Vata disturbances are difficult to manage because people become accustomed to them under the name of "stress" -- spending billions of dollars a year on therapy, sleep aids, and so on. Stress-related illnesses are so pervasive in Western culture that many traditonal physicians in both Ayruveda and Tibetan Medicine see vata-related conditions as being the number one acute health problem facing those in the West. It is not a coincidence that the cause of vata in the human body is the affliction of desire. There is direct link between our consumerist society, the stimulation of desire, and the resultant vata imbalances that so many people experience.
The seasons also play a role in vata-imbalances. Though the fall season is traditionally considered to be the season in which pitta dośa [nyes pa mkhris pa] accumulated during the summer manifests as a disease in both classical Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine, we lack a late summer rainy season in the northern hemisphere, followed by an intensely hot autumn. In our climate, the late summer is when the days are hot but the nights are cool. This produces the manifestation of many dual vata-pitta disorders, and so we commonly observe the increase of vata imbalances combined with pitta imbalances in the form of rampant colds and flues, and so on, that afflict the northern hemisphere every year.
From the perspective of Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine, one of the main reasons our immunity becomes compromised is that our constant level of stress directly degrades and damages ojas (mdangs), the subtle life-sustaining fluid that permeates our entire body and supports our life-force. Therefore, the we need to reduce our overall levels of stress in order to reduce damage the damage to ojas which directly supports our vitality, our health, and our wellbeing.
Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive alternatives for the management and alleviation of vata imabalances. Yoga, proper exercise, massage and self-massage with a high quality traditionally-crafted Ayurvedic massage oil suited to your individual constitution, praṇāyāma, and meditation are important methods of reducing stress and controlling vata imbalances. Diet is also important: eating with the seasons, eating regularly, eating whole foods in proper combinations and so on. All of these factors contribute to the management of vata related symptoms. In addition, we may occaisonally need to resort to herbal supplements to assist in bringing our three dośas back into balance.
For persons of general good health, one of the best formulas for controlling vata disturbances is Vimala. Vimala (Dza ti 20) is special formula developed by the great Indian Pandita and Dzogchen master, Vimalamitra in the eighth century. The traditional uses of Vimala are described in Vimalamitra's Eighty-Four Thousand Healing Therapies:
A special therapy for vata (rlung) in the heart:Vimala is a balanced formula, the basis of which is Nutmeg, Terminalia chebulam, Boswellia serrata and Aquilaria malaccensis. Nutmeg and Boswellia serrata are warming; Terminalia Chebula and Aquilaria malaccensis are cooling, and all are used in controlling wind. In particular, the function of nutmeg is to regulate wind in the central channel and heart cakra. In addition to these four herbs, Vimala has a number of other supporting herbs which control wind and support the heart cakra.
when the nine wicked spirit siblings are rampant,
no one will be unaffected by this disease.
The symptoms are depression
mental instability, disturbed thinking,
pain and tightness in front and back of the upper body,
lack of mental clarity, poor memory,
being sad for no reason, restlessness,
hostility, lethargy and agitation, shortness of breath,
acute fainting. Because various illnesses
arise, the method of healing them with medicine is demonstrated.
Vimala might be described as the meditator's formula of choice. Vimala is an excellent herbal support for those who are embarking in meditation retreats where vata or "rlung" disturbances are a constant issue. In addition to this, since Vimala assists the regulation of the praṇāvāyu in the heart cakra, it is an excellent aid for supporting calm and restful sleep. For an anupāna (sman rta, foods and drinks to enhance the effect of the medicine), Vimala may be combined with warmed milk sweetened with sucanet or a small portion of high quality aged alcohol such as 10-year old tawny port or brandy. When used in combination with a vata-reducing diet, regular massage, and light exercise such as yoga or walking, Vimala plays a role supporting calmness and a positive mood.
Why should one choose Vimala over Agar 35? Agar 35 is considered to be the heaviest and coolest of all the Agar preparations. Agar 35 is classified as a heat-removing formula recommended for general vata (rlung) disorders, especially those combined with heat. Agar 35 is contra-indicated where there is a heat condition in the upper body and a cold condition in the lower body (i.e. below the diaphragm), when there is an unproductive cough, arthritis, and so on.
In the past, Tibetan formulas such as Vimala have been hard to find. This formula can be obtained from Siddhi Energetics.