Ninety minutes and
$120 later, Cate diagnosed me with vata derangement.
Sounds extreme, I know. But what is it, really? Turns out that whether
we recognize it or not, vata derangement is a highly common
ailment in our fast-paced modern society. Here's a rough summary:
In ayurveda, the human constitution is comprised of three essential
forces: vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (earth).
Each of us is governed by these forces to varying degrees. For example,
someone who is very energetic but quick-tempered is probably ruled by
fire. When one element or another takes on too much influence in our
bodies, imbalance occurs.
The air element (just as the wind) tends to bring about erratic motion.
So a person with an air imbalance is much like a plastic bag flitting
about on a busy highway. Every time a car speeds by, the bag goes whoosh and
tumbles around uncontrollably. Sometimes, it sails beautifully and peacefully
through the air, but eventually, an unexpected current snaps it in another
This all makes for a pretty bumpy ride. Varying catalysts shift people
into vata derangement: death of a loved one, sudden unemployment,
an ugly break-up, and natural disaster are just a few of these. For me,
it was a drastic relocation that “threw” me. Whatever the cause, the
effect is the same: an empowered, confident, and focused person becomes
distracted, overwhelmed, and vulnerable.
Cate sent me off with a list of “prescriptions,” which thankfully had
nothing to do with popping pills. Instead, she recommended rituals that
I was to integrate into my daily life. The key to curing my plastic-bag
syndrome, said Cate, was to establish a steady routine that would ground