What is a VATA personality or body type?

According to Ayurveda, we all have one of three body types: vata, pitta, or kapha. This is your unique constitution, or make-up, and it influences everything from your physiology and body shape to your preferences, habits, and your emotional and psychological character, as well as your susceptibility to certain diseases. Knowing and working with your individual body type, or dosha, makes it easier to address diet and lifestyle imbalances that impede true health and vitality. So, the first step on the road to better health is to get to know your own "body."

Physical characteristics of Vata body type

Vata body types have thin frames, narrow shoulders and hips, and their facial features are smaller and more petite. Usually they have small eyes, the hair is quite dry, curly, and sometimes frizzy. Vata body types have colder hands and toes, circulation is poor towards the extremities and their natural affiliation is towards humid and warmer climes. Vata are quick learners and grasp concepts very easily. They move quickly, active and will be easily the one to get up first and not keen on sitting still for long. They are quick minded, creative, and always have the ideas. When Vata is in balance, it can be a very joyful and enthusiastic state of being.   On the negative side, Vata body types will experience worry, anxiety, and nervous system issues. Vata body types will often have irregular sleeping patterns, issues with sleeping and sometimes even suffer from insomnia. Generally, this dosha, is more changeable than the other doshas.

VATA dosha

VATA personality traits

  • Quick minded, imaginative, and creative
  • Adaptive to change
  • Quick movements
  • Sensitive to emotions
  • Quick learners but forget easily
  • Quick to understand instructions
  • Prone to nervousness or anxiety
  • Issues with sleeping and may suffer from insomnia
  • Poor circulation in hands and toes

Irregularity in their hunger, Vata types can often be hungry at different times of the day and at night. Yes, at times they will forget to eat, and may easily miss a meal, without even noticing. Constipation and irregular bowel movements can also be a concern to Vata as their lack of attention to their food timings this can trigger food insensitivities. Digestion can be a little sensitive and often Vata types may suffer constipation. Worry, anxiety, arthritis, confusion, flatulence and bloating, and joint problems are other health concerns to be aware of. Vata body types can avoid these issues by eating small meals frequently (up to 4-5 times per day).

Lifestyle and exercise
Vata personalities love travel and attracted to places that are warm and sunny. For a Vata type their excitement comes in bursts, as does their energy. While they love change, adventure and new activities, their stamina is stretched and often they feel overwhelmed. Many vata body types only sleep six to seven hours a night, or less; will be a light sleeper or may even suffer with insomnia. Generally, a morning person, vata will be up with the sun, even when not had enough sleep. With their changeable nature, exercise routines that will suit vata personalities are yoga, walking, Pilates, bicycling and dancing.

Vata is the air and ether energy, movement and impulse, creativity and connection. This dosha determines our ability to experience versatility, joy, and expansive awareness when we are healthy. When in excess, it can cause anxiety, fear, dry skin, cracking joints, and sleeping problems.


Vata foods

Tips on keeping Vata in balance

Vegetables-Typically sweet, moist, and cooked foods suit Vata. Root vegetables are especially beneficial for vata because they grow underground and are grounding and stabilising. Avoid extremely dry, rough, and cold vegetables, as well as most raw vegetables. If you must have raw vegetables, a salad, or any of the vata-aggravating vegetables, keep the portions small and eat them in the middle of the day, when digestive strength is at its peak always combining with a dense oily dressing.

Fruits- Most fruits that tend to pacify Vata are sweet and nourishing. While some raw fruit is okay to be consume, make sure to balance, cooked or stewed fruits are easier to digest and provide extra warmth, moisture, and sweetness, making them even more beneficial to vata. Fruits to avoid would be those that are extremely cooling, astringent, or rough, which includes most of the dried fruit. Dried fruit is recommended to be soaked or cooked for Vata types. For vata fruit should be eaten half an hour before meals.

Meals- Vata dosha people should eat small, frequent meals and avoid combining too many different foods. Allowing enough time to eat and chewing thoroughly will ensure the release of pre-existing digestive enzymes in the saliva, making food easier to digest. Important for Vata types: drink frequently and in large amounts. Warm drinks are also essential. Meals should also be warm, and vegetables should be cooked, because sweet and warming dishes help to pacify Vata. Vata types should avoid stimulating beverages. This includes beverages such as fizzy cola, coffee, and black tea. This is due to the fact that they overstimulate the human nervous system. Carbonated beverages should also be avoided as much as possible. 

Warm foods- The warm quality can be emphasised by eating foods that are both energetically and temperature should be warm, as well as by using digestive spices. On the other hand, foods with a cooling energy, such as cold and frozen foods, carbonated drinks, large quantities of raw fruits and vegetables, and even leftovers kept in the refrigerator or freezer, should be avoided. Because the cold quality of these foods is naturally enhanced, it is best to eat them fresh.

Vata Foods
Other lifestyle remedies for pacifying Vata

  • Ideally retire to bed before 10:00 pm and rise early by 6:00 am
  • Follow a daily routine that includes regular times for eating, sleeping, and working (dinacharya). Drink warm beverages and consume freshly prepared, warm, whole foods.
  • Consume foods with naturally sweet, sour, and salty flavours.
  • Include plenty of high-quality oils or ghee in your daily diet, as well as warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and chocolate.
  • Include a regular exercise routine in your weekly schedule. Yoga and Pilates are wonderful for Vata body types, the slow stretching and meditative asanas help relax the erratic mind of the Vata body type. 
  • Vata-reducing herbs and remedies

Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) is one of the most powerful subtle therapies. Nadi Shodhana (also Alternate Nostril Breathing) balances solar and lunar energies, as well as masculine and feminine energies throughout the body, and is extremely effective at calming the nervous system while pacifying excess vata. Bhramri (or Humming Bee Breath) calms the mind and nervous system and promotes restful sleep.

Herbs for Vata dosha
Certain herbs are specifically more beneficial for Vata dosha. Ashwagandha and Chyavanprash are also generally beneficial for Vata. Herbs for digestion, Triphala is beneficial, Ghee, Cumin seed, Fennel, Fenugreek, Ginger are all good for Vata body types.

Massage for Vata
Sesame seed is ideal, as it has because it's warming and sesame is considered the king of massage oils for its ability to penetrate deeply and nourish the tissues. Blend with aroma essential oils pf Black Pepper or Ginger for a more therapeutic massage treatment and to balance the Vata energies.

And lastly…. following a vata-calming daily routine can be a turning point in your path toward balance because vata is so deeply supported by a sense of routine. Remember to keep things as simple as possible. Start with a few constants throughout the day, work with them for a couple of weeks, and then re-evaluate your ability to adhere with them. At first, you may discover that you need to simplify even more in order to succeed. You can always add new elements to your routine as the first ones become second nature. Dinacharya (routine) in Ayurveda is ever important. Once you recognize when your body falls out of balance, you will know the food and lifestyle habits to bring back into the routine to pacify your Vata. Remember be aware, mindful, practice simple yoga if you can and breathe!


For a more personalised recommendation please email our nutritionist on our contact us page here

Ria Pattni
Ayurveda Wellbeing writer