Aggravated by Obstruction



Hi Monica! What I’ve learned is that I have a Vata imbalance, but not only do I have ‘obstructed’ or ‘blocked’ Vata; I also have aggravated Vata. From what I understand, it seems like obstructed Vata and aggravated Vata are two completely different things. Obstructed Vata can cause all kinds of ama build-up, as well as blocked Pitta and Kapha too, right? And then aggravated Vata means that the air/space elements are just totally out of control and running wild. My question, then, is… how the heck do I go about treating these two different Vata problems? According to Dr. Lad & David Frawley (in ‘The Yoga of Herbs’), obstructed Vata can be remedied by using pungent herbs/spices, stimulant herbs, carminatives and laxative/purgative herbs. But then I’m thinking, should someone with aggravated Vata be increasing their usage of stimulant herbs? It seems like that would be contraindicated. My main concern is really the obstructed Vata, though, so I’d greatly appreciate any tips that you might have for this!

Most super awesome question, Dominique! Thank you!
You are correct. Ayurveda can get extremely complex and full of layers. For the purposes of not blowing yours or other readers’ minds, I’ll keep it simple. Vata needs to flow in the proper direction at the proper speed or the person will end up with vata aggravation. One causes the other, they are not separate vata problems. Vata can move too fast (over flow) or it can be obstructed, or it can take an entirely different route all together (gone rogue)! Anything different than optimal vata flow, will create vata aggravation. I’ll toss in that when the issue of flow occurs, vata aggravation can happen to anyone, even if they are not primarily vata constitution. {leaving space here for you to digest that tid bit} Pitta and kapha cannot move without vata (energy of movement), so vata is involved in everything.

Per your question, you are correct in addressing the obstructed vata first, because that is the root cause. We need to remove the obstacle and/or correct the proper flow of vata first, then use rasayanas (rejuvenatives) to build the body back in a healthy way. The reason for the stimulant herbs is because they will remove the blockage. Stimulating herbs/spices are heating and vata is cold (kapha is too). So if you have a cold, dry wad of vata (or kapha) blockage, pungent spices and heat will clear it. Make sense? Some therapies in Ayurveda that can do that are a kitchari cleanse, ayurvedic oil massage (oils with vata-balancing herbs), steam room, warm vata-balancing teas and consistent yoga practice.

In a nutshell, how to clear the obstruction
Clear the blockage with stimulating herbs
• If needed, add Ayurvedic therapies* like herbal oil massage, basti (oil enema), kitchari cleanse, steam, teas
• Build the body back with a vata-balancing diet and a rasayana (like chyavanprash)
• Now that the obstruction is gone, the vata aggravation should lift so you can hum along in vata harmony :)

*Please work with a reputable Ayurvedic practitioner for guidance!


2 Responses to Aggravated by Obstruction

  1. Ian says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  2. keeley callaghan says:

    Interesting article. The guys over at The Cinnamon Wardrobe do some great Ayurvedic oils for different types of therapies as well as some great reading and background

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