Ayurvedic medicine has been around for over 5,000 years. In Sanskrit it means “the science or art of life.” Ayurveda teaches that everything on Earth – including us humans – have an energy field called Prana.
We all share this same life energy, but each person also has their own unique combination of three energies known as Doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. These doshas interact with one another throughout your day-to-day activities, creating imbalances within you. When these imbalances occur, they manifest physically through symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, skin problems, etc.
Vata is the season of change. It’s a time when we are transitioning from summer, which was hot and dry, to fall, which will be cold and damp. The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the trees are changing color. This transition can cause some discomfort in our bodies as well as our minds.
Here are 5 tips for how you can ease your way through this transitional period:
1. Eat more warming, nourishing foods
Warm food helps us feel grounded and stable. We need grounding when transitioning out of hot weather. Cold temperatures make it harder to stay balanced. So eat warming foods like soups, stews, curries, etc… that help keep you warm inside while also keeping you cool outside.
When choosing what to include in your diet, try to choose organic whenever possible. Organic produce has not had pesticides sprayed on it and therefore contains higher levels of nutrients than conventionally grown products. Also, avoid refined sugars such as white flour, white rice, etc. These types of carbohydrates cause blood glucose spikes which lead to insulin resistance and weight gain over time. Try to stick to whole grains and root vegetables like sweet potato instead. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, barley, and corn are great options.
Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants called phytochemicals that help protect against free radical damage caused by pollution, stress, smoking, sun exposure, poor nutrition, aging, and other factors.
Water keeps us hydrated, but it also has an important cooling effect on the body. When we drink lots of water during these colder months, it makes us less thirsty so we don't have to constantly reach for sugary drinks or alcohol. If we're not drinking enough, then we'll start craving things that give us energy instead of what's best for us.
Dehydration causes headaches, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, muscle cramps, and even heart problems. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses per day. If you have any health issues or chronic conditions, talk with your practitioner about drinking additional amounts of water.
3. Get moving!
Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and calmness. Endorphins are natural painkillers, so exercise gives us relief even if we aren't feeling any physical aches and pains. Plus, movement stimulates blood flow throughout the entire body, helping with circulation and digestion and elimination. Stressful situations lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating and overdrinking. By taking good care of ourselves physically and emotionally, we can better handle stressful times.
Yoga Practice is one great form of exercise since it combines breathing exercises with stretching and strength training. There are tons of different styles of yoga available online and through local classes.
4. Get enough sleep
Develop a daily routine of sleep. Our bodies function optimally after a full night’s sleep. In fact, our immune system functions most effectively when we get 7 hours of uninterrupted rest each night. During wintertime, many people find themselves staying up later into the evening because they want to be awake longer before bedtime. This leads to insomnia, lack of focus, and decreased productivity. To combat this problem, set yourself up for success by getting adequate sleep every single night.
Sleep allows our brains to process all the information coming at them throughout the day. If we aren’t sleeping properly, then we won’t get any restorative benefits from our daily activities. Getting adequate amounts of sleep each night helps balance vata dosha.
5. Clean out the old If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to cleanse your home and yourself before winter sets in. Here are 3 ways to do just that:
- Use essential oils to freshen up your space. Essential oil diffusers work great because they use steam heat rather than electricity. You can find many different scents available online or at local stores. Try lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, clary sage, chamomile, cedar-wood, cypress, geranium, jasmine, juniper berry, patchouli, pine, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme, vetiver, ylang ylang, and/or vanilla.
- Wash everything down using distilled white vinegar. Vinegar cleanses by removing toxins from the air and surfaces around us. Just add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to about 2 gallons of water and let sit overnight. Then rinse off the next morning.
- Take advantage of indoor plants. Indoor plants purify the air and provide oxygen. They absorb bad odors and remove harmful chemicals from the environment. Some people prefer having live plants indoors versus fake ones made of plastic or ceramic.
What other tips do you use for great transitioning to vata dosha? Please share in the comments.