Ayurveda, considered by many to be the world's first health system, is alive and kicking today! Many contemporary doctor-recommended health and lifestyle guidelines stem from Ayurvedic traditions - from the food we eat, to the way we exercise, to the way we get up in the morning, to the way we interact with nature and the environment, and more. Whether you know it or not, you may already be practicing and benefiting from Ayurvedic ancient wisdom.
The advantage of adopting an Ayurveda lifestyle is how effective and yet how simple it is to implement. Ayurveda daily living habits require no grand expenditures of cash, no severe restrictions, they are easy to understand and follow, and best of all: They put you in the driver's seat of your own health. In fact, the very premise of this science is that no two individuals are alike, and hence all recommended protocols are tailored to specifically match and meet the needs of your very personal basic constitution.
Ayurveda Doshas or Body Types
In Ayurvedic terms, one's natural constitution is called a 'body type' or 'dosha,' and can be determined by means of taking a simple Dosha Quiz. There are three dominant doshas (a form of biological energy present in human beings) called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each body type is a conglomerate of various human physical and emotional traits and characteristics, as well as other tendencies and habits. For example:
- Vata types are thin, agile, and competent but are also nervous, jumpy, on edge, and burn out easily
- Kapha types are more heavyset and grounded but tend to be lethargic, sedentary, and harder to motivate
- Rounding out the pack are Pitta, who by nature are full of fire, determination, and competitiveness, yet who tend to go overboard and get frustrated easily
While we each possess elements of all three doshas, people usually fall under the category of one or two dominant body types, according to which Ayurveda practitioners design their personalized lifestyle prescriptions.
So what does this mean for you? Take the Dosha Quiz, determine if you have a Vata, Pitta, or Kapha type personality, and begin to benefit from a wide array of heath-and-wellness tips and easy-to-follow lifestyle guides which will empower you to become a healthier, more balanced, more successful, and more peaceful version of yourself.
Dietary Guide for Vata Body Types
For millennium, Ayurveda practitioners have been advocating the use of food as medicine, aware of its inherent healing potential and power. By learning which ingredients, herbs, and recipes naturally help balance your body type, you can knowingly take action and begin to immediately experience the wellness results.
The following are some of the dietary recommendations for Vata doshas:
- Warm, easy-to-digest foods that foster a sense of groundedness and lubricate the digestive system, i.e. hot soups, warm milk, cooked vegetables in butter, creams, stews, and herbal teas
- Olive, sesame, and almond oils
- Dairy products in moderation
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Natural sweeteners and sweet fruits
- Spices which are not too spicy
- Minimize the consumption of ice cold drinks, raw vegetables/cold salads, carbonated beverages, crunchy foods, and dry fruit
- Rather than eating 'on the go,' while standing, or while talking, which can disturb the digestive process, eat slowly, deliberately, and mindfully
Morning Routine for Vata
The most important aspect of a morning routine for Vata is to actually have a routine! Indeed, a tenet of Ayurveda philosophy is that how one starts their day will affect how they feel and function for the remainder of that day. In the Sanskrit language, 'dinacharya,' refers to a daily routine and literally means "to be close to the day." Hence when you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning and how you spend your day are important factors in sustaining energy levels and in maintaining balance.
Morning routines are especially critical for Vata type personalities, who by nature are anxious, jittery, on-the-go-go-go, have a hard time focusing, tend to multitask, and as a result often burn out. In response, a consistent, deliberate daily regimen allows their body to relax as it is able to anticipate when to awaken, eat, exercise, go to sleep, and perform other activities.
For Vata, the golden rule of thumb and the key to achieving mind-body balance is to SLOW DOWN. This allows them to breathe more deeply, reflect, become more self-aware, make better decisions, and have more focused action. Tackling one task at a time is one recommended strategy for Vata, as is practicing yoga, meditating, drinking herbal tea, and de-stressing in general.
Yoga Tips for Vata Doshas
Yoga has multiple benefits for Vatas, whose bodies often suffer from weak or poor skeletal structure, loose joints, and balance issues. While these can lead to back pain, injury, osteoporosis, and/or arthritis, Vata types are also very flexible with loads of energy - making them ideal candidates for strength-building and grounding Yoga poses. Yoga postures that improve alignment, posture, and balance are also recommended.
More specifically, the experts recommend the following asanas for Vata:
- Sun Salutation
- Warrior Pose
- Warrior II Pose
- Dancer's Pose
Meditation Tips for Vata
Many Vata type personalities find it challenging to meditate, as it requires slowing down, tuning in, and quieting the mind, whereas by nature their brain is racing a hundred miles a minute. However, meditation is also a great opportunity for Vatas to let go of their incessant worries and to-do lists, practice centering themselves, and gain some mental control.
To increase their chances for meditation success, Ayurveda experts recommend:
- Finding a comfortable sitting position
- Good back support
- A focus point
- Tuning into one's innermost desires
- An affirmation or mantra to repeat silently or aloud
Good luck on your journey and be sure to share this Ayurveda Guide with your Vata friends!
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