Tips for Balancing Vata

In Ayurveda, vata dosha is comprised of air and ether. Spring and fall are the vata seasons, characterized by dryness, mobility, lightness, and coolness. If our constitution and/or our lifestyle mirror these qualities, we risk depleting our ojas—our “fluid of life.” But if we introduce the opposing qualities, we can enhance our ojas. Think nourishing, warm, grounding practices. Here are some simple tips to support balance during vata seasons, or if you tend toward vata any time of the year.

  • Choose grounding foods such as sweet potatoes; moist, warming grains and soups; organic oils and ghee; and natural, high-quality sweeteners (i.e., maple syrup or raw honey).
  • Integrate warming and carminative (gas-relieving) spices (such as cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper, cardamom, and basil) into your cooking.
  • Avoid dry, raw, and undercooked foods.
  • Practice waking up at sunrise and going to bed at the same time every night, maintaining eight hours of restful sleep.
  • Do self-massage daily with warm sesame oil, paying extra attention to the feet.
  • Eat meals at the same time daily: ideally, breakfast between 7:00 and 8:30 am, lunch between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and dinner between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. Make lunch your biggest meal and dinner your smallest.
  • Avoid overstimulation. Take time daily for reflection and stillness.

Sarajean Rudman, E-RYT 500, is a clinical nutritionist, Kripalu Yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, life coach, fitness instructor, and outdoor adventure guide.

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