Vata dosha is light, dry, hard, cold, mobile, rough, flowing, subtle (it can penetrate every aspect of the body) and clear. Vata is best understood in terms of its sub-doshas, which determine direction of movement and govern specific actions in the body. Remember that Vata dosha is formed of air and ether and is naturally associated with breath, lumens, spaces and air or gas in the body.
Prana Vata is situated in the head and chest region covering the lungs, the whole respiratory system, esophagus and heart, tongue, mouth and nose.
It is responsible for respiration and heart-rate and thoughts. It helps food to reach the stomach, gives strength to the heart and enables spitting, belching, and respiration (inhalation). It determines the type of experiences or influences we attract and draw into the body. It is considered upward moving.
Udana Vata is situated near the umbilicus, diaphragm, chest region and throat. It is responsible for moving air out of the body, exhalation. It enables proper speaking and singing ability. It is also responsible for strength and feelings of patience in the body and for increasing memory function.
It is situated in stomach, the small intestines and the upper abdomen. It helps in digestion through the secretion of digestive enzymes. It also creates the feeling of hunger and thus the impulse to eat. It carries nutrients into the circulatory system and represents the quality of absorption. It helps in the separation of wastes from useful nutrients and in the formation of semen.
It nourishes the whole body and is found throughout the body. It has three movements, urdharv gaman (upwards), adho gaman (downwards), and tiryak gaman (lateral movements) in the body. Vyana vayu controls all voluntary actions, deliberate movements, the contraction and expansion of the heart muscles and other muscles and promotes the circulation and nourishment of the body. It also governs sweating, yawning and the sensation of touch.
It is situated in pakwashaya (intestines), vrishan (testis), vasti (bladder), shishin (penis), nabhi (umblicus), kati pardesh (pelvis), guda (anus) and creates the urge to expel wastes out of the body. Its movement is downward, involving lower body functions, such as urination, excretion, menstruation, passing gas, giving birth, and the ejaculation of sperm.
Normal functions of Vata dosha
Normal heart-rate and breathing, normal thinking capacity, interest in life, creativity, imagination, normal speech, normal digestive movements, normal appetite, circulation and activity of motor organs, normal evacuation of waste products, proper menstruation, normal ejaculation.
Lack of proper functioning/Aggravation
Heart-rate problems, breathing difficulties, asthma, stammering, autism, gas, bloating, disturbed digestion, lack of appetite, varicose veins, circulation problems, cramps, cold hands and feet, menstrual disorders, ejaculation, constipation, lower back pain, lumbago, dryness, cracking or painful joints, cracked heels, breaking nails, stress, anxiety, fear, insomnia, memory loss, Alzheimer's, weight-loss, paralysis, Muscular Dystrophy, arthritis, and all forms of physical and mental degeneration.