Treat vata dosha first
Vata’s qualities are cold, light, mobile and dry. When vata is high, you’ll see many of these manifest as symptoms: a feeling of always being cold, dry skin, a worrisome or scattered mind. When your body and mind begin to reflect vata’s qualities, look to vata-calming diet and lifestyle changes.
A vata-calming lifestyle
Calming vata is a daily practice in awareness. At some points in your life, you may need to do more to bring grounding to vata. At other times, you will find that it is easier to stay in balance. Tune in -- to yourself and the changes in your environment -- and let this list be a guide for self-care for the rest of your life.
- Create a dinacharya: Vata needs structure. Irregularity in regular daily activities, such as waking up, eating and sleeping, will add to vata’s light and mobile qualities and increase uncertainty and fear in your life. A dinacharya, or daily routine, is a simple plan for living. By creating a simple morning and evening routine, setting times of day for eating, working and sleeping, you’ll give vata the structured guidance it needs to thrive.
- Abhyanga: Applying oil to your body is a grounding and nourishing practice in self-care. Your skin is your largest organ, so it’s especially good to use an herbal oil, such as ashwagandha-bala or bhringaraj in a vata-calming sesame oil base. When vata is very high, practice abhyanga daily. If you don’t feel you have time, rub a bit of oil on the bottoms of your feet and on the top of your head.
- Slow down: Multitasking divides your attention and creates a scattered mind. Build focus in every activity and you will build calm in your life. Don’t buy into the idea that you have to rush through your activities -- you’ll miss the joy of living that way. Do one thing at a time and give it the respect of your full attention.
- Take a break from traveling: Vata is aggravated by movement, such as in planes, trains and cars. Enjoying a moderate amount of travel can help you explore yourself as part of the world around you, but when travel happens too frequently, you will experience vata imbalance. When you do travel, practice abhyanga before and after and maintain your dinacharya for best results.
- Wear a scarf and cover your head if it’s windy or cold: Like causes like -- a windy day means that vata is high in the environment and will increase vata in you. Protect the back of your neck and your head and you’ll feel warmer and more grounded.
- Make eating a sacred act: When agni, digestive fire, is weak, vata is high. Imbalanced vata causes you to rush through eating or not be present at your meals, which will further weaken agni. Give your meal your full attention -- sit down and don’t distract yourself with your phone, television or reading. Be aware of each bite of food and chew it until it is liquid in your mouth. Experience your connection to nature through the food with each meal.
- Reducing screen time: So much of our lives happens through screens -- television, tablets, phones and computers. The flickering movement in these devices aggravates vata, so it’s important to have some discernment about their use. Take regular breaks from screens and create set times of day when you will use electronics. Allow these tools to function for you, not the other way around.
- Cultivate softness and comfort: Avoid loud music and prolonged exposure to sharp, penetrating sounds. Enjoy gentle activities that awaken you to enjoy the subtle realms of life. Sounds in nature are particularly nice for this.
- Try silence: One of the telltale signs that vata is high is excessive talking. You expend great amounts of energy talking, so making room in your life for silence can help you attain even energy levels throughout the day. A few hours of silence in the morning is nice to reconnect to the waking part of the day. When vata is high, take a day or more of silence.