Physical Harmony + Weight Loss for Overweight Vatas, with Cate Stillman
The vast majority of Western society is now considered overweight or obese. For practitioners and/or students of Ayurveda, it can be difficult to determine whether a person's excess weight is a vata or kapha issue. And the question comes up all the time, too. It's simply just harder to tell their constitutions when they have extra pounds of ama and poor-quality tissue on their bodies.
Fortunately, there are a few key ways that you can tell the difference between vata and kapha weight. Once you know how to discern that that weight is the result of imbalanced vata, you can work to bring digestive harmony (and weight loss) into your or your overweight vata clients' lives.
Self-massage, sipping warm water, and even chewing gum are a few of the habits that vata-overweight people can adopt to start shedding the pounds and feeling more vibrant. Get a good handle on the basics and watch that excess vata weight drop off as a massive agni boost happens.
Making the Connection to Imbalanced Vata
So, how can you tell what's underneath all that extra weight? What are some signs to get familiar with? Start by looking at the gunas. Is the overweight person…
- More dry, or more oily?
- Typically hot, or usually cold?
- More quick-thinking, or slow and methodical?
- Outer or inner when it comes to personality?
If someone's an overweight vata, they'll probably have underlying tendencies toward irregularity. Kaphas have tendencies toward hyper-regularity, and they don't like change very much. Kaphas gain weight evenly throughout their bodies and might just look a bit stocky when they're overweight, but vatas gain weight in different parts of the body unevenly — maybe all in the chest/belly (like an apple shape), or all in the thighs/butt (like a pear shape).
Overweight vatas usually have plenty of issues around their digestion — with things like bloating, constipation, and IBS. Pitta-imbalanced people tend toward extra acidity with heartburn, and kaphas don't have much digestive discomfort. Poor nutrient absorption can be a big issue for vatas. Instead of processing their food, it might just sit in their systems without providing any value, just distress.
Vata weight may stay on in order to ground a person who's airy and scattered. You'll notice a lot of stress within them because they don't have the body frames to store that extra weight they're carrying — that's one of the biggest things to look for. Carrying extra weight almost makes them feel disembodied and disconnected.
Weight-loss Tips and Essentials for Vatas
How can overweight vatas seek and experience physical harmony? What steps can they take to experience more physical integration and groundedness to release poor-quality tissue? For a vata who's high in the ether element (and pretty spacy), here are some habits to start creating right away:
- Do self-massage with dry, gloved, or oiled hands. This increases digestive fire (agni) to start processing those nutrients and waking up tissue.
- Sip hot water throughout the day — about every 20 minutes. This wakes up the agni and starts pacifying fake hunger cravings. Many vatas eat emotionally to soothe anxiety, and they're not actually hungry.
- Chew gum. Like sipping water, this can help separate the false hunger cravings from the true ones and relax a stressed vata's nervous system. Chewing gum (and drinking lots of water) can help a vata stop confusing hunger and thirst.
- Take a walk, meditate, and breathe deeply and slowly to soothe that nervous energy.
- Eat one-pot meals frequently. Soups' and stews' ingredients are already combined, and it's much easier for an overweight vata to assimilate the hydrating nutrients. Dry, crunchy, complex foods are difficult for vatas to digest.
Two of the most important things for vatas to do are to stoke their digestive fires and really get into their bodies by eating, sleeping, walking, eliminating, and whatever-ing at the same time every day. That regularity is important, no matter what a person's constitution is.
You can watch the original vlog here.