Easy Tips for Balancing Vata Dosha
If you’re reading this, it probably means you have a vata imbalance (or think you might) and you’d like to find a way to feel better.
COMMON SIGNS OF VATA IMBALANCE:
-you’re often anxious, jumpy, worried, or restless
-you’re constipated, bloated, or gassy
-your skin/hair is very dry
-you feel mentally scattered, unfocused, or spacey
-you struggle staying still, both mentally and physically
-you’re experiencing excess weight loss, perhaps without even trying
-you’re experiencing pain in the joints, nerves, or muscles
-your joints crack a lot when you move
-you feel cold most of the time, especially hands and feet
-you become lightheaded or dizzy easily
If you checked off several of those signs above, you’ve probably got a vata imbalance brewing. But not to worry. Below are some simple Ayurvedic practices and tips to incorporate into your life to get your vata in check and experience greater health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
FOODS TO BALANCE VATA:
If we want to balance our vata, the best place to start is our food. Food is medicine. To pacify your excess vata dosha, eat more grounding, warming, hearty foods that are sweet, sour, and salty. We want to nourish and ground our vata qualities.
Vata does well with:
-root vegetables (think potatoes, carrots, yams, beets)
-leafy greens (make sure they’re cooked)
-grains (oats, rice, quinoa, millet, wheat)
-legumes and beans (debatable depending who you talk to, but in my experience, beans have been extremely healing and detoxifying. Ask Karen Hurd.)
-nuts and seeds (all are awesome)
-oils and fats (avocado, olive, almond, sesame, flaxseed, butter, ghee… all great for vata’s dry nature)
-dairy (if you’re not vegan, I recommend raw cow milk or goat milk from a local, humane, and trustworthy farm)
-spices (all spices are great for vata, especially cinnamon, ginger, cumin, clove, chai, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. —just keep super spicy things like cayenne, hot peppers, and hot mustards at bay because they can be too drying for vata’s already dry nature)
-small amounts of sweet fruits and natural sugars like honey and molasses are good for vata as well.
Use the above foods as your base for soups, warm salads, buddha bowls, and warm cereals. When vata goes off track, the number one thing to look at is your diet. Where can you warm up your meals? Can you make your meals fuller, moister, more nourishing? Can you add spices that generate heat or give you that (healthy) comfort food vibe?
LIFESTYLE PRACTICES TO BALANCE VATA:
Once you’ve incorporated some (all?!) of the above foods, move on to lifestyle practices. Here are just a few simple ideas you can start adding to your days, if you don’t already.
-slow walks in nature, preferably when the sun is out (even just 15-30 minutes is enough)
-gentle yoga practices (no need to go over 60 minutes, even 15 minutes is great)
-hot epsom salt baths (consider adding a bath tea that uses grounding, relaxing herbs like lavender or chamomile)
-abhyanga: massage yourself daily with oil (sweet almond, sesame, or jojoba is great)
-routine (try to wake up the same time each day, go to sleep same time each night, and try to make your mealtimes the same every day to generate some stability for your body and mind)
-pranayama/breathing exercises that focus on deep, grounding, and balancing breaths, like alternate nostril breathing. Occasionally adding a solar pranayama practice could be beneficial.
-meditate every single day (even five minutes of stillness in the morning or at night is effective)
-sleep (try to be in bed before 10pm and get 8 hours of sleep every night. Also… if you’re tired, take a nap. Vata needs good rest!)
-eat your meals slowly, with people you love, in a space you feel at peace (make your eating environment as ideal as possible. Eating should be a joyful, pleasant, social experience. It will help your body absorb nutrients better and keep your digestion stronger.)
-tongue scraping (every morning, before eating or drinking anything, scrape your tongue. It will remove the toxins built up overnight as you slept. This aids in proper digestion, cleaner breath, and keeps the body healthier in general, while even improving the efficiency of your taste buds. If you don't have a tongue scraper, here's one, or you can use a spoon!)
-remove all refined sugar and highly processed foods from your diet. Instead, stick to whole, primarily plant based foods, ideally from a local farm (this is HUGE for becoming truly healthy and feeling good in your body)
-remove all conventional toxic cleaning supplies from your house and switch to natural homemade mixes using herbs, essential oils, citrus peels, water, and vinegar.
My recommendation is to take at least 3-5 of these lifestyle practices and implement them as soon as you can. Write down the ones you’re choosing and then schedule them into your week. Do your best to keep up with your new routine! Once you’ve successfully added those into your routine, add 3-5 more, until the whole list is accounted for.
It might take time to get in the groove and that’s totally okay. One little step at a time is the name of the game. If you start making these changes, I have no doubt your vata dosha will balance out. You got this.
*This article is not intended to medically diagnose or treat anyone. If you are seeking professional holistic guidance for your health, find a local Ayurvedic practitioner or reach out to yours truly and we can dig deeper into your personal needs.*