt, slow , tardy , moving slowly or softly , loitering , idle , lazy , sluggish. Manda decreases vāta and pitta and increases kapha.
tīkṣṇá is sharp, hot , pungent , fiery , acidic, harsh , rough , rude. Tīkṣṇá increases vāta and pitta, while reducing kapha.

Manda can produce/influence or encourage relaxation which is favorable for the hyper-vāta and very favorable for sharp-witted pitta.
Yet this slowness only increases slower actions in kapha and can cause dullness. Kapha people have to be on-guard for this over-resting,
excessive relaxation or excessive sleep ; it brings dullness to the system and also promotes over-weight.
Tīkṣṇá brings sharp intellect and comprehension; yet in excess brings too much bile (acidic) and one gets ulcers over time. This
pungent factor is unfavorable for pitta but fine for kapha. Pitta ‘runs hot’ to begin with; one needs down play the pungent spices.

hima is cold, cool, frost, the winter season. Hima increases vāta and kapha; it reduces pitta
uṣṇá is hot, heat , warmth , the hot season ( summer). Uṣṇá increases pitta and agni; it reduces vāta and kapha.

Hima can cool the pitta person and refresh the individual especially in the uṣṇá (hot) summer season.
Yet for the vāta and kapha person in the hima season ( winter) this only aggravates their constitution.
It can cause numbness, contraction of the muscles due to poor blood flow sluggishness; it too can increase fear and
Uṣṇá improves digestion for vāta and kapha people as agni is kindled ( increases). Uṣṇá and vāta is a good combination.
Let’s say the vāta person would revel in a warm-to-hot whirl pool. Vāta types are more aligned to spicier foods as
it brings warmth to the system. Yet if over-done it crosses the line and tīkṣṇá is raised. Pitta as mentions ‘runs hot’
so excessive heat is not advisable. This includes alcohol as it produces hot ( even with ice cubes and in it). Even the
condiment pepper adds to this natural heat is to be limited, like many spicy, pungent herbs and vegetables like hot peppers
radishes, tomato’s ( acidic), onions and garlic. Yet cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, fennel and various rasāyana-s will favor
the pitta constitution.

iti śivaṁ

14 October 2015, 07:12 PM
hariḥ oṁ


The principle of food is medicine, medicine is food

Cyavāna (some spell chyavāna ) was the son of bhṛgu-muni, one of the 7 great sages (saptarṣi-s¹).
Cyavāna is mentioned in the mahābhārata (ādi parvan section 5); In this section it tells how he got his name.
Within his mother’s womb he became outraged as his mother ( named pulomā¹ ) was being carried away ( stolen no less) by a rākṣasa.
He then that fell, slide out of due to his outrage. Hence his name cyavāna which is rooted in ‘cyu’ to fall away, to fall from, to slide down.

So, as the story goes cyavāna-ji became aged and feeble over time. To his rescue come the aśvin-s as they are considered rājyā-vaidya’s (the royal or princely physicians)
and masters no less of āyurveda. They in turn present him with the proper ‘food’ (prāśa) to restore his youth. With this we end up with a rasāyana called
cyavāna-prāśa i.e. the food (prāśa) given to cyavāna.

This rasāyana is available today… You will see it spelled more often in today’s verbiage as chyawanprash ( some too may spell it chyavanaprasha).
So what is in it ? Here is the ingredients – and there is specific proportions per the āyurvedic texts which you can look up. (fyi - I am a user of this rasāyana).

malaki (Emblica officinalis)
Bilva (Aegle marmelos)
Agnimantha (Premna integrifolia)
Shyonak (Oroxylum indicum)
Gambhari (Gmelina arborea)
Patala (Stereospermum suaveolens)
Bala (Sida cordifolia)
Shalaparni (Desmodium gangeticum)
Prishniparni (Phaseolus trilobus
Pippali (Piper longum)
Mashaparni (Teramnus labialis)
Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)
Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum)
Brihati (Solanum indicum)
Karkata shringi (Pistacia integerrima)
Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri)
Draksha (Vitis vinifera)
Jiwanti (Leptadenia reticulata)
Pushkar mool (Imula recemosa)
Agaru (Aquilaria agallocha)
Hareetaki (Terminalia chebula)
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
Riddhi (Habenaria intermedia)
Shati (Hedychium spicatum)
Jiwaka (Microstylis muscifera)
Rishabhaka (Microstylis wallichi)
Mustaka (Cyperus rotundus)
Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa)
Meda (Polygonatum cirrihifolium)
Ela (Elettaria cardamomum)
Chandan (Santalum album)
Neelotpala (Nymphaea stellata)
Vidarikanda (Ipomea digitata)
Vasaka mool (Adhatoda vasica)
Kakoli (Lilium poilyphyleum)
Kaknasika (Martynia diandra)
Ghrit (Clarified butter)
Til tail (Sesame oil)
Mishree (Crystal sugar )
Vanshalochan (Bambusa arundinacea)
Pippali (Piper longum)
Twak (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Ela (Elettaria cardamomum)
Tejpatra (Cinnamomum tamala)
Nagakeshar (Mesua ferrea)
Madhu (Honey)

iti śivaṁ


saptarṣi is in dvigu format ; some call samāsa format - being brief but whole at the same time. Dvigu = a tatpuruṣa compound in which the 1st
member is a numeral i.e. sapta= 7 + rṣi = ṛṣi = a seer
pulomā - daughter of the demon vaiśvānara ; loved by the demon puloman , but became the wife of bhṛgu
aśvins - the two charioteers ; they bring treasures to men and avert misfortune and sickness ; they are considered the physicians of heaven; They also have the name nāsatyau which = nāsatya = kind, helpful, friendly
46 ingredients : 4 + 6 = 10 = wholeness. Returning the native to full health.
rig ved 7.68.11-12
उत तयद वां जुरते अश्विना भूच्च्यवानाय परतीत्यं हविर्दे |
अधि यद वर्प इतूति धत्थः ||
uta tyad vāṃ jurate aśvinā bhūccyavānāya pratītyaṃ havirde |
adhi yad varpa itaūti dhatthaḥ ||

that gift, which all may gain, you (aśvin-s) gave cyavāna, when he grew old, who offered you oblations |
when you bestowed on him enduring beauty ||

15 October 2015, 05:58 PM
hariḥ oṁ


Let's hold on the paṅktidaśā ( 10 pairs) for a moment.
The first thing I usually hear from people that are first introduced to this system is, ‘boy there sure are a lot of moving parts, it seems complicated’ and
or ‘ is there any one thing that is good for all constitutions or body types? ‘
It seems complicated at first, some use the term clunky, but once it is understood it is really about choices and understanding what can be favorable or unfavorable to one’s consumption.
And regarding foods, herbs, spices that are favorable to all body types, yes there is. Ghee seems to be one thing that crosses all body types. Again not in excess for the kapha person, but many
foods and rasāyana-s are prepared with ghee. Another is triphala which means 3 fruits. It is a herbal mixture that all body types can take which brings balance to the system.

The next post will offer the other paṅktidaśā quality of oily (snigdha) and is soft gentle, smooth, slippery, unctuous , glossy, etc. I mention this now as that gives me the opportunity to see where there is commonality between the 3 conditional qualities of vāta, pitta and kapha. I think it helps when we can see some intersecting points.

vāta and pitta share the quality of lightness (laghu – reviewed in the last post)
vāta and kapha share the quality of cold (hima)
Pitta and kapha share the quality of oily or snigdha just mentioned above.

And last, just to get a handle on these 3 constitutional qualities or prakṛtyā (natures) of vāta, pitta and kapha in āyurveda its told these 3 have various ‘seats’ within the body:

vāta is seated in the large intestine, skin, ears, pelvic activity, and bones. It should be somewhat obvious why these are the main areas but may take a little thinking to figure it out; all the posts above will support this thinking.
pitta is seated in the stomach, small intestine, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes, and some say skin, sharing the seat with vāta as heat is required for our skin.
kapha is found in the joints , skin ( once again, it moisturizes and provides elasticity), chest, head, lungs, heart, mouth, sinuses and therefore the nose, plasma, and the immune system.

It is quite a thing what this body does for us; all the moving and cooperating parts to form a ‘whole’ body.

How do you know your constitution ? This site seems straight forward: http://www.naturesformulary.com/contents/dosha-test#results
Don’t forget to hit the ‘calculate’ button to see the results.
Also this site asks good questions regarding one’s constitution ( crisp and to the point) : http://www.eattasteheal.com/ETH_dosha.htm

iti śivaṁ