By Dr. Regina Antony
The main aim of Yoga is to control and contain the activities of mind and to direct it towards higher spiritual goal.
As per Ayurveda, mind is largely influenced by Vata and Pitta Dosha.
Ayurveda explains that mind is Eka – one and Anu – minute in nature. Mind keeps on moving and associating with one or the other sense faculties to receive knowledge. Movement is directly related to Vata Dosha. All movements in the body are due to Vata Dosha.
An aggressive Vata Dosha can make a person to
think excessively, talk excessively and irrelevantly, anxiety, lack of sleep, wandering tendency, etc.
Controlling the mind is equal to controlling Vata Dosha.
Hence, the entire process of Yoga is useful to control Vata Dosha both in body and in mind.
Out of all the Yoga principles,
Ahimsa – non violence
Satya – truth
Asteya – not stealing
Brahmacharya – abstinence from sex
Aparigraha – abstinence from greed / generosity
Ishwara Pranidhana – devotion to God
Pranayama – breath exercises
Pratyahara – withdrawal of senses from sensual pleasures
Dharana and Dhyana – these factors are very effective in achieving perfect balance of Vata Dosha.
Vata balancing Asanas
Asanas are specific postures in Yoga. They provide spiritual and physical benefits and improve flexibility, strength and balance.
The following are a list of Asanas that balance and control Vata Dosha –
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose
Controls Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu, thus helps in opening up the chest and ribs, enables easy breathing and good oxygenation and circulation, helps to cure asthma, fatigue and depression. The asana by balancing these Vayu subtypes helps in providing energy, enthusiasm, ability to express and good memory.
By controlling Samana Vayu, this asana helps in proper digestion of food.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose
Helps in balancing and stimulating Vayu. It mainly impacts all the Vayus to be precise. By balancing Prana Vayu, the asana helps in keeping the mind and senses serene and settled, wards of anxiety and stress and restores mind health. By balancing Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu, the asana helps in enhancing circulation of blood and nutrients to different parts of the body. By stimulating Samana Vayu, the asana helps in enhancing metabolism and one’s capacity to digest and assimilate the food in proper way. By stimulating Apana Vayu, it helps in proper excretion of faeces and urine, provides strength to the excretory apparatus and also to the lower back.
Malasana – Garland Pose
Malasana helps in balancing the Samana Vayu and hence enhances the power to digest food easily. The metabolism improves; health of the digestive system is restored.
Bakasana – Crane / Crow Pose
Has balancing effect on Prana and Udana Vayus. By doing so, the asanas provide good strength to the mind, enhances your mind strength, balance and wards off stress. It keeps the body and mind happy. It balances Samana Vayu and aids digestion of food.
Paripurna Navasana – Full Boat Pose
Controls and balances Prana Vayu, Samana Vayu and Apana Vayu. By balancing Prana Vayu, the asana helps in relieving stress and improves your focus. By strengthening and balancing Samana Vayu, Paripurna Navasana helps in improving the digestion and strengthens the digestive system and abdominal organs. By balancing the functions of Apana Vayu, the asana helps in activating the prostate glands, kidneys and strengthens the reproductive system.
Kurmasana – Tortoise Pose
Calms the vitiated Prana Vata and Udana Vayu. When the balance between these two subtypes of Vata is achieved through this asana, the breathing functions improve. This helps in curing respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis.
Salabhasana – Locust Pose or Grasshopper Pose
Salabhasana balances and calms the vitiated Vata.
Salabhasana helps in normalizing and balancing the equilibrium between the Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. The synchronization of these three Vata subtypes will help in proper circulation of blood and nutrients in the body, oxygenation of all the cells and provides good energy. This balance will help in reduction of stress and tension and keeps the mind and senses serene. It will also enable you in maintaining good posture and balancing self. Shalabhasana helps in maintaining Samana Vayu, thus helps in regulating metabolism.
Supta Virasana – Reclined Hero Pose
Supta Virasana calms Vayu, especially the Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. It also balances the axis between these two subtypes of Vayu and synchronizes their functions. When these two Vayu subtypes are balanced, the circulation and oxygenation reaches all parts of the body effortlessly providing energy, enthusiasm and drive to work. The lungs and heart are strengthened. Respiratory ailments including asthma, bronchitis etc is cured. The blood pressure becomes normal.
Supta Virasana also balances and stimulates Samana Vayu and aids in proper digestion. With this many digestive disorders, diarrhoea, acidity and distension of abdomen are cured.
Ushtrasana – Camel Pose
Ushtrasana balances and calms vitiated Apana Vayu. By doing so, it contributes towards the establishment of health of pelvic cavity and floor and pelvic organs, mainly uterus, urinary bladder and sexual organs. It regularises menstruation and wards off menstrual discomfort in women. It also helps in proper voiding of urine and faeces.
Ushtrasana balances Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. By establishing a healthy axis between these two subtypes of Vayu along with their integrity with Prana Vayu, Ushtrasana helps in maintaining the heart health and also in strengthening the chest organs.
Vrikshasana – Tree Pose
Vrikshasana balances and calms Vayu. This asana brings about a balance of Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. By doing so, it brings stability, integration, flexibility of the body and also establishes a good synchronization between the nervous system and muscles which enable us to hold on to good postures and balance throughout our life.
Dandasana – Staff Pose
Dandasana helps in balancing and calming Vata, mainly Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu. By balancing these dosha subtypes, Dandasana helps in enhancing the focus and concentration, aeration of the body and balancing the breathing patterns, calming the nerves and mind and in turn de-stressing the person.
Sukhasana – Easy Pose
This Asana calms vitiated Vata, mainly Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu. It also regulates the chemistry between these two subtypes of Vata and also coordinates their integrated functions. As a result, one gets rid of anxiety, stress and exhaustion, experiences peace and calmness of mind.
Shavasana – Corpse Pose
Shavasana balances the Tridoshas.
Balasana – Child’s Pose Method
Balasana balances and calms Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu. Balasana sets right the breathing patterns. Therefore it promotes synchronization and coordination between Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu.
Mayurasana – Peacock Pose
Mayurasana basically balances the tridoshas. Mayurasana provides good relief from menstrual disorders and strengthens the reproductive system and is also a good remedy for piles (arshas). It has its governance over Apana Vata and balances it.
Padmasana – Lotus Pose
It is extremely effective in balancing the Apana Vayu. By doing so, it cures menstrual irregularities, problems related to urinary bladder, sciatica, support movements at low back and hip, releases the tension in the hip region, and makes child birth easier.
Virasana – Hero Pose
By controlling Apana Vayu, Virasana helps in relieving abdominal gases, constipation, bloating, and aids proper digestion. By balancing Udana and Vyana Vayu, Virasana helps in maintaining proper breathing patterns and blood pressure.
Vajrasana – Diamond Pose
By maintaining the symphony of pitta and vata with kapha in the stomach, Vajrasana helps in creating a protective buffer in the gut, thus prevents ulcers and acidity. By balancing the activities of Apana Vayu, Vajrasana helps in relieving constipation and gaseous distension of the abdomen, piles and fistula, eases menstrual cramps and labour pains, enhances blood supply to pelvic region, rejuvenates the genital system and relieves diseases of uro-genital tract. By balancing the Prana – Udana – Vyana Vayu axis, Vajrasana helps in preventing and curing hypertension, keeps the heart and lungs healthy, aids proper circulation of blood, nutrients and oxygen and provides energy.
Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana – Standing Split Pose
Urdhwa Prasarita Eka Padasana improves one’s balance. It also enhances power of focus, concentration and memory. It provides relief from insomnia, anxiety and depression. By balancing Udana Vayu, this asana provides strength and relieves body from fatigue. By strengthening and balancing Apana Vayu, Urdhwa Prasarita Eka Padasana strengthens the urinary and genital systems.
Trikonasana – Triangle Pose
By balancing and activating the functions of Samana Vayu, Trikonasana enhances digestion and metabolism. It balances Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu functions and brings about their equilibrium and synchronization.
Eka Padasana – One Leg Pose
By controlling the activities of Prana Vayu, Eka Padasana enhances a sense of balance and inner stability, stabilizes neuromuscular coordination, improves memory and coordination in synchronization with Udana Vayu, rectifies mental instabilities and anxiety, calms mind, and brings inner peace and joy.
By activating Udana Vayu, Eka Padasana opens up the chest and lungs, helps in proper circulation and oxygenation of tissues in synchronization with Vyana Vayu.
Chakrasana (Urdhwa Dhanurasana) – Wheel Pose
Since Chakrasana helps in expanding the chest and lungs, it helps in balancing Prana and Vyana Vayu, provides strength to the respiratory apparatus, cures asthma and helps in oxygenation of the body.
Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
By activating and balancing Udana Vayu, Prana Vayu, Vyana Vayu located in the thorax or chest, Bhujangasana helps in enhancing the functioning capacity of the heart and lungs, enhances circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body and helps in warding off the respiratory disorders, mainly asthma. By activating Samana Vayu, Bhujangasana aids digestion and fine tunes the metabolism. By controlling and balancing the Apana Vayu, Bhujangasana stimulates urinary and reproductive organs and enhances their functioning.
Udarakarshana Asana – Abdominal Stretch Pose
Udarakarshana Asana is one of the best asanas which helps in stimulating Apana Vayu. By doing so, it helps in relieving constipation, diseases related to urinary and genital organs and discomfort in the lower limbs and low back. By stimulating and activating Samana Vayu, Udarakarshana Asana helps in setting up a good digestion process apart from curing the digestive disorders.
Tiryaka Bhujangasana – Swaying Cobra Pose
By establishing the Prana-Vyana-Udana synchronization, the asana helps in proper circulation and aeration of the body. It stimulates Samana Vayu, stimulates digestive power. By helping in balancing the Apana vayu, Tiryak Bhujangasana tones up the ovaries, uterus and kidneys, helps in proper excretion of urine and regulation of menstruation and improves the health of these organs.
Kati Chakrasana – Standing Spinal Twist Pose
Kati Chakrasana helps in controlling Vayu. Kati Chakrasana stimulates apana vayu and enables its proper functioning. The proper movement of apana vayu helps in curing constipation. The Prana-Udana-Vyana axis is balanced by this asana, thus helping in proper coordination of these three Vayus which are responsible for proper breathing, aeration and circulation. By stimulating Samana Vayu, Kati Chakrasana helps in correcting the dysfunctions related to digestion.
Tiryaka Tadasana – Swaying Palm Tree Pose
Tiryak Tadasana controls and balances Apana Vayu. When it does so, the movement and excretion of stools and urine, menstruation and ejaculation will be unobstructed and regular. Tiryak Tadasana stimulates Samana Vayu. Thus, this asana helps in aiding good digestion.
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Balance, stability and postural integrity is brought about by the balance of Vata and Kapha. Tadasana balances the Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu functions in the chest.
Vata balancing pranayamas
Effect of Pranayam on Vata Dosha – Since it involves breathing, all Pranayamas increase Vata in general. Breathing itself is a Vata activity. But because it involves sitting, and there are concepts of mind control, Vata is not elevated to an extent that it causes diseases.
The air is exhaled out and at that point, abdominal muscles are fanned. This improves digestion power. Hence, it increases Pitta at the level of stomach and intestines. It also activates Vata in large intestines, due to increased abdominal pressure, during this Pranayama.
Bhastrika Pranayam – Bellow’s breathing
It is meant to increase blood circulation and to activate body channels. It increases Vata to a great extent and Pitta to a lesser extent.
The Chandranga Bhastrika, practised through the left nostril, influences Ida nadi. It is relatively coolant in nature. Hence it will not increase Pitta, but increases Vata and slightly Kapha.
Ujjayi Pranayama – Victorious breath
It involves making of sound from the throat. Some experts opine that it lowers blood pressure. Some say, that it is useful in treating diseases of ear, nose and throat. From an Ayurvedic point of view, it stimulates Udana type of Vata, which controls functions like speech, memory, immunity and enthusiasm.
Bhramari Pranayama – Humming bee breath
It is more targeted towards mind and spirituality than the body. It balances all the three Doshas.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Balances all the three Doshas.
Anuloma Viloma Pranayama – It balances Tridosha.
Read related – Types Of Pranayama – Effect on Health – Through An Ayurveda View-Point
Vata balancing meditation
Meditation is a process of controlling mental activities and directing the mind towards higher spiritual planes.
The entire process of meditation is designed to curb the movement quality of Vata Dosha and to make Vata Dosha stable.
Well balanced Vata leads to happiness, contentment, concentrated mind, and an absence of distractions, anger, jealousy, lust, greed etc.
Meditationthat relaxes the mind, improves attention span, controls anxiety, depression, stress, unnecessary thoughts, helpsto control Vata Dosha.
An erect sitting posture, a still body, chanting of Mantras in a rhythmic manner, controlling mental activities – all these practices done during meditation is useful to keep Vata under balance.
Vata balancing spiritual practices
The following are spiritual practices that help balance Vata Dosha –
Japa – chanting the name of God or Mantras
Tapa – practicing rituals and chanting names of God for a prolonged period of time, for many days.
Sadgrantha pathana – reading spiritual books
Sajjana Sahavasa – befriending spiritually oriented persons
Teertha Yatra – pilgrimage
Yoga, Asana, Pranayama
Sadvichara Prasara – spreading spiritual messages among friends and family
Brahmacharya – celibacy
Pooja – religious worshipping of God
Daana – donation to poor and needy
Shrama daana – offering free services to the needy and to the society
Bhajan – praising the glory of God and submitting oneself to God.
The purpose of all the above activities is to control and contain Vata Dosha, thus controlling the mind and directing the mind towards higher spiritual planes.
As part of spiritual practice, rice and milk are consumed. Both of these food ingredients are sweet, coolant and balance Pitta and Vata Dosha.
Panchamrita – It is a combination of yogurt, cow’s milk, honey, sugar and ghee. This is used for performing Abhisheka (pouring over the divine idols) and the same is consumed as Prasada (religious offering). The net effect of Panchamrita is Vata and Pitta balancing.
Homa, Yajna and Yaga – are the fire rituals that are performed by pouring ghee over the fire, while chanting different Mantras. This activity of rhythmic chanting of Mantras while offering ghee and many grains to the fire helps to balance Vata Dosha and Kapha Dosha.
There are many spiritual practices that require good physical and mental control.
For example –
going on a pilgrimage by walking long distances,
fasting for many days,
offering Danda-pranam (ritual during which devotees offer their respects and surrender themselves to God by lying fully prostrate on the floor in front of the idol) for hundreds of times,
walking around the temple in circles as a form of worship for hundreds of times (Pradakshina)
rolling around the temples (Anga Pradakshina)
All these spiritual practices
– are a way of expressing our love towards God.
– help us to shed the negativity, lethargy, laziness.
– make the mind and body, alert and active.
– balance down Kapha Dosha and stimulate Vata Dosha.
Read related – Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama for Kapha Balance