I’m a vata craving exercise!

I got this great question from one of my lovely readers and I thought it was important enough to share with all of you. Below is his question and below that is my answer.

I am quite disappointed to finally realize I am a vata. I get sick whenever I train more than 3-4 days a week. What can a vata do if their passion is exercise? Even now at 40 I have re-discovered road cycling and like to get out for 40-60km. I find the runners high addictive and being out in beauty almost meditative. I feel alive out there yet the cold wind whistling by my ears….I can tell it’s not good for my dosha. Seems a little cruel that it is ultimately not good for me? Perhaps I am being immature about it. Any suggestions? Maybe overcompensate when home with nice warm slippers, quiet night etc.?

AH! Thank you so much for your question. It’s a beautiful question because…pittas often crave really spicy foods (not good for them) and kaphas really crave to be mostly sedentary and often cannot kick a sweet tooth to save their lives (both not good for them).

In a nutshell, when our dosha is imbalanced, we crave imbalancing habits. So, vatas will crave more intense exercise if their vata is increased. I don’t know if you can relate, but it feels like constant motion…and the only thing that satisfies that craving of motion is more motion. Do you ever feel like that? That said, there is a balance. You can still do nice cardio exercise, but I would suggest you balance that with yoga a couple times a week. That will help. Also, make sure your food is very grounding, warm and well oiled. I might even suggest trying a week or two of “feet on the ground” exercises (elliptical trainer, stationary bike, power walking, yoga, pilates, weight lifting) instead of having too much “air” under your feet. See if that urge to keep moving calms down.

Overall, an awesome question. I feel like I need to address this on a larger level because you are not the only one to ask this. Don’t be disappointed you are a vata…vatas are wonderful. Please remember to embrace you. Namasté, Monica

16 Responses to I’m a vata craving exercise!

  1. danielle says:

    great article! I am a hard core vata, who has recently started to feel the full effects of stress and anxiety. I have been eating raw salads with protein for lunch/dinner for the past year, going to change that asap! i am excited for upcoming changes!

  2. Joe says:

    Hi Monica, I have discovered your blog very recently and found out that I am a hard case Vata. The problem is I am really interested in powerlifting and bodybuilding. Is there any way to unite the two worlds. Weight lifting is really a passion for me but my small frame limits me sometimes. Any tips to get bigger and stronger while having a vata digestion?

  3. Tajna says:

    Monica,your website is great,really helpful,interesting,and presents Ayruveda in an easily understandable and relatable way.I am very much Vata,but really only this year have I really worked on bringing Kapha elements into my life.I had a yeast infection earlier this year,and it took me 3-4 months to get my health back.Now I am really cautious about over exercise,not burning out,taking time to sit down to eat,and making sure my nervous state is healthy.
    Every day I practice yoga,and usually I run too,but it’s been getting windy and I’ve been getting over worked out,so now I just run 1 mile and walk the next mile,instead of running both.I do weights for bone density three times a week,and one day I try to take a day off.
    For Vata,making sure to have warming foods,enough water (evenly spaced between meals),warm tea in the evening (I have tulsi or licorice with CALM magnesium supplement,helps my sleep as well),limit any sugar(even honey;I use coconut sugar),no dried fruits or any raw salads.To not move too much,to utilize our energy instead of getting worried/anxious/stressed/depressed is so important.
    Sorry if this very long,but your site is great,and I also wanted to share what I have learned with other Vatas.I wish I’d had that support over the years of stress,extreme weight loss,poor diet,anxiety and ultimately extreme Vata out of control.

    • Monica says:

      Tajna! Thank you for your note! Sounds like you are doing a great job at managing your vata – great work! I’m sure all the other vatas out there will find encouragement and support in what you’ve shared here. Thank you thank you!! :) xoxo!

  4. Jay says:

    Hello, I’m pretty sure I’m a vata-pitta or vice versa. I, too, am very drawn to exercise, though I mostly do strength training and walk my dog outside. I used to be a big bicycler, but have had to stop any cardio since I’m still underweight (though, I will admit I feel very nervous if I don’t do any movement). I get urges to run and do high-intensity bursts of movement, but know that it’s not good for me if I don’t compensate with food. Having pitta in me, I tend to be highly competitive with myself and crave the feeling of making my body feel worn out at times. What’s a girl to do? :/

    Also, I want to note that when I eat too much of a vata-pacifying diet, I feel too “weighed down” and can start feeling unmotivated and/or worrisome.

  5. Steven says:

    My biggest concern as a Vata is that I am not doing enough exercise for my heart (getting my heart rate up). I, too, am drawn to Ashtanga yoga and the elyptical machine, but, even though I LOVE them, I can tell that they pretty quickly wear me out and are probably not the best for my Prakriti/Vikriti. I do yoga almost every day and do some walking, but I sit at a desk all day. I’m concerned my heart is not getting enough exercise. Any advice?

  6. Sunita Sharma says:

    I would like to believe all above…. to balance my Vata Dosh. I am trying hard to follow Vata characteristics and food guide lines. I am pure vegetarian. But since last winter Nov. 2010 I am suffering from Asthma symptoms. I have very bad and dry throat and cough. Medical Dr. wants me to follow Asthma treatment only.

    Do you have any advice? I am confused….

  7. Karen says:

    I think also the important thing is to listen to the body while doing cardio. Especially when you’re a vata. Jazzercise is easy to overdo because the instructor does high-impact with just a few demo moments for low-impact. We also start from the bottom of an intensity curve, work our way up, and then back down before strength training. If I’m not careful I work out too intensely during the session and wear myself out. So I spend most of the time really doing a self-scan to be sure that I’m getting my heartrate up, but not too high.

    • Monica says:

      Karen, absolutely! Sounds like you know your body pretty well. Our bodies give us TONS of information, so the key is to listen and obey :)

  8. Karen says:

    I’m very vata and find that my craving is not so much for the actual high-intensity exercise as it is the IDEA of it. I want to be very fit, very athletic, but just don’t have the stamina. I find Jazzercise works well for my cardio need, as the program is about 35 mins cardio and 25 mins weight training. I do that 3 times a week, yoga once a week and tai chi once a week.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Karen, sounds like you are doing just about perfect as far as balancing your routine! 35 minutes of cardio followed by weight training is great. I also love that you balance with yoga and tai chi. Right on!! This is about as much exercise as I would recommend for a vata per week! :) Walking and yoga are always great – you can do those every day if you want! Otherwise keep up the great work. xoxo

  9. Ed says:

    Don’t forget abhyanga, also especially good for vata.

  10. Liz says:

    Love this post:) and I can relate. I am vata and running is my fave — fast and effiecient. Balancing with yoga makes me feel good, and you can build some really great muscle tone from yoga too. Dance cardio is also really fun and intense cardio, so I switch that out with the running. A mix of exercises and listening to your bod is what I’ve found to be the best recipe.

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