In the ancient Veda texts of Ayurveda, it is said that ‘Vata’ causes 4 times as many symptoms as Kapha and twice as many symptoms of Pitta when it is imbalanced. But what on earth is Vata and why should you care if it’s ‘out of whack‘ ??

Ayurveda originated the term Vata as the name for one of the physiological functions within our body.

It should first be noted that Ayurveda talks about the body primarily in terms of it’s physiology rather than it’s anatomy and it talks about physiology in three succinct terms. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata is the direction of neurological impulses (energy flow). Pitta is the enzyme/transformational processes and Kapha is the protective measures of the body.

Vata’s are:

  1. Prana Vata
  2. Udana Vata
  3. Samana Vata
  4. Vyana Vata
  5. Apana Vata

You may have come across these categories of Vata before but seen the names ending in Vayu, another name for Vata.

Prana Vayu are all the neurological impulses that draw things into the head and down. The breath, food, information via our five senses.

Udana Vayu are all the neurological impulses that draw things up through the head and out. Speech, the exhale, enthusiasm, our will.

Samana Vayu are all the neurological impulses that draw things into the centre. They govern all actions of digestion, absorption and assimilation.

Vyana Vayu are all the neurological impulses that draw things around the entire body via the heart and lungs and includes circulation of oxygen and nutrients to every cell.

Apana Vayu are all the neurological impulses that both hold and eliminate things via the organs in the pelvic area and the  anus. It includes the functions of menstruation, conceiving, pregnancy and proper elimination of waste via urine, menstruation, stools and semen.

If Prana vayu is out of whack you could start feeling overwhelmed as things hit the senses or simply find information hard to process and, perhaps, memory and recall feel out of reach.

Udana vayu – feeling un-confident in speech and personal expression or the enthusiasm or will power to get things done.

Samana vayu – Leaky gut leading to poor assimilation of nutrients, fatigue, headaches, food allergies, migraines,  candida/ama symptoms (achey, tired, heavy feeling in heart, mind and body, lack of strength, indigestion, coated tongue).

Vyana vayu – Poor circulation, feeling cold.

Apana vayu – Constipation, light or absent menses, diarrhoea, constipation, pms, miscarriage or premature ejaculation.

You can work with Prana vayu by detoxing the body, simple back bend sequences and meditation inviting stillness.

You can work with udana vayu by spine lengthening poses, chanting ‘om’ and lengthening your exhalations for part of your yoga practice.

You can work with samana vayu by a twisting sequence, core work and kapalabhati.

You can work with vyana vayu by moon salutations, building on your inhalations during practice and putting an intention onto your yoga time (sankalpa).

You can work with apana vayu by working a forward fold sequence, using mula, hasta and pada bandha in practices and stretching and massaging the feet.

There are many ways to work with the energetic flows of the body, symptoms of Vata, pitta and kapha imbalance, seasonal yoga practices and ayurvedic health care practices. To learn more and read more please visit

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