Vata-Pitta Imbalance

Jun 26, 2013   //   by smohan   //   Ayurveda Basics  //  5 Comments

So having spent the majority of my life in vata-pitta imbalance, I really know how this feels.

The fact that most of us either have a good predominance of vata or pitta in our constitutions, combined with the fact that everyone in an urban environment has a good amount of vata and pitta in their vikruti, means you probably really know how this feels too.

You just may not have the recognition of the facets of vata and pitta present.

Why does it matter?

Well, if you can recognize the vata and the pitta, you can target your solution for coming into balance.

We  feel all imbalances in the mind/emotions before we do in the physical body (if we are actually in touch with our feelings). The dialogue of vata (V) and pitta (P) in the mind may look something like this:

V: I feel so overwhelmed. There’s so much going on, and I don’t feel grounded in any of it.
P: I want to do so much though. I’ve got to work and work out and socialize and take care of all this stuff at home. That’s not going to change. I have to get it together. I should be more on top of this life thing. Everyone else seems to handle it well.
V: Well, I guess I’m not as capable as everyone else. I always seem to be overwhelmed. 
P: What’s going to be the solution?
V: Maybe I just need a vacation…
P: Stop running away and get something done. It’s not that hard. Just make a list. 
V: Then I’ll be overwhelmed by the list. I don’t stick to anything. 
P: Maybe you have a chemical imbalance? You should try some vitamins, or Google “B-12″ deficiency. 
V: Yeah, shopping seems like a great solution! I’ll go buy some supplements at Whole Foods. 

The core of the vata-pitta dance in the mind is a fast, sometimes incessant, spiral of “something’s wrong” and a self critical analysis.

Oftentimes, this can lead to some short lived attempt at getting at the solution: sign up for a webinar,  buy a self-help book, or some acupuncture treatments. The long-term game is to:

1. recognize the features of excess vata and pitta in the mind/body

 Signs of vata imbalance       Signs of pitta imbalance

2. find at least 3 ways that the vata-pitta influx is coming into your life

Look at the major energy inputs in your life: relationships, jobs, routine, food. For example, it could be the transition (vata) into summer (pitta). I could be staying up later (vata) to get more done (pitta). Maybe I had a good amount of tortilla chips (vata) and beer (pitta) in the past few days. Perhaps I’m also feeling unsettled (vata) regarding an unresolved conflict (pitta) in a key relationship in my life.

How do you know which inputs are which dosha? Well, it just takes practice. You have to identify the qualities of that input and then ask yourself which dosha must be present.

3. find a few ways that you can reduce (bring in the opposite qualities of) vata and pitta.

A quick and easy way to decrease excess of any dosha is through changing the qualities of what you eat. Here is a link to what a vata pitta reducing diet may look like.

Vata and Pitta imbalances both benefit greatly from stillness. Create time to just be at home (preferably alone). Hang out with yourself and you’ll feel the benefits.

Both vata and pitta are also diminished by water (warm preferably). A bath, jacuzzi, or steam sauna in the early am/late evening (when it’s most cool in the day so we don’t overheat pitta)

Also, using a vata-pitta reducing oil is a great way to soothe both doshas. (Yes, we carry a lovely PV oil in our online store here!)

Another powerful way to balance both is to complete your intentions. Pitta loves the feeling that things are finished or resolved and vata enjoys not having the overwhelm of that open unfulfilled intention. So pick one thing (yes, only one) and complete it. Then repeat.


  • Thank you. That dialogue was spot on, that is exactly what is going on in my head every day.

    • Glad to be of service!

  • We, people are more or less dominated by one of the three Gunas; the easy way to transform our life with the food we will help us to became more spiritual too.

  • smohan, Thank you very much for this article. My V-P was so out of balance that I was diagnosed Bipolar 2. I had chosen the path of “Let thy food be thy medicine” but was following well-meaning advice of a one-size-fits-all approach to healing with nutrition. My symptoms were the result of toxicity (sugar, caffeine, nicotine), stress (not having a proper spiritual practice) and deficiency (leaving out entire food groups I now realize are essential for dosha balance). I was on the Paleo diet, eating big oily salads every day, which is great . . . in the summer. I drank cold smoothies in the fall and had horrible digestive issues and cyclical depression. I finally found Ayurveda, and am getting much better. My boyfriend is Pitta-Vata, and when I cook I choose foods that mutually pacify both doshas and tweak the spices (I get garlic; he doesn’t, for example). That clever internal dialogue you wrote is also a typical conversation between us!

    • You are so welcome, and thanks for sharing!

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