Ayurveda & the arrival of Vata season (anxiety alert!)

BarbaraSinclairToday I am sharing a wonderful and insightful Ayurvedic article from a friend and fellow holistic health practitioner Barbara Sinclair.

Ayurveda’s seasonal calendar revolves around the three doshas
VataPitta, and Kapha. The doshas are forces, or energies, comprised of the five elements – space (ether)airfirewater and earth that make up our human physiology. The same elements that are in nature are within us, as well.

Your prakriti (or prakruti) is your individual constitution which you were born with and it never changes
It is determined by the combination of doshas which are dominant in your psycho-physiological makeup, dependent upon your parents’ prakritis at the moment of your conception.

All three doshas are present in each of us, just to varying degrees
Most people are a combination of two dominant doshas – rarely just one. Even more rare is a prakriti with three equal doshas (tri-doshic).

Your vikriti (or vikruti) is your current state of balance
This is influenced by diet, lifestyle, emotions, the seasons, etc. We want to strive to be balanced in mind, body and spirit while paying special attention to the balancing properties of our particular dominant doshas.

“The Ayurvedic texts say that a disease can take root in the body only during the junctions between the seasons, when all nature is in flux. Because of the upheaval dominating these junctions, the body’s natural immunity becomes virtually defenseless against impending disease.” – Maya Tiwari

A critical fact to bear in mind is that an excess of a dosha can build up over the months and it is important to address this before moving into the next Ayurvedic season. If your Pitta has been high all summer, you want to get the excess heat out of your body so that it doesn’t get trapped and lead to health issues.

Even if Vata is not your primary dosha, you may find yourself feeling a little anxious or scattered as the temperature drops and the wind begins to blow.

If you are unsure of your constitution, you can take this quiz. Or consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner to help you figure it out and make proper lifestyle adjustments.

Remember, we are made up of all three doshas and their earthly elements. It is Vata dosha, which is comprised of air (think movement) and ether (space), that is responsible for racing thoughts and a pounding heart that create anxiety. Vata is the dosha most likely to get out of balance, but luckily can can come back just as easily. In a word, it’schangeable.

The attributes of Vata dosha are dry, mobile, cold, light, rough, clear and subtle. All of these characteristics are heightened during Vata Season as well as during the Vata times of day – 2:00-6:00am and 2:00-6:00pm.

Here are a few signs that your Vata dosha might be increased and needs balancing:

  • Feelings of heightened anxiety, nervousness and fear
  • Bothered by cold and wind
  • Sleep is interrupted and light
  • Excess worrying
  • Excess stimulation is bothersome–i.e. crowds and loud noises
  • Intestinal gas, constipation
  • Dryness–skin, hair, stools, eyes, etc.
  • Feeling disorganized and overwhelmed
  • Can’t sit still
  • Fatigue following bursts of energy. Crash and burn (this is typical of Vata energy)

So, what to do to ease this transition and stay healthy? Like increases like in Ayurveda, so think opposite to bring your Vata back into balance by:

  • Dressing warmly and keeping a scarf around your neck, especially if windy. The back of the neck is very vulnerable to wind.
  • Eating more warm, gently cooked seasonal foods. Root vegetables are especially grounding for Vatas.
  • Avoiding cold drinks. Opt instead for warm beverages like spiced herbal teas, warm spiced milk, or warm lemon water with honey.
  • Eating enough healthy fats and oils (especially ghee)
  • Avoiding over-exercising, which can aggravate already high-energy Vata. Gentle yoga, tai chi and qi gong are excellent choices.
  • Taking quiet walks in Nature is grounding for airy Vatas.
  • Meditation and pranayama (breathing practice) can help soothe Vata anxiety and fear.
  • Daily self-massage with warm grounding oils like sesame or almond oil is extremely calming to the nervous system. Or, try an herbalized Vata oil.
  • Try to stay away from loud, noisy environments and when you can’t avoid them, take a moment to breathe deeply and find your inner calm.
  • Keeping a regular routine with regards to sleeping, eating, working, etc. is imperative for Vatas, who love variety and can easily lose focus. An ideal bedtime is between 9:30–10:00pm.
  • Nurturing yourself as much as possible on a daily basis!
  • Determining your Ayurvedic prakriti (click HERE). Follow the food guidelines for your constitution and you’ll be on the right track.

On a positive note, there are so many wonderful things about Vata types. When balanced, they are creative, optimistic, joyful, forgiving, flexible, and full of enthusiasm. They thrive on change and love to discover and experience new things.

A cautionary tale, however, to over-enthusiastic Vata-types is to not let ourselves get burned out during this season. The word to keep in our consciousness is nurture. Body, mind and spirit.

Much love,
Barbara.
(and Sharode.)

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Youtube