Simple Guidelines For Decreasing Vata
Signs & Symptoms of Increased Vata
You may be experiencing some of the following signs or symptoms:
- nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear
- twitches, tics, tremors, spasms
- dry or chapped skin
- constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
- low body weight
- dislike of cold and wind
- difficulty tolerating loud noises
- light, interrupted sleep
- spacey, scattered feeling
- excess thinking or worrying
To decrease Vata, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these strategies are based on:
Food Choices for Vata
- Foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty in taste.
- Warm foods, both energetically and in temperature. Whole, freshly cooked foods.
- A limited selection of legumes, including mung dahl, tofu or tempeh that is well-cooked and warm soy milk spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.
- Plenty of room temperature or warm drinks.
- Dairy, as long as it is not very cold. Avoid drinking milk with your meals. It is best to have it warm and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, at least an hour before or after other food.
- A generous amount of high-quality oils or ghee in your daily diet.
- Routine times for your meals.
- Taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
- Eating your meal in a peaceful environment.
- Foods that are bitter, astringent and pungent.
- Foods that are cooling, both energetically and in temperature.
- Dry and light foods (e.g. popcorn and crackers).
- Too much raw food, especially in the mornings and evenings (salads, carrot sticks, raw fruit, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, etc.)
- Most beans, including cold soy products.
- Highly processed foods (like canned or frozen foods, "TV" dinners or pastries).
- Cold or carbonated drinks.
- Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
- Overeating or eating very heavy meals.
- Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice within 1/2 hr of any other food.
- Foods or drinks that contain refined sugar or corn syrup.
- Deep fried foods
- Hard alcohol.
- Life as you would imagine a master would: with calm awareness and a gentle pace.
- A regular, daily routine with regular times for eating, sleeping, working, etc.
- A daily 10-20 min. self-massage with 1/2 c. warm sesame oil.
- A gentle exercise routine that includes a calm, stretch-focused form of yoga, Tai qi (tai chi), qi gong (chi gong), walking, swimming (but don't get chilled) about five times per week.
- Keeping warm, no matter what the weather.
- Sweet, soothing music, smells, scenes and company.
- Vata-reducing oils.