This is part 1 of a 3-part series on what each Dosha should be focusing on for the New Year! I dive into the lifestyle, food, exercise, self-care and habitual suggestions for each Dosha in my modern Ayurvedic approach. Be sure to listen to all parts to thoroughly understand your Dosha, those around you and recognize that we are all all three Doshas in varying amounts!
Intro + Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Let’s take the discussion further in the Mind-Body Balancers FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/1213662491998309/
Discover Your Dosha (Mind-Body Type) with my free quiz: iamsahararose.com
Order Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook and receive my Essential Oils for Your Doshas E-book FREE here: eatfeelfresh.com/book
Episode 153 – New Year’s Resolutions for Vatas with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose
Happy new year! Oh my god, I am getting really excited about the new year, AKA recording all the podcast episodes about it, because I think it’s really important that we celebrate transitions, and you know, we move so fast in our society that we don’t honor just the time that passes and what has been done, you know, in the past day, week, month, year, decade, lifetime. So I think it’s really important to really take our time and honor transitions like the new year, even though it’s not an actual new year, the actual new year would be the spring equinox.
It would be the first day of spring, and that’s when, for example, the Persian new year, nowruz, is practiced that day. But we decided in, you know, western society that January 1st is the new year, it’s an arbitrary date, but we’re going to make the best of it and set our resolutions. So I actually like to call them intentions rather than resolutions because I feel like the word resolution has almost like been like, you know, dragged down into the mud by all of those times that we set resolutions for ourselves that we never actually achieved.
And I feel like resolutions are like synonymous with, “I’m going to get more fit and more healthy,” cause that just seems to be everyone’s resolution. Though it’s a great thing to want to do, but I just remember, you know, growing up as a kid I don’t know if you ever felt the same, every year it was like, “I’m going to lose weight. Like I’m going to get abs, I’m going to do this,” and none of that ever happens.
So I like to move past the word resolution, I like to move into intention because it’s more of an intention of how you want to live this year, what energy you want to bring to this year, and it’s really important that we actively choose that. Because if we don’t create our lifestyles they get created for us and we have so much more power than we can even imagine.
So it’s really, really impactful to just set an intention of what is the energy you want to bring into this year and to take that time for yourself to really like, you know, do a little breakdown of what happened this year—what worked, what didn’t work, what did you learn, what do you feel like you still need to learn, and to just take that time to really reflect. It’s something that we really lack in our society and it doesn’t have to just be done on January first, it should actually be done every day. But I think this is a really good time for us because it’s like a culturally appropriated time that we’re all reflecting, so let’s talk about it, and let’s dive in.
So new years intentions for each dosha. If you don’t know what the word dosha is, uh you’ve probably never listened to this podcast, and I welcome you. But the word dosha means energy in Ayurveda, Ayurveda is the world’s oldest health system, it is the sister science of yoga and it’s based off of mind-body balance. So it is a topic that I am an expert in, I’ve written two books about—“Eat Feel Fresh” and “The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda”—I really recommend checking both out. “Eat Feel Fresh” for modern recipes, food inspiration, my modern take on Ayurveda, and “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda” to pretty much learn everything there is about Ayurveda going from like Ayurveda one-on-one to nutrition, digestion, self-care, spirituality lifestyle, morning routines, everything in between.
So Ayurveda is not just a health system, but it’s a spiritual system, mental system, philosophical system, scientific system. It has all of these things interconnected, and the word Ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life, Ayurveda, the knowledge of life. The word veda is knowledge, and these were the first ever recorded texts recorded over 5,000 years ago in ancient Northern India, the Indus River Valley, and it is essentially these texts that were downloaded by these rishis, these spiritual enlightened people on how to optimally live our lives.
So yoga is a part of it, yoga is the practice of brahma, to be connected to universal source energy. Ayurveda is the practice of mental-physical balance, we have vastu shastra, which is the practice of making your home energetically clear, which later on was inspired the Chinese to create feng shui, just like Ayurveda inspired the Chinese to create Chinese medicine.
So Ayurveda and yoga, meditation, pranayama, all of these practices actually moved throughout the Silk Road and influenced many others. So that’s just my little Ayurveda one-on-one right now so you know. Now the doshas, the doshas are the energy types, they’re essentially these three archetypes that we all are all three, so when I describe them I just want you to know you are all three, but in varying amounts. There may be one dosha, one archetype that you really relate to, there may be two, you may kind of be a cross between all three.
We’re each born with a unique set of all three of these doshas, this is called our prakriti, it’s essentially your DNA. Like some of us are, you know, taller, shorter, skinnier, bigger boned, brown hair, blonde hair, blue eyes, it’s just your DNA. And your personality, a lot of that is also part of your DNA. If you have kids one is more calm, one is more active, et cetera, that’s your prakriti. Then we have our vikriti, what is going on in our bodies today, and that is a result of our diet, lifestyle, the people around us, environment, relationships, all that stuff.
So when I describe these doshas you may find you used to relate to one and not so much anymore, and that just means your vikriti or your current doshic state has changed. Our are always changing, they actually should be changing, they should be changing with the course of our lives, with the seasons. And these are topics I really explain in-depth in “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” so check that out.
So I just want you to know that you’re not going to only be one, and if you don’t relate to only one, then Ayurveda is not working for you, you’re going to relate to all three in different amounts, at different times of your life, in different ways. And that’s the whole point of Ayurveda, to say like, “Oh wow, I’m really vata when it comes to my relationships, and I’m really pitta when it comes to my work, and I’m really kapha when it comes to my family life.” And it allows you to really zoom in and understand your sensibilities in a deeper way.
So with that let’s dive in. So first let’s talk about the mental resolution. So vatas are air energy, the word vata is essentially air, so they’re very creative, they’re eccentric, they think outside the box, and because of that their resolutions will be super, you know, dreaming big, that’s the word for them, they dream big. So their resolutions are like, “I’m going to write a book, maybe two books. I’m going to create beautiful artwork, I’m going to start a new jewelry line, and make my own online business, and make music, and create essential oil blends, and also sell that. And I’m going to direct a play, and I’m going to win an Academy Award for that play, and I’m going to win a Grammy, and I’m going to go to the moon. And at the same time I’m going to practice self-care, oh I’m going to go to Uganda.”
Like there’s all of the things and it’s amazing that vatas, you know, are so creative, they have so many things they want to do and really what lights them up is the creativity. It’s to create something out of nothing. So that’s why you’ll see like those resolutions I just listed—writing, art, jewelry, music, essential oils—all that is in the creative space. Not to say that they don’t also want to have businesses et cetera, but creativity is really important for them.
So if you have a lot of vata going on your resolutions are going to sound a little bit like that. They’re going to be things that, you know, maybe you’ve never done and suddenly this is the year you’re going to do all of them. That’s amazing, I love that you’re dreaming big, but it’s so important to practice one thing, to see it to completion before going on to the next. And this has been a major lesson I’ve had to learn because I was super, super vata, and that’s actually how I came to Ayurveda from being so vata imbalanced, and it was not my prakriti, it was not the natural constitution I was born with. I was became vata imbalanced through my diet and lifestyle, which I share all about my journey in “Eat Feel Fresh” and on this podcast.
But I was so vata imbalanced that I was like, “I’m gonna write books, and this, and that,” and I wasn’t actually completing anything. I was really good at starting things and not good at finishing things. So finally when I was very, very passionate about writing about Ayurveda I said, “I’m going to say no to everything that is not in alignment with me writing my book on Ayurveda,” which was called “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type,” which later one became my “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type” program.
So I said no to everything that was not in alignment, which is really hard for me because there were a lot of things I was excited about, you know, I had a clothing line, and all these other things I was doing, and I kind of bowed out of everything. And I said, “You know, I’m gonna pretty much go back to basics, I moved in with my grandparents, I you know, was living the simplest life possible so I could give all of my time to writing this book.”
And I’m so grateful that I did that, I harnessed my pitta, my fiery energy, and that allowed me to complete the book, get it edited, get it graphic designed, like have a completed book that finally when I went to literary agents I wasn’t saying, “Oh, I have an idea to write a book on Ayurveda, it’s going to be like this, I haven’t done it yet.” I was like, “Here’s the book, it’s completed, I’ve done everything. All you gotta do is like put your stamp on it.”
So I had to bring in the pitta energy, so if you’re very vata, your resolutions are super lofty, pick one. The others ones can happen in time, you can still, you know, draw your paintings and do all your stuff later, but pick one and stick to it. And really set those boundaries for yourself that you will say no, no matter how excited you feel, to everything that is not in alignment with that goal.
And that’s not just other business opportunities, that’s also you know, maybe social gatherings, or vacations, or other things like really draw those parameters and say, “This is my dharma, this is why I’m here, this is what I’m going to do.” And if it’s not in alignment with this, I don’t have space for it in my life.Granted, you know, you can still like live a normal life, see family and friends, and exercise, but vatas really need to focus on just taking that one. So pick one resolution, just one, and stick to it.
Now let’s talk about health resolutions for vatas. So in Ayurveda it’s all about the mind-body connection. The mind and the body are interconnected beings, so what is going on mentally is going to be going on physical and vice versa. So that’s what’s really cool about Ayurveda, you can look at what’s happening physically in your body and it’s going to tell you kind of mentally what’s happening as well, which is why I love it so much.
So for vatas, in the body, you may find that after meals you’re feeling very bloated, you may notice that you’re constipated, you may notice you have a lot of gas, especially from, you know, all those vegetables you’re eating. You may notice that you feel cold all the time, you have a lot of energy sometimes, and other times you crash. It may be hard for you to stick to a schedule. You may have anxiety, and you may have a difficult time falling asleep.
So as vata is air energy, you will experience symptoms of excess air in your mind and body. So what does air look like in the digestive system? You guessed it: bloating, gas, flatulence, that is air. So when your digestive system is so dry you’re going to experience dryness in your colon, which leads to constipation. So they’re all interconnected, and vatas have excess air in their body, which literally leads to cracking joints. Think about it, that’s air, when you’re cracking something, that’s air bubbles moving. You have a cold body temperature—think air, think the wind, it’s cold, it’s dry—you have dry skin, dry hair, dry nails.
So with that, it’s really important to balance your energy with warming and grounding foods. You need to stay away from leafy green salads, the juice cleanses, I know the juice cleanses are on sale for the new years, and you’re getting really excited about it. But that is the opposite of what you need for vatas. A juice cleanse for a vata is poison. I’m gonna be real, it’s poison, it’s so bad for vatas because you’re already so cold, and so dry, and so scattered that that juice is just going to increase your vata and make you even more imbalanced and feel worse.
So you need to stay away from anything frozen, like putting frozen fruits in your smoothie, even doing kale chips, granola, anything that’s cold, raw, dry is not for you. And it’s interesting because the food that we consider health food—like all those foods I mentioned—are all vata-increasing which is why a vata imbalance is the most common imbalance with health conscious woman, which I’ve noticed.
So instead you want to favor warming grounding foods that those are curries, stews, roasted vegetables, anything that is warm. So instead of having your salad, maybe put some, you know, sesame oil on a pan and sauté those greens and have that. Or in “Eat Feel Fresh” I have so many, over a hundred recipes, and they’re all tri-doshic, so they work for all three doshas. But I also include little tidbits of what you can do to help make it work for specific doshas.
So everything is cooked in the book, there’s no raw food, but for the vatas you want to especially do the sweet potato, the ginger, the turmeric, the really warming foods—root vegetables, think the way that the food is grown is going to affect the quality. So when you have a root vegetable it’s grown under the earth, that is going to be the best because it’s going to balance out your light and airy energy. So for example, raw kale is really bad for vatas, it’s so airy. But something like a butternut squash soup, or mashed sweet potatoes, something that’s really warming and grounding like that is going to be essentially medicine for your cold digestive system.
You also physically need to stay warm. Vatas really get easily out of balanced when they’re cold, so make sure when you leave your house you’re wearing warm socks, scarves, long johns, gloves, hats, depending on where you live, anything to keep your body warm, even if you’re walking inside the house always wear socks. You don’t want to make your feet get cold, and now it’s interesting because in Chinese medicine they say that, in Persian culture they say that, and it’s all derived from that same source, it all comes from Ayurveda. And stay away from the wind too, you know, vata is wind, so when you’re staying outside in the wind it’s so cold, rough, dry that it’s going to through your vata out of balance.
Now let’s take self-care. Vata, sesame oil is your jam. Sesame oil is considered the queen oils in Ayurveda because it is so warming, it so grounding, it is so nourishing, and it’s exactly what vatas need to counterbalance their cold, dry energy. So use a raw, organic sesame oil, not a toasted oil, and this is not just use don the body, but also in cooking. So you can cook your foods in it, you can put it on your body, you can do an abhyanga, a self-oil massage. The best way to do it is to dry brush if that doesn’t bother you. For some vatas the dry brushing does bother them, it’s a little bit too rough.
So you do the dry brushing, you follow it up by the abhyanga, the self-oil massage, I have a blog post about this, just look up, you know, “abhyanga, eat feel fresh,” and you’ll find my blog posts and tons of articles I’ve written about all these practices and I write all of the instructions about them in “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda.” But do the dry brushing, do the abhyanga, then turn on your warm shower like after you took a shower or if you’re a steam bath, the sauna, you go to hot yoga, and put the oil on before and allow the oil to penetrate your skin when you’re in that hot shower, steam, or sauna, and that will allow the oil to further penetrate your skin and allow you to get actually get hydrated.
Because a lot of the times when you’re putting on oil, it’s not getting deep into your skin’s pores, and that’s why it ruins your clothes, and stains everything because your skin is not actually absorbing it. So if you’re actually putting in oil and it’s being absorbed, after like an hour your skin should feel dry. So that’s why it’s really good to use the steam, and allow that to soak into your skin.
Now we also want to use sesame oil for oil pulling, so oil pulling is essentially Ayurvedic mouthwash. You take a spoon of the oil, you swish it around your mouth, anywhere from one minute up to 20 minutes. It does not have to be 20 minutes, you can start with one minute, and it essentially allows the oil to gently remove the bad bacteria from your mouth without the good bacteria.
So if you think about your mouth like your digestive system like your gut, it’s the same. We have good and bad bacteria in our mouths, digestion begins in our mouths. So an anti-bacterial mouthwash like your Listerine, your Listerine strips, et cetera, that is like taking antibiotic. It’s the equivalent of an antibiotic for your stomach, that’s what antibacterial mouthwash is for your mouth. It essentially kills everything, all the bacteria—the good and the bad.
So what happens is the bad bacteria outweighs the good and it flourishes, and that’s why you become addicted to mouthwash. So it’s really important to just remove the bad bacteria and not the good bacteria, and a good way of doing that is to oil pull. It’s like you’re cleaning wood, if you’re cleaning wood you use an oil-based cleaner, you’re cleaning the pores, but if you use a water-based cleaner you’re not actually getting deep into the pores. Keep in mind, it’s not as intense. You’re not going to be like, “Ooh, I’m so refreshed,” like you would with a Listerine strip, but that’s not the point, that’s unnatural, and that’s not what we’re supposed to be using. So oil pulling, it’s an ancient practice, and it’s still practiced today cause it works. It works, guys, it works.
So cooking with sesame oil, all the things with sesame oil, buy some sesame oil, it will change your life.
So now let’s talk about exercise a little bit because exercise is very important, it’s something that is not really written about in ancient Ayurvedic times because they were farmers, they were active all day, like they were like, “Dude, y’all need to sit down for two seconds.” Whereas we are sitting all day long and we actually really need to exercise. So that’s like one of the things that we have to upgrade with Ayurveda because a traditional Ayurvedic textbook will tell vatas to never exercise and to like sit, and to conserve all their energy, and you know, not do anything that’s gonna, you know, make them sweat, essentially.
But I don’t believe that’s true because we’re sitting all day, and what I’ve noticed is that vatas have really weak skeletal structures. That’s something written about in Ayurveda they have bone irregularities, so when they exercise they tend to have improper form, and that leads to injury. So I believe that the best exercise for vatas is slow and articulate strength training. So to really go slow, to build those muscles, cause sometimes we do these like really fast classes that you’re just like, “One, two, three…” it’s so fast or we’re doing a HIIT class and that’s not good vatas because they don’t have the best form and their muscles also need time to replenish and restore between sets so they’re not actually able to build muscle mass that way. And vatas have a difficult time with muscle mass, so doing like a HIIT class is not what’s going to build you that muscle mass, that weak vata skeletal structure needs.
So instead I recommend doing slower, more deliberate strength training. And this allows you to build those small muscles in your body, those stabilizers, and that will help keep you aligned. And vatas, I’ve noticed, are very drawn to the Soul Cycle. They love that shit. They like to go spinning, running, anything that’s super intense cardio where it’s like, “Lose your breath!” That’s where the vatas are at, if you want to find vatas, go to your local spin class, they’re hanging out there, congregating, and then going on juice cleanses.
So vatas, no spinning, honey. You need to let your body ground, you need to work those muscles, and actually, like no joke, vatas are the most likely to have osteoporosis and arthritis. So if all you’re doing is running and pounding that pavement, that is going to lead to injury, and that’s not what we want for beautiful vatas. We want you painting those paintings, and winning those Academy Awards, that’s why you’re here, that’s your dharma. So build muscle without burn out, that is my mantra for vata exercise.
Now let’s talk a little bit about the mindset because y’all know I love mindset. So vata mindset, again, you do a lot of things, do one thing at a time. Like literally, if you’re a vata right now, please pause this, write that on a post-it, stick it on your forehead, don’t forget. Do one thing at a time because vatas love multitasking. And for real, the mind and body, we’re not designed to multitask. We were meant to really focus on one thing at a time so when you perform multiple actions at once like eating, while working, while driving, while having a fight with your boyfriend on text message, while staring at the sky, while updating your Instagram, while watching someone else’s story at the same time with your other phone, all that, your system can only perform one thing. So that actually leaves less energy for, you know, your digestion and the things that actually matter.
So don’t be multitasking, don’t have 5,000 tabs open on the computer. Do one task, finish it, finish your bank, finish your email, finish that thing, then go on to the next. And be fully present in the experience, too. Like I feel like vata energy is like, “What’s next…” and it’s like why? You know, like we actually get to decide the pace of our lives. Like we can decide if we want to live a fast paced or a slow paced life.
And if you’re really vata, even me talking this slow is really stressing you out. And I get it, I have a lot of vata, it’s like my secondary dosha—pitta, kapha, vata. So I get it, I like to move fast too, and I like multitasking. I’m not gonna say I never do it, but to have that in your head, to know, okay, I should not be doing everything at once, let me just like stick to one thing at a thing, it’s going to be really life-changing for you in 2019/forever.
So another thing: stick to a schedule. Hard, I know, I feel like I just sweared at you, but I had to say it. So vatas tend to be very creative and that makes it really hard to adhere to a schedule. However, routine is necessary in our lives, and vatas actually really thrive when they have some routines in their lives. So you can create your ideal day by asking yourselves the questions of what would your ideal day look like, you know? Like take this time right now, imagine we had a conversation and just answer out loud, like unless you’re in a train, and that might look a little weird, you can answer in your head then.
So on your ideal day, vata, what time will you wake up?
What will you practice in your morning routine?
What will you have for breakfast?
When will you exercise and what will you do?
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?
So you can go back and listen to this again and do this practice and really sit with it. But vatas need clarity, it is essential for them because this allows you to focus your energy on the right tasks rather than just wasting your day, weeks, years starting tons of projects without finishing them. So clarity is the predecessor for action. Know what you want then set up the foundation to achieve it.
So the last thing I’m going to advise is to schedule your creative tasks for the hours between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. And this is the time when vata is the highest for all of us. So this is the best time for brainstorming, visualizing, deciding what our year’s gonna look like, writing, creating content, or anything else that requires your vata energy because the doshas move with the 24-hour cycle, which I talk about in “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” a whole chapter dedicated to it. But between 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM, that’s when we’re dreaming, vata’s the highest, as well as 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM. So do your creative stuff between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM, and you’re going to notice that the universe essentially like pushing you in the right directions. It’s helping you out because the energy of the earth is aligned with the energy of the task at hand.
So the beautiful thing about Ayurveda is the mind and the body are connected. So any balancing you do on one will positively affect the other. A more peaceful mind will lead to a more peaceful digestion, which will lead to a more peaceful life, and more peaceful relationships. And also, keep in mind, again, that you can be a cross between two doshas, so be sure to check out the next two podcast episodes because I decided I’m going to make two more—one about the pitta, one about kapha—and see how they apply to you, too. Because you are for sure not 100% vata, almost no one is, so know about the other two doshas, and see what they’re like, and see how they interact with your life as well and what you need more of.
I have seen that most vatas need more pitta. That’s a direction that they need to be heading because they’re really good at the ideas, but they need to take more action, and that’s what my next book is about. It’s an Ayurvedic business book, and it’s all about how you can look at what dosha you’re at now and what comes next. So from the vata we move into pitta, so be sure to listen to the next episode to learn more about new year’s resolutions for pitta.
And if you don’t know your dosha, I have a free, really quick, 90-second quiz. It’s unlike any other quiz out there because it separates the results of your dosha between your mind and your body. So I really recommend taking that quiz, it’s going to help give you so much clarity if you’re like, “I’m still not sure what dosha I am.” So it’s just iamsahararose.com—Sahara like the desert—iamsahararose.com. You’ll see it like the first thing and take that quiz, it’s gonna email you a free three-day mini course explaining more about Ayurveda, my modern approach to it, and check out my books, “Eat Feel Fresh” and “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda.” I’ll see you on the next episode. Don’t forget to take action, vata. Listen to the next episode. Namaste.
Episode 153 – New Year’s Resolutions for Vatas with Sahara Rose