Do you find yourself bloated after every meal?
Is constipation an issue for you?
Do your family and friends laugh because all your veggies seem to be creating gas?
Do you always feel cold?
Do you sometimes have lots of energy and other times crash?
Is it hard for you to stick to a schedule?
Do you suffer from anxiety?
Does it take you a long time to fall asleep?
Then this means you are predominantly VataDosha.
Vata is the Ayurvedic Dosha (mind-body type) related to air energy. As a best-selling Ayurveda author and expert, it is my dharma to bring this health system to the modern age and I’m so thrilled to be helping you out over with your resolutions. So let’s dive into what Vata is!
Vata is air energy, therefore you will experience symptoms of air in your mind and body. What does air look like in the digestive system? You guessed it– bloating and gas. This will lead to a dry colon, which causes constipation. Vatas tend to have cracking joints (all that air in their skeletal structure), cold body temperatures and dry skin/ hair/ nails.
Mentally, Vata types have creative spirits who look for constant change. Whether it is yearning for a new experience or becoming bored with the day-to-day hustle, they definitely know monotomy is not for them!However, all that creative energy can circulate into a tornado, causing anxiety. This can keep Vatas up at night, leading to insomnia.
While we all have some Vata within us, when Vata is out of balance, we experience the negative side, such as the digestive issues, anxiety and insomnia mentioned above. Even if Vata is not your primary Dosha, you can experience a Vata imbalance during periods of your life when you are undereating, overexercising, traveling, multitasking, stressed, anxious, cold or not practicing self-care the way you should.
Here are some health resolutions for Vatas:
- Eat warming and grounding foods. Steer clear from leafy green salads, smoothies with frozen fruit, green juices, kale chips and granola. Instead, favor curries, stews, roasted vegetables and other warm foods. Raw foods imbalance Vata, as they are cold, dry and raw. This causes digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation, IBS, Candida and others. In Ayurveda, you are not what you eat but you are what you digest. Digestion is truly the cornerstone of all health. Eating warm, cooked foods are easier to digest because they don’t have the same fibrous cell walls as raw foods. This will give your body a chance to rest and heal the rest of your system.
- The qualities of our foods are just as important as the nutrients. Root vegetables are the best for Vatas because they have grounding properties, as they’re literally grown under the ground. Light and rough foods, like kale, are not the best decision for Vatas. Cooking and pureeing vegetables, like butternut squash soup or mashed sweet potatoes, are a perfect medicine for Vatas cold digestive systems.
- Stay warm. Vata is easily out of balance when cold so be sure to leave the house in warm socks, scarves, long johns, gloves, hats and anything else to keep your body warm. Stay away from the wind, which will imbalance Vata.
- Use sesame oil on the body and in cooking. Sesame oil is considered the “queen oil” in Ayurveda because it is so warming, grounding and nourishing, which is exactly what Vatas need. Use raw organic sesame oil on the body for an abhyanga self-oil massage. Follow it up by sitting in a warm steam bath or sauna (or even just your shower after you’ve taken a hot shower) to allow the oil to penetrate in your skin.
- Practice oil-pulling with sesame oil for your oil-pulling. Oil-pulling is essentially Ayurvedic mouth-wash. Just take a spoon of oil and swish it around your mouth for anywhere from 1 up to 20 minutes to allow the oil to gently remove the bad bacteria from your mouth without the good bacteria. Think of your mouth as your digestive system—you don’t want to put in the equivalent of an antibiotic in your mouth (antibacterial mouthwash) which damages both the good and bad bacteria. Instead, oil allows the bad bacteria to gently dissolve while keeping the good bacteria in tack.
- Switch your cooking oil to sesame oil. This makes a great base for stir-fries, stews, eggs or anything else you eat. It will add a warming and grounding flavor to your meal that will nourish your Vata.
- Practice slow and articulate strength-training. Vatas tend to have bone and muscular irregularities, which causes improper form when exercising, which can lead to injury. Instead of going to a super fast, intense HIIT class (where you aren’t keeping proper form), do a slower and more deliberate strength-training practice so you can build those small muscles in your body that keep you stable and aligned. Vatas should not be doing spin classes, running or any other super intense cardio exercise. They need to focus on building muscle and grounding their bodies, as they are most likely to suffer osteoporosis and arthritis. Building muscle (without burnout) is medicine for Vatas!
- Do one thing at a time. Vatas love multitasking, but the mind/body were designed to do one thing at a time. When you perform multiple actions at once (such as eating while working), your system can only perform one, leaving less energy for your digestion. Do one task at a time and be fully present in the experience.
- Stick to a schedule. Vatas tend to be very creative, which can make it difficult to adhere to a routine. However, this routine is necessary to bring their ideas to life. Create your ideal da by asking yourself the following questions:
- What time will you wake up?
- What will you practice in your morning routine?
- What will you have for breakfast?
- When will you exercise?
- When do you leave the house?
- What do you eat for lunch?
- What time do you get home?
- What do you do after work?
- Who do you socialize with and how often?
- What hobbies will you have?
- What time will you sleep?
- How often will you vacation?
- What projects will you work on first?
Vatas need clarity in order to focus their energy on the right tasks, otherwise they can end up wasting their days/ weeks/ years starting projects without finishing them. Clarity is the predecessor for action. Know what you want, then set up the foundation to achieve it.
- Schedule your creative tasks for 2-6pm, when Vata time is highest. This is your best time for brainstorming, visualizing, scheduling, writing, creating content and anything that requires your creative Vata energy.
The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is the mind and body are connected, so any balancing you do on one will positively effect the other! A more peaceful mind will lead to a more peaceful digestion, which will lead to a more peaceful life. Also keep in mind that you can be a cross between two Doshas so be sure to check out how to set health resolutions for Vata and Kaphas here to see how they apply to you.
Don’tknow your Dosha? Take my free quick quiz over here and learn more about eating right for your Dosha in my new book: Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook.