Originally published in Yoga Journal on June 9, 2017.
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The Vata dosha comprised of air and ether energy. It’s light, free-flowing, spacey, and sometimes forgetful. Vatas are known to be multi-passionate, frequently starting more projects than they can finish. They’re flexible and dynamic, which others can sometimes see as flakey and unpredictable. They are the most creative of the doshas and the true visionaries of society. The hardest part for them is knowing which vision to stick to.
When Vatas are in balance, they are creative, idealistic, and artistic. When Vatas fall out of balance, they become anxious, fearful, and unable to sleep. If you’re a Vata, you will likely relate to some of the following situations. I know all too well, as a Vata myself. (Take our Dosha Quiz now to discover your own mind-body type.)
- You change your life’s purpose more often than you wash your yoga mat.
Vatas have big dreams…and sometimes too many of them. You know you were set on this planet to make it a better place but aren’t sure if that’s going to be through saving the environment, teaching yoga to inner-city children, or creating art installations for Burning Man. Maybe it’s all three.
- Eating on a schedule reminds you of being in school—not gonna happen.
Vatas move with the wind and hate anything that reminds them of a schedule or the number of tardies they got in elementary school. Being told to schedule your hunger seems unnatural to you. Humans were meant to forage. Why should you eat lunch only between 12 and 1?
- You don’t understand how people get bored.
Vatas have busy minds. Yours is like a 24-hour reality show/music festival/inspirational memoir. You don’t even remember what it’s like to be bored. Even if you aren’t physically doing anything, you’re mentally doing at least 108 things at once and self-narrating throughout.
- You plan your outfits based on how bloated you’re going to be after eating.
You’ve given up on crop-tops for a dinner out. (Heck, you’ve given up on them in general.) Vatas suffer from irregular digestion—and bloating as a consequence. You know your belly is going to expand like you were 3-months pregnant as soon as you eat that kale and avocado salad so you may as well plan ahead with a baggy shirt…
- You use your significant other’s legs as a foot warmer.
What else are they for? Vatas tend to run cold. Your feet magically turn into icicles as soon as the sun goes down and your partner’s legs are the perfect antidote.
- You are pretty much guaranteed to be constipated your entire trip to Europe so you bring your Triphala (Ayurvedic colon-cleansing herb) with you.
As a Vata, your digestive system is already a delicate enough balance as it is. Even too strong of a wind can throw it off, let alone a trip to Europe without your carefully curated meals that temporarily keep your constipation symptoms at bay… You already know you’ll be lucky to go once during the week. Triphala, you’re coming to see the Eiffel Tower.
- You’ve never met a creative task you didn’t love.
Being a Vata, creativity runs in your blood. You’ll sign up for any vision-boarding, matcha-making, and back-bending workshops you come across. You’ve had past lives as artisans, shoemakers, philosophers, and everything in between (or so your shaman says). You wish full-time jobs didn’t exist so you could focus full time on your hobbies (and somehow get paid for it).
- You have a really hard time holding still in Savasana and always feel like there are some extra poses you need first.
Vatas might recognize this kind of internal dialogue: “Wait? Savasana already? I didn’t get to stretch out my left quad. Maybe I can sneak in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. No, I can’t, it’s totally rude. But my quad, it’s screaming for me to stretch it! Maybe when she’s not looking… Crap, she’s looking. I need to lie down… Hmm can I finagle a quad stretch into Savasana. I can’t be too loud though… Wait… she’s telling me to wiggle my fingers and toes? Savasana’s over!? Darnit, I didn’t rest my mind OR stretch my quad!”
- You have at least 3 projects going at once and couldn’t imagine life otherwise.
Some might say Vatas struggle with focus, while you see it as diversifying your skillset… When people ask what you do for a living, you don’t know where to start. It’s something like “I help people get back in touch with their true divine feminine nature while also teaching SUP yoga and working in soul-sucking corporate America.” Psh, you don’t like labels anyway.
- Your spirit animal is Prince.
A purple-dressing, stereotype-stopping, mic-dropping, total game-changer who was years ahead of his time and did it with sass? YASSSS Prince speaks your language.