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Identifying the Doshas: What Does Vata Dosha Look Like?

Do you wonder if you might be vata dosha? Vata is the dosha comprised primarily of air and ether (space), and the qualities associated with these two elements (cold, dry, light, mobile). Below you will find the physical characteristics which are typical of vata. 
In addition to these physical characteristics, vata types tend to be enthusiastic, bouncy, and full of ideas. When out of balance, they can be anxious, fearful and prone to overwhelm. Physically they tend towards constipation, gas, dry skin, aches and pains. Does this describe you?

Physical Characteristics of Vata Dosha


The shape of the face of a person with a vata nature is oblong. The thinner the face, the greater amount of vata that is present. 


The eyes of a person of vata nature tend to be small relative to the size of the face. This reflects their subtle nature. They do not stand out or jump out at you.


The nose of a person of vata nature is small relative to the size of the face. The bridge of the nose is narrow. This, too, reflects the subtle nature of vata. 


The lips of a person of vata nature tend to be narrow and may appear chapped, reflecting the dry nature of vata. 
The complexion of a person with a vata nature tends to be dull or dusty. 


The hair of a person with a vata nature tends to be dry, kinky, brittle and coarse. When vata is increased and out of balance, there is a tendency toward hair loss, resulting in less fibers per square inch. 


The skin of a person with a vata nature tends to be dry and thin. The skin of the lips may appear chapped and the dry skin may lead to dandruff and flaky patches on the body. 


The bone structure of a person with a vata nature tends to be narrow. Narrow is a relative term that assesses the circumference of a bone relative to its length. Vata-type bones tend to be long with a narrow circumference. People with a vata nature may also have irregularities in the shape of their bones, with some bones appearing abnormally long or short. Because of the lack of muscular development, the bones of people of vata nature appear to be very prominent. 


The shape of the bones is often reflected in the neck. Vata types tend to have long necks that are narrow and not very muscular. 


People of vata nature tend to have long, narrow fingers. The longest finger is most often longer than the length of the palm. The palm itself tends to be long and its shape is rectangular. 


People with a vata nature or imbalance tend to have thin nails that easily crack. 

Body Build 

The overall body build of a person of vata nature or imbalance tends to be narrow, or ectomorphic. This reflects their light quality. They tend to be skinny without much musculature. Taken as a whole, it is observed that the length of their body is long relative to the circumference of their body. This is the defining feature, regardless of height.
Excerpt from “Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda