How to balance the Vata Dosha
Ayurveda suggests the principle of opposites to keep a balance between all energies. Since the primary features of Vata are dry, moving, light and cold, simply spoken everything that is moist, steady, heavy or warm might help to balance an aggravated Vata Dosha — not only in primary Vata types but in every case of an unbalanced Vata Dosha. Vata can aggravate when there is stress, irregularity and cold weather. Read up on signs of a Vata imbalance here.
Main remedies for too much Vata:
- the application of heat and oil both externally and internally; choose warm, heavy oils such as sesame, walnut or almond and give yourself a massage by rubbing a bit of oil all over your body like you would with body lotion.
- salty, warm foods can help Vata to retain some water and to ground floaty minds. Also good are sour and sweet ones. For some Vatas it helps to have a teaspoon of good quality peanut butter in the morning.
- relax. Give yourself a break and find a spot to calm down and ground yourself, best in nature. Meditate, read, take a bath, listen to some calming music or do some slow, gentle yoga exercises. A good visualization exercise is to imagine sprouting roots from your body all the way to the earth’s core and feeling how these hold and ground you.
- Warming and calming herbs and spices like; licorice root, cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, mustard seeds, ginger or Triphala
General Guidelines to balance an aggravated Vata Dosha:
- try to keep warm: avoid chili workplaces and air conditioners or staying at windy places for too long. Wear several layers of clothing, a cap and a scarf when the weather gets cold.
- avoid over-consumption of cold/frozen, very dry or raw foods and eat warm and spicy foods instead. Choose rich, nourishing foods as often as possible or whenever you feel you could need extra balance. Don’t shy away from heavier, oily foods as longs as the oils are high quality and natural like (grass fed) butter, oily fish; no highly processed vegetable oils like canola or margarine. (Scroll down to the dietary guidelines for more info on a Vata balancing diet)
- maintain a routine to balance the restlessness: get up and eat roughly the same time each day and go to bed early to get plenty of rest. Do not skip meals and try to establish a pattern for every day.
- make a lot of space in your day to find peace and calm yourself. As mentioned, meditation and time in nature are great but any time you can set aside to just spend with yourself will help.
Vata Diet Tips
These are general suggestions for a diet balancing excess Vata in the system. There are no absolutes, as every individual has different needs, so take the below as guidelines and see what they do for you. Feel free to experiment, watch your bodily reactions and adjust.
- warm, cooked foods and generally well-spiced foods
- sweet, fresh fruits, including the rich ones such as banana, mango, avocado, grapes, pineapples…
- sweet, sour and salty tastes, like grains, dairy, oils and most vegetables if they’re cooked (see avoid list below)
- nuts, especially soaked and most spices
- cold and frozen foods, as well as cold drinks right out of the fridge
- overconsumption of dry and raw foods, including dried fruit
- too much of astringent, bitter and pungent flavors, like coffee, tea or very hot spices
- too many vegetables from the nightshade family (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, potatoes), the cabbage family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) or beans. All of them are “too windy”.