09/19/2014 Mind-Body Health
The practice of self-care is essential for balancing all of the dosha types. For Vatas, the key to good self-care is rhythm and regularity.
One of the important goals of Ayurveda is being able to tune into yourself and recognize the signs of imbalance. As a Vata type, you feel energetic and creative when balanced but become restless and unfocused when out of balance. When you’re able to recognize the difference you can make shifts to restore your natural equilibrium.
Not a Vata?
The Importance of Self-Care
The practice of self-care is essential for balancing all of the dosha types. It’s about making your own health and well-being a priority. Although some people are conditioned to believe that taking time for themselves is selfish or indulgent, nothing could be further from the truth. If you neglect yourself and become depleted or ill, you won’t be able to fully express your love, creativity, and joy. Without good self-care, you are likely to feel resentment and resistance. You may find yourself snapping at family members and co-workers, or withdrawing to escape life’s demands.
The good news is that your body can tell you when something is off; all you have to do is listen. Here are the signs of balance and imbalance for Vata. As you read the descriptions, take note of the ones that best describe you. Would you say that you are currently more in balance or more out of balance?
A balanced Vata feels …
An out-of-balance Vata feels …
Balancing Vata With Rhythm and Regularity
Vatas love excitement and variety, but can quickly become overstimulated and frazzled. Instead of eating, sleeping, and exercising regularly, out-of-balance Vatas eat on the run, skip meals, exercise in fits and starts, and go to bed at odd hours. The remedy is to cultivate balanced habits, paying a little more attention to rhythm and regularity each day. Here are a few pointers that will help you balance Vata.
Get plenty of rest. Abundant restful sleep is particularly important for Vata types. It’s important to go to bed and get up at about the same time every day. This regularity in your sleep routine helps you fall asleep—and stay asleep—allowing you to get the ample rest you need. When you feel you’re pushing yourself too hard or overdoing any activity, whether physical or mental, stop and rest for five minutes.
The best rest, aside from sleep, is the deep relaxation provided by meditation. When you meditate, your heart rate and breathing slow as your body engages its natural self-repair mechanisms. The dosha that benefits the most from meditation is Vata. After spending just a few minutes in inner quiet, Vata emerges feeling thoroughly settled and refreshed.
Start your day with a self-massage. In the morning, massage your body with warm sesame oil or another Vata-balancing oil. In Ayurveda, this healing touch practice is known as a self-Abhyanga. It is particularly balancing for Vatas, who tend to be dry and cold.
Eat Vata-balancing meals on a predictable schedule. Even though the Vata appetite is variable, it is important for you to eat nourishing meals at regular intervals. The Vata dosha is aggravated by an empty stomach, and Vata types tend to quickly become imbalanced, exhausted, or under-nourished if they don’t sit down to three meals a day. Make sure that you include a warm, nourishing breakfast with substantial foods. Taking a little fresh ginger helps stimulate the appetite before a meal and aids digestion.
Drink lots of warm fluids throughout the day. Since Vata has a tendency to be dry and become dehydrated, create a routine of enjoying warm beverages throughout the day. Try warm water with lemon and honey or fresh gingerroot tea. Prepare the tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger in a pint thermos bottle and filling it with hot water. You may also enjoy a cup of warm milk with a sprinkle of cardamom or nutmeg before bedtime.
Tip: Don’t consume caffeine or alcohol when you’re trying to balance Vata, which is only aggravated by stimulants.
Put your attention on love. When Vata is out of balance, you may feel overwhelmed with fear and worry. Instead of trying to fight these feelings, focus your attention on love and compassion. What fills your heart with feelings of love? It may be as simple as spending a few minutes playing with your dog or cat, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of a flowering tree, or writing a note of gratitude to a friend. Create a list of simple love practices and pick a time to enjoy at least one a day. If you find yourself feeling anxious, put your hand on your heart and breathe deeply for a minute as you consider what you’re grateful for.
As you create rhythms and regularity that nourish your mind, body, and spirit, you will find yourself feeling more energized, balanced, and healthy.