Staying Centered During the Colder Months
All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance.
As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression (Deepak Chopra).
Following is a list of tips to help you stay balanced through these colder months:
Apart from following a Vata pacifying diet which I spoke of in my last newsletter.
Today, I share with you some practical lifestyle tips to stay grounded:
- I know, this sounds so obvious but it does astonish me to see so many people during the colder weather not cover their ears, necks and even waist. So please, keep your ears covered; very sensitive area for Vata people; the cold wind will greatly increase Vata symptoms. Cover up! If your ears are very sensitive you can add a dab of oil in each ear in the morning.
- Keep your feet warm. A great practice is to rub the soles of your feet with warm sesame oil before bedtime. You shall have a more restful sleep!
DAILY SELF-MASSAGE ( ABHYANGA )
- Self-massage with warm sesame or almond oil before your shower is fantastic to improve your circulation, stimulate your senses, glands, lymphatic system and to simply give yourself love. Daily massage with oil will greatly benefit your skin as it tends to become dry during Vata season. Everyone responds positively to touch and this is something you can give yourself on a daily basis. How awesome is that!
- Rub a few drops of warm oil into your nasal passages as they tend to get dry during the colder months.
STICK TO A ROUTINE
- Maintaining a regular daily schedule for your sleep, waking time, and meals is a must. Vata dosha is by nature variable, therefore bringing stability by sticking to a routine is very calming and restorative.
- Having a set routine for the morning starts the day right and calms the mind. Morning rituals of self-care are not a luxury, they are a beautiful way to repapre the body and mind for what lays ahead.
- Turn off all screens; computers, TV, tablets, at least one hour before bedtime for a more restiful sleep.
a daily practice shall nourish you physiologically and psychologically. It’s the best way I know of to filter our thoughts and emotions and to simply train your mind to come back to the present moment, which is key toavoiding suffering.
- Hatha yoga practice
The definition of yoga in the Hatha Yoga texts is the union of the upward force (prana) and the downward force (apana) at the navel center (manipura chakra). Hatha yoga teaches us to master the totality of our life force, which is also called prana. By learning how to feel and manipulate the life force, we access the source of our being. (Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati)
- Alternate Nostril Breat ( Sanskrit: Nadi Shodhana )
Nadi is a Sanskrit word meaning “channel” or “flow” and shodhana means “purification.” Therefore, nad
i shodhana is primarily aimed at clearing and purifying the subtle channels of the mind-body organism, while balancing its masculine and feminine aspects. It is pacifying for all three doshas and is a suitable practice for most anyone. Here are a few of the benefits of this practice:
- Infuses the body with oxygen
- Clears and releases toxins
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Calms and rejuvenates the nervous system
- Helps to balance hormones
- Supports clear and balanced respiratory channels
- Helps to alleviate respiratory allergies that cause hay fever, sneezing, or wheezing
- Balances solar and lunar, masculine and feminine energies
- Fosters mental clarity and an alert mind
- Enhances the ability to concentrate
- Brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain
THE PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu
I am not one to believe in positive affirmations. I don’t think that by repeating to yourself that you are happy you will actually become happy. I do however think that the practice of gratitude can literally make a big shift in your perspective on life, on your moods and on your biochemistry. Being in a place where you desire what you have, rather than desire what you don’t have changes everything.
- Set a specific time of day for your practice of gratitude; I like to do this before bedtime as it gives meaning to my life and is a comforting way to end my day. The beginning of your day is also a great time to focus on gratitude as it sets an intention for the day ahead.
- I simply focus on three things for which I have gratitude; it can be someone, something, an event, the weather, acknowledgment of a feeling, anything that pops into your mind really; the person with whom you had a confrontation or any event that has proven to be difficult can simply be seen as a lesson from which you have learned something to help you make a shift and move forward. Life is short, if you spend your time thinking about things that make you angry, or sad, that is likely how you will be feeling.
- From a practice of gratitude arises an inner sanctuary of joy that carries us through life. This sensation of expansion and inner contentment actually has the power to modify your biochemistry. With the advancement of knowledge in the field of Epigenetics, we understand now how our thoughts truly have a huge impact on our bodies and mind. The simple practices of meditation, gratitude, awareness and careful choice of words you use to speak to yourself, are just a few examples that can profoundly change your perspective on life.From this focus of awareness and expansion, comes a deep sense of love and connection to yourself and to others. As Deepak Chopra said: To know oneself is the highest intelligence.
Keep focused on these tips to stay grounded during for Vata Season. In my opinion, Fall is a great time to read, stay at home and harness your creative energy. Fun times ahead!
Be warm, be well!