What is Vata Dosha?

What is Vata Dosha

In Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three doshas, also called humors, that govern our psychobiological functioning of the body. Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, are present in every cell, tissue and organ as they are a combination of the five elements. When in balance, they create health; when out of balance, they are the cause of disease. These doshas, are responsible for the huge variety of individual differences and preferences and they influence all we are and all we do, from our choices of food to our modes of relating to others.

The doshas govern the biological and psychological process of our body, mind and consciousness. They regulate the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue as well as the elimination of waste products. They even govern our emotions and metal state. When in balance, they generate understanding, compassion, love and health.  When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to many disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression and disease. All five elements are present in each dosha, but the predominance of two elements create a dosha.

Vata dosha is comprised of akasa (ether) and vayu (air). The root ‘va’ means “to spread’ and vata is responsible for all movement in the body. This includes; the flow of breath, pumping of blood, waste elimination, movement of muscles, limbs, diaphragm, regulations of nervous system,the gut’s secretor-motor functions, expression of speech and also stimulates the function of intellect and transmits sensations. The bones and nerve network of the mind and body are also primarily affected by Vata.

Vata is known as the master dosha, as with out it all of the other doshas would be inert. It is the messenger and is involved in the movement and regulation of pitta and Kapha. The reason for this can be shown as in; when the movement of air is unrestricted by space (as in the open ocean) it can gain momentum to become hurricane winds at speeds of over 150 mph. When air is restrained in a box, it cannot move and becomes stale. Without movement or with too much movement the doshas cannot remain in harmony in the body, the will become vitiated.

Vata’s qualities or Panchamahabutas are cold, light, rough, mobile, subtle, clear, dry and astringent. When Vata manifests in the body, these qualities are apparent. The primary site of Vata is the colon, but Vata also resides in the thighs, ears, bones, and bladder. It also participates in mental functions such as, imagination, sensitivity, spontaneity, intuition and emotions like exhilaration, fear, insecurity and doubt.


The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.