I’d like to think it’s still summer here in the Tri-Cities…but…
Have you noticed the chill in the night/morning air? The shortening of the days? The Back to School sales?
Yeah, despite wanting to hold onto summer for a while longer – all the signs are here. Fall is just around the corner. And with the start of fall comes the increases in vata dosha. Doshas are the three energies described in Ayurveda, the traditional health science that is a sister science to yoga. Each of these energies, or doshas, controls part of the body’s functions. Vata is the dosha that controls movement in the body and creativity of thought; however, when out of balance it also leads to increased anxiety, confusion, insomnia, dry skin, and constipation.
As soon as the first signs of fall start to show – so do the physical and mental ailments associated with vata. But, luckily, ayurveda doesn’t just explain the phenomenon – it provides us with the tools to help calm the “vata monster,” as one of my ayurveda clients puts it. Vata is associated with the properties of dry, cold, and light – so to soothe vata, we need to increase the opposite qualities of moist, warm and heavy. You can do this in several ways:
Try a warm bath with oil.
Self-massage with sesame oil, especially before bedtime to combat insomnia.
Prefer warm, cooked, well-seasoned foods (think oatmeal with cinnamon instead of cold cereal, or soups instead of salads).
Or try one of my favorite ways calm vata – spend a few minutes each day practicing a restorative yoga pose, such as Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall pose). It takes about 5-7 minutes in this pose to feel the calming effect, so stay at least 10 minutes to get the full benefit. This pose also helps with insomnia – practice it before bedtime or if you wake in the night, and you’ll soon be ready to drift back off to sleep.
By taking care of the vata dosha through these techniques, we reduce our anxiety levels allowing us to deal more easily with all the stresses of our daily lives. Try these techniques and see what happens when you calm your “vata monster”! When in balance, the vata dosha provides us with great creativity, insight, and vision. Tap into the positive side of your vata dosha and reap the benefits of reduced anxiety.
Heather Anastos, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner