It’s VATA Season

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Vata is an ayurvedic concept; one of the three doshas. What are the doshas? I’m glad you asked because this is what I’ve just been going in depth with in ayurveda school!

The Tridoshas are the functional intelligences within the body, basically how your body knows what to do. They are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, each one explains the different governing principles behind everything working the way it does, and the balance of the three is important for optimal health. When the doshas are out of balance there are unpleasant symptoms associated with the according excess or lack and immunity is compromised. Most colds manifest during the change of seasons and weather. The physical body must adapt to external changes and ayurvedic principles can help us transition more comfortably.

Vata is the energy behind any kind of movement – circulation, respiration, and motor functions to name just a few. It is characterized by air. It has the qualities of being cold, light, and dry, like the wind. Vata is quick and frenetic. Wind and cold weather whip up vata energy. Aggravated vata is what ayurveda explains as what’s behind a restless body and mind, dry skin, chapped lips, feeling cold all the time, waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep.

Fall and early winter is considered vata season because the qualities of vata are highlighted this time of year. Another principle of ayurveda, is the observation of how like increases like and so it’s important to make an effort to keep vata balanced in fall and early winter.

When your vata energy is out of balance you are in need of some grounding and stability, warmth, hydration and moisturizing. Makes sense doesn’t it? We tend to eat more soups, drink more warm beverages, apply more lotion and lip balm, and cuddle up with blankets to counteract the increase in vata. And while your common sense can take you this far, ayurveda can take you further, identifying ailments and remedies that may be less obvious. For example, do you feel more anxious and restless and don’t really know why? Feel like you’re constantly on the move and can’t seem to settle down? That is also the new season increasing your vata! Plus any extra stress from the upcoming holidays only makes it worse! A vata pacifying diet absolutely helps, and also take time to SLOW DOWN, return to your meditation practice or start one. Recognize when your mind is racing forward, worrying about the future and “what if” scenarios – things that haven’t even happened yet! Come back to the present, take some very slow deep breaths, do a gratitude exercise by thinking of 5 things (or more!) you have right now to be grateful for. This will surely get your vata in check ;)

I love this guide to Vata Season from Monica B, it is full of recommendations, tips, recipes, and easy to understand information – I know, ayurveda seems really foreign and arcane at first! Maybe even a bit woo woo – however, with further exploration you’ll discover that its very practical and scientific.

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Image via heymonicab.com

 

What about the other two doshas you ask? In brief:

Pitta is the energy behind transformation and conversion – using materials to make something else, like digestion, or hormonal processes like when insulin converts glucose to glycogen. Characterized by fire, its main quality is heat.

Kapha is the energy behind structure and cohesion – that which allows stability and strength, and for things to hold together, to be protected and supported. Characterized by earth and water, its qualities are cold, heavy, and wet.

Will get more into Pitta and Kapha in future posts! For now, during this vata season, consider how vata manifests in your own constitution and if you feel you may be in excess then I highly encourage you to check out the guide and try some of the tips.

I Enrolled in Ayurveda School! ….Ayur-whaat?

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What is Ayurveda? I get asked that question a lot. Some people are vaguely familiar with it – if you practice yoga you may have heard something about “doshas” or drinking tepid water with a squeeze of lemon on an empty stomach after waking in the morning. Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences. Deepak Chopra’s books on health and wellness take an ayurvedic approach and the Chopra Center in Carlsbad California offers consultations and services. If you watch Dr. Oz he occasionally recommends ayurvedic remedies. However, more often than not, people I talk to are like ayur-whaat? Read More →

Should I Eat Vegan or Paleo?

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Here is a short clip from Dr. Mark Hyman, holistic nutrition and functional medicine guru extraordinaire, offering an excellent summation on Paleo vs Vegan. It’s interesting to point out that these two diets have more in common than they have different. What it really comes down to is what is best for YOU. Your own individual mind/body constitution and taking into consideration whatever health issues you may have should inform how to best nourish your body. Variety of vegetables and fruits, no processed crap is a given, but beyond that, even in the realm of whole foods there are choices to make. Decide by listening to your body. Read More →

Yoga 101

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I have really been enjoying teaching Yoga 101 workshops at Purple Yoga. I have a heart for beginners. I love going back to basics; I love getting into details, a strong foundation on which to build is so important. I do a lot of talking when I teach the workshop – there is so much information! However here is what I think are five key pieces of information for the new yoga practitioner. Read More →

Beyond the Ice Water

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I’ve been fascinated by the phenomenon that is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and thanks to my best friend Casey for nominating me to give my two cents – literally and figuratively.

Ok, so you poured ice water on your head…. Now what? Over the past few weeks of seeing this all over social media I found myself wondering what is going on here and why are so many participating. I’ll admit, I didn’t really know what ALS was. I now know that it is a neurological disease that slowly causes nerve cells to break down and die. It is a painful condition, it weakens muscles, causes them to atrophy. ALS severely, negatively impacts quality of life. What causes ALS is not particularly known, however research has uncovered some information I thought was very interesting. Read More →

Playlist: Feel

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Here is a more recent compilation I’ve really been enjoying using in class lately. Each one of these songs is just cool – deep beats, emotive, inspires feeling.

I love drama in songs, for example track 2, “Bloodflood” has a long pause, a break in the music near the end of the song, that pause carries tension for a good three seconds and then the music comes pouring back in – so good. I also like the recurring lyric, “breathe in” with an audible inhale, “exhale” with an audible exhale, very yoga, I dig it.

More drama in savasana with Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” Auto-tune. A cappella. Awesome. Read More →

Meditation Challenge

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I have recently got back into my meditation practice. My new apartment is very conducive to the morning routine I’ve found best sets me up for my day. Every morning I wake up, roll out of bed, drink a glass of lemon water, and head out the door to go for a walk. I’ve only been living at my new place two and a half months but I already love it! I love the neighborhood – quiet, with beautiful older homes and nice landscaping, close to the beach. I leave my cell phone and wallet at home. I walk however long I feel like it, maybe 20 minutes, maybe an hour. When I come home I light some incense and roll out my yoga mat. I love that my apartment has wood floors and the perfect little space for my mat. I do a bit of yoga, free form, whatever I’m feeling, however my body wants to be moved, and then I meditate. I don’t have a fancy meditation pillow, I just grab a pillow from my couch, set it on the edge of my mat and settle in. When I start my day like this, I feel good the entire day. Read More →