Changing Winds: How They Affect Your Dosha
Wind is often characterised by Vata-dosha in Ayurveda, itself being composed of both akasha (space/ether) and vayu (wind/air). Various types of wind generally aggravate vata, owing to wind’s subtle nature.
The three biological humors in Ayurveda or doshas are Vata-dosha, Pitta-dosha (composed of agni or fire and jala or water) and Kapha-dosha (composed of jala or water and prithivi or earth). Of these, Vata, the wind-humor, is the most subtle; Pitta, the fire and bilious humor, being the next most subtle; and Kapha, the water and phlegm humor, being the most dense.
In Ayurveda, various changes in our natural environment—as simple as directions of the wind blowing—can create various issues connected with aggravating these doshas, which is also an interesting science.
If we are going out for a walk in the wind, which will aggravate Vata, especially in autumn and drier seasons, we can also make a note of which direction the wind is blowing, which also gives us indications of how this will aggravate the doshas.
Wind that blows primarily from the East is said to be heavy and unctuous and has a sweet and salty taste. It thus aggravates Kapha-dosha, which shares these properties, and Pitta-dosha and rakta (blood), due to the salty taste.
It also aggravates those who are suffering from issues such as poisoning, ulcers and injuries due to accidents, and it causes burning sensations.
It does, however, alleviate fatigue and swelling, and reduces Vata.
Wind that blows primarily from the Southern direction is said to be light in property and sweet, alleviating Pitta-dosha and blood, without aggravating Vata.
It helps promote strength to the body and helps the eyesight, which is related to Pitta. It can also relieve bleeding, owing to its sweet property, which has a Pitta-reducing and cooling nature (shita-virya).
Wind that blows primarily from the West is said to strongly alleviate Kapha-dosha, but owing to its also sharp, dry, rough and light natures can cause emaciation and reduce strength (especially in Vata types).
It reduces fat-tissue (owing to it’s dry and Vata-increasing nature) and decreases unctuousness seen in Kapha types, especially reducing congestion and phlegm.
Wind that blows primarily from the Northern direction is said to not aggravate any of the three doshas and has an unctuous, soft and sticky nature to it, with sweet and astringent tastes.
For healthy people, it is said to promote strength and is useful in cases of emaciation due to TB and poisoning. Where ama or toxins are present, however, it can aggravate the doshas due to its moist nature.
Reading the Winds for You
Naturally, due to the various climates around the globe, variations exist and may be exchanged. However, the central theme is that various types of wind do aggravate the doshas in different manners and can be used to reduce other doshas.
We can assess the various properties or gunas of the winds that blow around us and thereby understand how they aggravate the doshas and which winds are predominant.
As an example, coastal communities along eastern coastlines will experience strong and cool sea-breezes from Easterly winds that will provoke the doshas—especially Vata and Kapha—owing to their cooler natures, despite other properties. In the autumn-winter seasons in these regions, it is hence best for people—especially of Vata and Kapha constitutions—to avoid going out for walks when such winds are blowing, as they can be causative factors of disease.
Various winds can also affect our mental states by their qualities and properties. Cooler winds on cloudy days can make us feel lethargic, lacking in energy and depressed, due to their darker (tamasic), heavier and cooler natures. Warmer winds have a drying nature, but can sometimes affect a person by their secondary directional natures.
The different properties of wind are thus intimately connected with desha (location) and rtu (season) in Ayurveda and can affect people differently, based on a person’s basic biological constitution (prakriti), any temporal deviations from it (vikriti), their age (stage of life) and sex (for example, females are more likely to be aggravated by Kapha-provoking winds and men by Pitta-provoking types).
Like planetary changes, these subtle effects in Ayurveda simply present an example of another deeper level of which various diseases can be created by vitiation of the doshas or reducing their effects by the various effects and qualities of nature around us, such as wind.
We can start to examine these properties or qualities (gunas) of the winds around us in our local climates and locations to begin assessing the effects they have on our doshas. This is also a deeper aspect of examining how the doshas are affected in Ayurveda by the environment around us and what predominating features provoke them by their qualities and effects.