Vata Dosha in Ayurveda




Vata is governing manifestation and principle force, which is responsible for movement, communication, transportation, respiration, circulation, elimination and thinking. Vata is one of the three body humors (Dosha). Ayurveda has divided manifestations and effects into three categories. Vata is governing manifestation and principle force among three humors (Tridosha – Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Vata means air or wind. It consists of ether and air elements.

Vata Constitution

Vata Constitution AAKASH (Ether) + VAYU (Air/Gases) Elements

Ether is the highest element before air. It is very subtle element and also called AKASHA and SPACE.  Air is second element after ether. It evolves from the AKASHA (ether). It is also called VAYU.

Vata is a combination of these two elements. Vata is also subtle, so its presence can only be felt or proved by its actions in the body.

Vata Dosha Qualities

Ayurveda has described the qualities of Vata.

Sanskrit Name English Meaning
SHEETA * Cold *
SUKSHNA Subtle or Fineness or Minute
CHALA Moving or Mobile
VISHADA Clear (flowing and clear)
KHARA Rough or Coarse

* However, Vata is considered as SHEETA (Cold), but Vata also acts as YOGAVAHI. It means when it associates with hot substance, it projects USHNA (hot) quality and when it is associated with cold substance, it projects SHEETA (cold) quality. However, Vata does never lose its intrinsic properties, but it can also project properties of other substance associated with it.

It produces feeling of warmness or hotness when it becomes associated with Pitta. Same way, it results in feeling of coldness when it is associated with Kapha.

Pitta and Kapha cannot work without Vata, but Vata can work without Pitta and Kapha. This is independent nature of Vata.  Vata has independent actions and functions, but Pitta and Kapha depend on Vata for their functions because they cannot move or acts without Vata. It plays vital role in transportation and communication.

KASAYA (Astringent) taste is slightly present in VATA.

Things or food having similar properties aggravate the VATA and the opposite characteristics pacify the VATA.

Vata Functions

In short, Vata is responsible for all functions of nervous system. It has following major functions:

  1. Senses
  2. Communication
  3. Conductivity
  4. Impulsivity
  5. Permeability
  6. Sensitivity
  7. Transportation
  8. Circulation
  9. Elimination
  10. Movement
  11. Respiration
  12. Thought
  13. Produces Roughness
  14. Produces Lightness

Vata controls communication, movement and transportation in the living cells. It determines the movement of molecules in cellular structures. It also controls the movement of the body. Vata plays a role in nerve impulses from the brain to other parts of the body and from organs to the brain.

Cellular division is not possible without VATA. It is essential for cellular organization and formation of tissues. It brings Kapha molecules and cells together to conjugate them into tissues. Therefore, Vata has more important role in the body.

  • Embryo shape is due to Vata action
  • Vata plays a role in formation and determining the shape of embryo.
  • It produces dryness in the body.
  • It causes catabolism in the body by inducing activities and movement.
  • It also controls the metabolic processes in the body by determining the speed of action and controlling Pitta.
  • Vata is a main factor that is responsible determining the all processes in the life from development and formation of embryo to destruction of the life.
  • All functions of nervous system including brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves are due to Vata. It plays a role in stimulation of impulses in the nervous system.
  • All functions of sense organs are due to Vata.

Main Vata Locations

Vata is present in whole body and in every living cell. Ayurveda has specified some main locations where actions and manifestations of Vata appear normally in the human body. All parts below the navel are considered Vata area. These organs are:

  • Pelvic Colon
  • Bladder
  • Pelvis
  • Kidneys
  • Bones
  • Ears
  • Skin
  • Lower Limbs – Legs & Feet

Vata Subtypes

Vata has five subtypes:



In Yoga, PRANA represents life force and vital energy. In ayurveda, it is the basic functional unit of mind, intellect, conscience, nervous system (nerve cells), sense organs, motor organs, and respiration.

PRANA VAYU Locations

  • Brain
  • Chest including heart and lungs
  • Throat
  • Tongue
  • Mouth
  • Nose

There are different views on PRANA VAYU locations, but it is working in whole body from the cellular levels. Its observable actions appear in between the head and navel (umbilicus). According to ancient scholars, there are three main MARMA SASTHANA (very sensitive points for sustaining the life) and these three are main locations of PRANA VAYU. These are:

  1. Head
  2. Heart
  3. Area of Navel and area around it

According to Sharangdhar Samhita, heart is the main location of PRANA VAYU because it is responsible for natural functions of heart. According to Sushruta, vata circulating and working in the mouth is PRANA VAYU.

Normal functions of PRANA VAYU

  • Breathing
  • Swallowing food
  • Spitting
  • Sneezing
  • Belching or Burp
  • Five Senses
  • Function of nerves
  • Cough and expelling out the sputum

It also stimulates the action of AGNI (digestive fire and metabolic activities) from the brain (control of nervous system on appetite and metabolism). It controls and supports heart functions.

Diseases due to its aggravation

  1. Asthma
  2. Bronchitis
  3. Common Cold
  4. Hiccups
  5. Hoarseness of voice

Generally, all respiratory diseases are due to aggravation of PRANA VAYU.


UDANA VAYU is responsible for controlling speech. It supports the functions of diaphragm, chest, lungs, pharynx, and nose. UDANA means which moves and works in the upper parts of the body. The main function of it is to produce voice, which helps one to talk and sing.


  • Diaphragm
  • Chest
  • Lungs
  • Pharynx
  • Nose

According to Charaka Samhita, UDANA VAYU is mainly located in following three areas:

  1. In and around Navel (umbilicus)
  2. Chest
  3. Throat

According to Vagbhata, it is located in following areas:

  1. Throat
  2. In and around Navel (umbilicus)
  3. Nose

Note: Chest is site of both PRANA & UDANA VAYU. The difference is that PRANA is circulating in this area and UDANA resides here.

Normal function

According to Charak Samhita, UDANA VAYU is responsible for following functions in the body:

  1. Speech – produces voice and words
  2. Efforts – makes person capable to do efforts
  3. Enthusiasm – makes person enthusiastic for doing tasks
  4. Strength – preserve strength of the body by eliminating gaseous waste products during expiration
  5. Complexion – maintain color and complexion

According to other ancient Maharishis, UDANA VAYU also is also responsible for following things and functions:

  • Satisfaction
  • Memory
  • Determination
  • Recitation
  • Thinking

UDANA VAYU is also responsible for functions of diaphragm in respiration. It causes contractions and relaxation of diaphragm and intercostal muscles.

Diseases due to UDANA aggravation

Aggravation of UDANA can results in diseases of upper parts of the body, which includes nose, throat, eye, ear etc. Along with PRANA VAYU, it is also responsible for diseases like cough, hiccup and breathing troubles.


SAMANA VAYU resides in channels of alimentary canal from the stomach to colon. It controls peristalsis of alimentary tract especially intestine and stomach. It helps moving the food in the canal.


  1. Stomach
  2. Small intestines

According to Charaka, SAMANA VAYU resides in the channels of sweat, Dosha, and fluids in the body. It is also present in stomach and intestines where it maintains the functions of PACHAKA PITTA.

Normal function

  1. SAMANA VAYU is responsible for mechanical breakdown of the food, which assists digestive juice/enzymes (PACHAKA PITTA) to process further.
  2. It differentiates the useful part and waste part of the food and assists in the absorption of nutritious parts of the food and elimination of the fecal matter.

Diseases due to its aggravation

  • Its aggravation can alter digestion and can cause defective assimilation.
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion


According to Charaka, VYANA VAYU is present is whole body. All movements in the body are due to it. It causes flexion and extension, contraction and relaxation, opening and closing of eyelids etc. It is functional unit of autonomic centers, motor centers, sensory nerves, motor nerves, reflex arcs, etc. It mainly controls permeability of capillaries, circulation and perspiration.


  1. Whole body
  2. Mainly Heart

Normal function

VYANA VAYU controls all voluntary and involuntary movements of the body. It is responsible for reflex actions and transmission of nerve impulses. It controls heart rhythm. It is also involved in autonomic nervous system, which induces sweat secretion. It helps in the functioning of circulating channels and blood vessels.

Diseases due to its aggravation

  1. Fever
  2. Circulatory diseases


APANA VAYU controls lumbosacral plexus. It plays role in elimination or excretion.


  1. Pelvis
  2. Bladder
  3. Uterus
  4. Thighs
  5. Testes
  6. Abdominal muscles
  7. Pelvic colon
  8. Normal function

Normal Functions

  • Defecation
  • Micturation (Urination)
  • Expulsion of menstrual discharge
  • Expulsion of ovum from the ovaries
  • Delivery of the fetus

Diseases due to its aggravation

Aggravation of APANA VAYU can result in constipation and diseases of bladder, uterus, testicles, etc.

Vata Dominance & Body

AGNI (Type of Digestive Fire) VISHAMA – Irregular (represents irregular appetite)
KOSHTA (Nature  of alimentary tract & motility of intestines) KRURA (Hard)
PRAKRITI (Body Type) HEENA (Poor)

Vata Pacification & Aggravation by RASA (Taste)

Vata Pacifier Vata Aggravators
MADHURA (Sweet) KATU (Pungent)
LAVANA (Salty) TIKTA (Bitter)
AMAL (Sour) KASAYA (Astringent)

Vata Cycle

Relation to Food Digestion After complete digestion of the food (around 2 to 3 hours after food)
Relation to Eating Food MADHYA – When you are eating food
Relation to Age Group Old Age
Relation to Day Evening – around 2 PM to 6 PM
Relation to Night Late Night – around 2 AM to 6 AM

Taking Medicines according to Vata Cycle

This principle is applied when one has generalized Vata disorder and Vata symptoms appear in whole body.

  1. Naturally, Vata is dominant in above time period, as discussed above in table.
  2. VATA pacifying medicines should be given 2 to 3 hours after food i.e. when one has digested the food. It applies when one suffers from abdominal disorders with Vata dominance.
  3. VATA pacifying medicines can also be taken in evening or in late night in respect of time. It applies when you suffer from neurological disorders, generalized body pains and arthritis.

Vata & Seasons

Accumulation of Vata (VATA CHAYA) Summers (GRISHMA)
Excess Vitiation of Vata (VATA PRAKOPA) Rainy Season (VARSHA)
Allaying the increased Vata (VATA PRASHAMA) Autumn (SHARAD)


The strength of the body is decreased in summers and digestive power also becomes low. You lose body water because of sweating. In nature, there is presence of foods having dry (RUKSHA) and light (LAGHU) quality during summers. It results in accumulation of Vata in the body. However, Vata does not aggravate, but it gets accumulated in suppressed form because of heat in summers. It is called VATA CHAYA.

Rainy Season

In rainy season, body strength and digestive fire continue to be low, but temperature changes from hot to cold, which cause aggravation of suppressed Vata. This stage is called VATA PRAKOPA.


In autumn, land is wet and heat in the environment results allaying the Vata. This stage is called VATA PRASHAMA.

Vata Imbalance & Its Symptoms

Vata in a balanced stage represents good health. Increase or decrease in Vata represents diseased stage. Decrease or increase in Vata is called Vata imbalance. Both have different Vata imbalance symptoms.

Decreased Vata Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms and manifestations indicate decreased Vata:

  1. Desire to eat food having pungent, bitter and astringent taste. Food having intrinsic qualities like dry, rough, and light are more preferable.
  2. Diminished sensations
  3. Dissatisfaction
  4. Drowsiness
  5. Feeling of exhaustion
  6. Laziness
  7. Sluggish movement
  8. Sluggish speech
  9. Weak digestive power

Generally, decreased Vata symptoms are relative to increased Kapha in the body. Therefore, following symptoms are also observable:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Nausea
  • Anorexia

Increased Vata Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms and manifestations indicate increased Vata:

  1. Desire to eat food having hot potency and sweet taste.
  2. Weakness
  3. Weight loss
  4. Darkening of the skin
  5. Feeling of strength loss
  6. Constipation, hard and dry stool
  7. Bloating
  8. Sleeplessness
  9. Feeling sensations of twitching
  10. Giddiness
  11. Irrelevant talk

Aggravated Vata Symptoms & Clinical Manifestations

  1. Astringent taste in mouth
  2. Blackish discoloration of the skin
  3. Colicky pain
  4. Dry and cracked skin
  5. Excessive thirst
  6. Feeling of exhaustion
  7. Loss of sensation
  8. Marasmus
  9. Pricking pain
  10. Splitting pain
  11. Tremors

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