Stay Balanced in Vata Season
As the cool, dry, often blustery winter weather settles in the Northern hemisphere, you may experience signs and symptoms that suggest your Vata dosha is out of balance. Similar to late fall and winter weather patterns, the qualities of Vata are cold, dry, light, irregular, rough, moving, and changeable.
Wait, what’s a dosha? In the ancient science of Ayurveda, there are three primary doshas that make up our physical and mental constitutions. We contain elements of all three, but one will likely be primary in our makeup. If you want to learn more, try an online quiz.
Late fall and winter are Vata season, and when the seasonal patterns match the qualities of a dosha, there is a greater chance that the dosha will be aggravated. Some of the most common symptoms that occur when your Vata dosha is out of balance are anxiety, dry or chapped skin, indigestion, sudden bouts of fatigue, and light interrupted sleep.
There are additional physical symptoms that can occur:
- cold hands and feet
- aversion to cold and wind
- irregular appetite
- low body weight
- aversion to loud noises
- irregular menstruation
And signs of mental imbalances:
- racing mind
If you are experiencing some or all of these signs and symptoms, there are several steps you can take to bring your Vata dosha back into balance.
Commit to a regular routine
When Vata is out of balance, there is a tendency to avoid routine and skip meals. To balance the aggravated dosha, practice the opposite quality. Rather than surrender to the temptation to discard your routines and book the next plane ticket out of here, take a moment to organize your days into a soothing routine full of self-care and balance. As a rule of thumb, try to sleep before 10 p.m. and eat regular meals around the same time each day.
You may find that you are chilled all the way to your bones, finding it nearly impossible to stay warm. Add some layers to your clothing, sip on warm milk or ginger tea and keep your head covered if it’s frosty or blustery outside. Add some blankets to your bed at night and take warm baths with nourishing bath oils.
Book your favorite masseuse, get some reflexology done, or take five minutes to give yourself a massage using warming oils such as sesame or almond. Let this habit become a weekly or monthly routine. Massage boosts circulation and promotes relaxation.
<< Read more: The Powerful Ayurvedic Practice Of Abhyanga >>
Play relaxing music, choose to be around friends who make you feel calm and relaxed, use aromatherapy, take deep breaths often, pause in between tasks, and schedule self-soothing time.
Keep your exercise routine light
You may be feeling particularly light and craving some intense exercise to calm your anxious mind, but pause for a moment and choose a movement practice that is light, promoting flexibility and balance rather than speed. Take a nature walk or stroll with a friend. Practice gentle yoga, tai chi or qi gong. Take a dance class or go for an easy bike ride. Focus on breathing deeply and be gentle with yourself.
Eat to balance Vata
When Vata is aggravated, you may skip meals or eat at irregular times. To bring yourself back into balance, eat full-sized, well-portioned meals, but avoid overeating.
Sip on tea and warm liquids throughout the day and avoid chilled beverages.
Sweet, sour, and salty tastes pacify Vata. Favor warming, oily, and heavy foods such as natural grains (particularly rice and wheat), soups and stews, cooked root vegetables, and sweet fruits (bananas, avocados, coconut, figs, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, dates, etc.). If you consume animal products, warm milk soothes Vata. Buy organic eggs, chicken, turkey and seafood.
Integrate Vata-pacifying spices: cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mustard seed, basil, cilantro, fennel, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme, and black pepper.
Avoid bitter, pungent and astringent foods. Minimize your intake of beans, aside from mung bean dahl and tofu. Light, dry fruits such as apples and cranberries can aggravate Vata. To avoid indigestion, steer clear from cabbage, sprouts, and raw vegetables in general.
Photo by David Ragusa via Unsplash
- Self Care,