Air and ether, two of the five Mahabhuthas, combine to form Vatha. This is the most powerful and active of the three doshas. The word root ‘Vaa’ denotes movement. This is the coordinator and regulator of all aspects of motor, sensory, nervous and mental functions. Cold, light, dry, rough, active- these are some of the attributes of Vatha.

The synonyms of the term Vatha include Vaayu, Pavana, Maruta, Anila etc.


Distribution

Though Vatha is distributed all over the body, its affinity or prevalence is more in certain areas such as the pelvic region, large intestine, limbo sacral region, legs, ears, bones, skin etc. Large intestine is the main site of Vatha.

Abnormal States
The pathological symptoms exhibited in vitiated Vatha are:

  • Leanness or Emaciation. This condition is characterized by the reduction in bulk and weight of the body 
  • Darkness of body's natural pigmentation 
  • Natural inclination towards hot things 
  • Tremor 
  • Distension of body parts (e.g. abdomen etc.) 
  • Constipation 
  • Weakness 
  • Insomnia 
  • Loss of Sensory activity 
  • Anxiety 
  • Dizziness 
  • Delirium 
  • Loss of sensation
  • Pain similar to pin-pricking

Aggravated Vatha can be brought to control by the following:

  • Eating warm and nourishing food 
  • Taking oil baths in warm water 
  • Inducing sweating 
  • Including sesame oil, meat, wheat, jaggery and other food items in diet 
  • Purgation, enema etc.

The symptoms of low Vatha, include sluggish movements, loss of interest in speech, depression and tiredness. As a remedy the patient should eat bitter, pungent and spicy food and follow a Vatha strengthening routine.

Seasonal Variations
The Vatha accumulates in summer, aggravates in the rainy season and subsides in autumn.

Divisions
As per the location and function, Vatha is divided into five:

  • Prana – It is the life breath and is located in Murddha or head. Respiration, ingestion etc. are the functions associated. 
  • Udana – Udana Vayu is concerned with the upward movement of air in the body. Its focal point is Uras or thorax which is associated with the production of sound and vocalization. 
  • Vyana – Present throughout the body, Vyana’s main functions include contraction, expansion, upward and downward movements and the transport of Rasadhatu. Its focus point is the heart. 
  • Samana – Samana is related to the fire principle or Agni and is found near the seat of 'Intaragni' or stomachic fire. Its main function is to admit food into the stomach, help digestion and control the secretion of gastric juices. 
  • Apana - This is related to the downward movement of urine, semen, menstrual blood etc., towards their exit points. This Vatha holds the fortes in the womb until the moment of discharge, and also helps in the delivery.

Another five-fold classification is as follows:

  • Naga- Responsible for articulation 
  • Kurma- Responsible for opening the eyes 
  • Krkar- Responsible for hunger 
  • Devadatta- Responsible for yawning 
  • Dhananjaya- Spreads all over the body