Here is a quick guide to Healthy Living for Vata Dosha in Autumn.
The foundation of health in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine are Lifestyle and Diet. To build a temple you have to make the foundation first. Here is a template for a lifestyle that will keep Vata dosha in check during the time of year when it naturally elevates, Late Autumn and Early Winter. Also useful for pacifying Vata any time of year
Constitutional Type versus Current Imbalance
Its important to learn your inherited primary, secondary, and tertiary dosha, called Prakruti, so you can create as healthy a lifestyle as you can. Prakruti is the dosha you were born with.
But, its also important to know which of your doshas are currently elevated (vitiated, unbalanced). This is called your Vikruti.
Its the elevated dosha that demands the most immediate attention, but you do need to know your Prakruti, so that you can be sure not to harm your Primary and Secondary dosha while pacifiying whichever dosha is high. If you are Vata dominant, or your Vata is elevated, then Late Autumn/Early Winter is the time of year you will have to take special measures to stay balance. In San Diego, anytime we have Santa Ana conditions with hot dry dusty wind from the desert, Vata (and if quite hot, Pitta,) will elevate.
Vata Dosha in a Nutshell–Cold, Dry, Quick
Vata dosha is increased by things that are similar to its own nature. It is increased by cold and dry temperature, by cold and dry food, and by cold or dry experiences. Vata is also damaged by excessive movement, travel, fear provoking experiences, the inability to face fear, and by irregularity in ones lifestyle. Irregularity includes things like travel for work or fun, moving homes, jobs, or life partners.
Vata dominates naturally in Late Autumn/Early Winter as the nights grow long, and the air dry and cold. It dominates any time the climate is dry and/or cold. Vata dosha is pacified by its opposites: warm moist weather, warm moist food, warm moist experiences, stability, safety, regularity.
At its essence Vata needs to be calmed, warmed, grounded, and moistened. Vata bears some strong comparison to the Metal Element in Chinese medicine.
Tips to Keep Vata Dosha Balanced in Autumn
*Eat warm, nourishing meals on a regular basis.
*Minimize dry and cold foods like cold cereal.
*Favor foods that are warm, heavy, oily/unctuous, sweet, sour, and salty.
*Reduce cold, dry, light, spicy hot, bitter, and astringent foods and meals
*No iced beverages.
*Favor warm liquids. In India, old folks drink hot water. They are in the Vata stage of life.
*Avoid stimulants like coffee and even tea if your Vata dosha is very high with symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. Vata herbal tea is great.
*avoid fasting or do mono-diet fasting with kichari. Spring is a better time to fast.
*establish a regular routine of food, exercise, rest, and sleep
*Have a regular practice involving systematic deep relaxation such as Yang Family Style Tai Qi or Hatha Yoga
*do an Ayurvedic self-massage with warm sesame oil or herbalized sesame oil 1x a week
*get plenty of rest—early to bed early to rise for Vata.
*eat meals with friends or alone quietly, but not in front of the TV or while reading.
*stay warm during cold, windy weather
*remedy dry weather with a humidifier and with self oil massage with sesame oil
*create a calm quiet home environment with meditation and simple non-cluttered decorating
*take vacations to warm moist calm places like rural areas in the tropics
*have fun, but avoid excessive stimulation like at casinos, Las Vegas, noisy restaurants. Try museums and cathedrals instead.
*reduce unnecessary travel. When you can walk or take the train rather than drive.
*Notice when you are nervous or anxious. Deal with issues creating anxiety. Talk it over. Work with a psychologist if you need to. Meditate.
*Have a regular Mindfulness or some kind of meditation practice
*Treat insomnia if you have it. You need to sleep. Use herbs and deal with issues keeping you up
*Treat anxiety if you have it with Herbal medicine, acupuncture, Mindfulness based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
*Have good sleep culture. Nothing electronic in the bedroom–no TV, no illuminated radio clock. Keep the clock in the other room.
*Let the bedroom be a refuge from the vigilance/pressure of the clock and from stimulating electronics.
* Do body scanning/progressive relaxation at night before bed.
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