Yoga + Ayurveda: Balancing Vata
Although the sun is still claiming some of its powers, I can’t help but notice the crispy morning air and the darkness creeping in a bit too early for my taste. While I am resistant to let go of the bright and warm summer days, the seasons are changing and nature starts to influence our physical state along with our mind set and emotions.
We are now entering the Vata season, a combination of Air and Space elements, based on the concept of Ayurveda. The principle of movement dominates our entire being and when not balanced, it can bring up more distraction, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia and constipation into our life.
Since we don’t have much influence over Mother Nature, we can ease this transition by adapting a suitable yoga practice as well as applying a couple of simple Ayurvedic tips to stay on top of our game during this Autumn season.
As the Vata energy is considered cold, light and dry, make sure you create a warm and nurturing environment before you start, followed by calming pranayama such as Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Switch to gentle, restorative and meditative yoga practice this time of year and perform asanas slowly and gently, holding each posture longer than required and avoiding the use of force. Keeping the energy firm, relaxed and centered is the key to sustain your enthusiasm and concentrate in the present moment.
High Lunge + Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose) + Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)
Eat food that is warm, cooked, more oily and nourishing as the wind dries out our system, causing constipation, dry skin and cracking joints. Sweet/sour fruits, root vegetables and whole grains are a perfect option. Instead of dry and cold food (nuts or dried fruits) choose soups, stews and casseroles. Drink plenty of warm water, herbal teas and hot milk with some cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and saffron.
Massage your body with warm sesame seed oil as often as possible. Follow it with a warm shower or bath. It will not only nourish and lubricate your tissues but it will also have a detoxifying effect.
Introduce routine and relaxation into your life. Make your bedroom a place to rest, where TV, phone or laptop are banned, well at least after 10pm. Wake up naturally or accompanied by a soothing, gradual and positive alarm that will gently welcome you to a new day. Any kind of stimulation is not recommended, so instead of sipping triple shot coffee while still half asleep try a natural alternative by mixing 1tbs of Chyawanprash (natural supplement) in hot water.
Special thanks to Aneta Podlaska of Free Flow Ayurveda for sharing her Ayurvedic tips.