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Vata Stool Analysis: What's a Vata Poo and What To Do?

Updated: May 1

What is a Vata poo? 💩 Do you experience hard stools that are difficult to pass? Gas? Bloating? Incomplete bowel movements? Irregular? Gurgling intestinal sounds? Extended lower belly?

Ready to get your poop together and become empowered? You don't have to be at the mercy of constipation.

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"About 4 million people in the United States have frequent constipation. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint, resulting in 2.5 million doctor visits annually." according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.


"Constipation is a condition in which a person has uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements. Generally, a person is considered to be constipated when bowel movements result in passage of small amounts of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week. However, normal stool elimination may consist of having a bowel movement three times a day or three times a week; it depends on the person." (Johns Hopkins Medicine.)


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Vata Stool Analysis: What's a Vata Poo and What To Do?


While the description of constipation is spot on, Ayurveda views healthy elimination differently. Having a bowel movement, even if it is a good one, three times a week does not feel good to most people, nor does it seem healthy.


If you eat three meals each day, and eliminate three times a week, how much stool are you walking around with in your belly? Let's face it, there's nothing like a good poop. You feel refreshed, clean, lighter, clearer, and ready for your next meal.


4 clear glasses with fire, water, space, soil representing the five elements


Everything and everyone in the world around us is composed of five great elements or, panchamahabhuta:

  1. Air (vayu)

  2. Fire (agni)

  3. Water(jal)

  4. Earth (prithvi)

  5. Space (aakash)


Ayurveda groups these elements into three basic energetic properties, known as doshas. These foundational energies (called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) are the building blocks of our entire universe.


Vata: That Which Moves


Vata dosha is characterized by space and air. The essential engine of the universe, Vata governs all functions of movement within the mind, body, and outer world. Like the elements it embodies, Vata’s physical properties are cold, dry, mobile, subtle, and light.


Vata’s powerful mobile nature is the source of creativity, expansion, openness, eagerness, and ingenuity. However, when Vata falls out of balance, we may feel scattered, ungrounded, tense, anxious, and experience poor sleep.


What does Ayurveda say about poop?

According to Ayurveda, the color, texture, frequency, and smell of your poop are all indicators of your overall health. For instance, if your poop is discolored, watery, or too hard, this points to internal issues within your digestive tract - and likely beyond.


When you understand how to analyze your elimination with Ayurveda, you can proactively address health issues early on — as opposed to waiting until your symptoms become conditions and diseases.


Ayurveda stool analysis is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that can see into the 30 feet of digestive tract.


In this article about poo, we’re going to explore what your poop says about your health — according to Ayurveda — and how to accurately analyze yours to assess what your body needs.


For information on what's regular vs. irregular bowel movements, how many times a day should you have a bowel movement, what the color of stool means, and a deep dive into Ayurveda stool analysis, visit our popular article Ayurveda Stool Analysis: What Your Poop Says About Your Health.


Why are bowel movements important in Ayurveda?


If you've been reading up on Ayurveda, you might be wondering why the digestive system is at the heart of every health concern in Ayurveda.


"When appetite is balanced, and digestion, assimilation, and elimination are working well, food is taken in and let go the way nature intended. We feel good, we don't have symptoms (heartburn, constipation, lose stool, bloat, pain, and gas) and our digestive system is working optimally and therefore, not forming ama."

--Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


What is Āma?


"Āma denotes the abnormal or impaired process of digestion and metabolism that leads to build up of toxic by-products, which cannot be neutralized or eliminated by the body." (National Institute of Health) "Āma is the root of all disease, illnesses, conditions, and imbalances, according to Ayurveda. This is why the digestive system is at the heart of any health concern.


"Think of a car engine's oil. When it is clean, it smoothly flows through the parts and the engine works well and the car operates correctly. What happens if the oil is not changed regularly? The viscosity changes, it becomes an overly thick, dirty, gunky substance that compromises the engine. That's car Āma. Eventually it will ruin the car's engine. Our number one job in Ayurveda, is to rid the body (and mind) of toxins (ama) so we enjoy good health."

--Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


Saumya Ayurveda's stool analysis chart


What are the symptoms of constipation?

Johns Hopkins states, "The following are the most common symptoms of constipation. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficult and painful bowel movements

  • Bowel movements fewer than three times a week

  • Feeling bloated or uncomfortable

  • Feeling sluggish

  • Abdominal pain

The symptoms of constipation may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis."

From Ayurveda's perspective, these are additional symptoms:

  • Coated tongue

  • Feeling the bowel movement was incomplete

  • Stuffed and blocked up sensation

  • Dry, hard, and possibly pellet like (think rabbit poop) stools

  • Alternating constipation and lose stools


What are complications of constipation?


It can be uncomfortable to talk about bowel movements, but it's an important topic. Constipation can lead to complications such as hemorrhoids, impacted fecal, or anal fissures, which can then result in rectal bleeding.


According to Johns Hopkins, "...straining also causes rectal prolapse, where a small amount of intestinal lining pushes out from the anal opening. "


According to Ayurveda, your digestive fire (agni) and state of ama are key to good health. Healthy elimination is a primary way of cleansing and detoxing the body and helps rid it of ama. From Ayurveda's perspective, digestive symptoms often reflective of broader dosha imbalances.

woman wondering

How To Recognize Vata Imbalances

Due to its dry nature, Vata is more prone to constipation. Here's a comprehensive list of common ways Vata imbalances manifest.


"The first sign of dosha imbalance is in the digestive system. If they are not rebalanced there, the doshas spills out and overflows, going into circulation and moving around the body (and mind). This is why Ayurveda takes to heart, what's going on in your gut." --Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


30 Signs of Vata Imbalances

Body:

  • Dry skin, hair, lips, joints

  • Dry digestive tract: gas, bloat, constipation

  • Dry, scanty, irregular periods, or absent flow. When your period is present, imbalanced Vata manifests as anxiety, insomnia, sharp or stinging cramps, and blood discoloration

  • General sense of feeling cold, hands and feet especially

  • Poor circulation

  • Tight muscles, twitches, muscle spasms and feeling clenched

  • Tics and tremors

  • Aches and pains here, there, and everywhere at times

  • Palpitations

  • Tinnitus

  • Dehydration

  • Weight loss, difficulty gaining weight, and weight loss and hair loss

  • Fidgeting or other extra movement

  • Dislike of cold and wind

  • Difficulty with loud noises

  • Light, interrupted sleep 

  • Difficulty sleeping, with waking, or difficulty and staying asleep

  • Feeling weak, fatigued, loss of vitality

  • Astringent taste, dryness in the mouth

  • Sense of wanting to run or runaway  

  • Lack of focus or forgetful

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering


Mind:

  • Anxiety, nervousness

  • Panic attacks, fear

  • Restless, agitated

  • Dizziness

  • Feeling ungrounded, spacey, scattered, overwhelmed

  • Excess worrying and thinking in general (“cannot shut my mind off, it just keeps talking.’)

  • Feeling sped-up, racing mind

  • Confused, shaky

  • Excessive talking


Vata's mobile (and sometimes unsettled) nature is balanced by our grounding free daily guided practices. 

Saumya Ayurveda's stool analysis chart

Vata Dosha Poop Analysis


Vata dosha body types are governed by air, which means they are more likely to experience dry, sluggish bowel movements, constipation, gas, and bloating.


What is a Vata-Type Stool?

A healthy Vata stool will be passed without gas, have a firm texture (but not too hard), be dark brown in color, have minimal odor, and be eliminated through your digestive system once a day, typically in the morning within 2-3 hours of waking.


When Vata is imbalanced, the stool will be dry and/or hard, may look like rabbit droppings (as in small, thin pellets), occur irregularly, cause gas before and during elimination, be darker (almost black) in color, and smell foul. It may feel as though bowel movement is incomplete.


Balanced Vata Stool Summary:

Quantity: Moderate

Quality: Slightly oily, soft

Consistency: Ripe banana

Float or Sink: Floats for lack of ama

Color: Light brownish-yellow Odor: Mild, non-offensive

Frequency: 1-2 times a day, upon waking and before coffee

Passes: Easily


Imbalanced Vata Stool Summary:

Quantity: Scanty

Quality: Dry, hard

Consistency: Rabbit type stool (pellets)

Float or Sink: Sinks

Color: Dark brown

Odor: Mild Frequency: Once a day or less

Passed: Difficult to pass, straining, uncomfortable



Complicated Imbalances

The doshas do not operate in isolation, there's a dynamic dance and it can get complicated. One example is alternating diarrhea and constipation. Long term dosha imbalances tend to involve more than one dosha and results in more involved issues. In this case, it is best to seek experienced guidance of a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner.


How to Balance Vata Poo


  1. Drink plenty of water: The number one key to a healthy stool is water. Being governed by air, Vata types are dry and especially prone to constipation. As such, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.

  2. Use food as medicine: When your body has the nutrients it needs to function properly, based on your unique constitution, it will thrive! Whenever possible, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible (local, whole foods are best) and try to avoid consuming anything that is overly processed and contains chemicals, harmful additives, and preservatives.

  3. Avoid Not Voiding: Please don't suppress the urge to have a bowel movement.

  4. Laxative Use: While it's understandable that stuck bowel movements feel awful, use of laxatives is not a long term solution.

  5. Free daily guided practices: In a nutshell, systematic progressive relaxation practices provide biofeedback and you can do the practices anywhere. According to Johns Hopkins, "Biofeedback is used to treat chronic constipation caused by anorectal dysfunction. This treatment retrains the muscles that control release of bowel movements."

"When your mind is relaxed and you're abiding in the rest, restore, relax side of your nervous system (versus flight-fight-freeze), the body and mind operate optimally. Digestion begins in the mind."

-Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


Vata Stool Analysis: What's a Vata Poo and What To Do? Empower yourself with Saumya Ayurveda.


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“I've definitely been more in touch with my body and definitely doing better with healthier bowel movements which is awesome!” 

-A.F., Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

“When I first met Veena, I had been chronically tired for a few months and I couldn’t figure out why or, how to fix it.  I also had increased anxiety despite taking an SSRI for years.  Practicing yoga asanas, breathing, and meditation helped, but something was clearly missing.  


Veena and I met for two hours, shortly after our initial meeting she had a plan for me, and I was off and running!  It was an easy plan to follow, and I experienced almost immediate results.


A week after starting my customized Ayurveda plan, I felt like a different person.  I had energy again and better than before.  Many life-long digestive issues disappeared, and others were greatly reduced.  

Using her herbalized oil cleared up skin issues and it was a lovely lesson in being kind to myself, which then made it easier to be kinder to others.


I had no idea how much poor digestion was fueling the anxiety and the ensuing irritability I felt for much of my life.


As a recovering alcoholic, it was disheartening to feel this way despite being active in a 12-step program for over 6 years.  The liver cleanse Veena suggested was effective and easy to do.  It felt good to take some tangible steps to support an organ that had taken such a beating for so many years. 

Veena’s Ayurveda approach has led to wonderfully positive changes in a short time. 


I have more energy, anxiety has decreased, irritability too, and I’m eating better than ever. It’s easier to meet life on life’s terms, to see the good, and to be active and social.   

I love being able to do simple things that have such a marked impact on my life.  I look forward to continued Ayurveda care with Veena.”  

--Stephanie M. Minnesota 


 

“Veena has been a dream to work with! I came to her with a number of concerns around my digestion, skin, and menstrual cycle, and she has helped me find so much improvement in all areas and more!” – Meg McNeil, Boulder, Colorado


 

“I worked with Veena to get out of my body’s fight or flight state due to feeling a lack of stability while being uprooted from a home for many years. She also addressed digestion and hormones. It was a very nourishing experience that unlocked a lot of deeper truths that my body was ready to reveal. Thank you.”

-Vanessa Feils, USA

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There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.


"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.


2. Free Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.



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"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota


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Veenat at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.


She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.


Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.


These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.


She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.


An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

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