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Balancing Vata Dosha: Tips for Harmonizing Mind and Body

Updated: 3 days ago

Vata is prone to constipation, anxiety, sleep issues, and dry skin. Learn how to balance Vata dosha with Ayurveda, the knowledge of life.

5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall image woman walking in woods with changing leaves

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5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha


Fall announces itself as the air cools around you, though the days may be warm or hot, the evenings and early mornings are cooler--now is the time to focus on balancing Vata dosha. As Vata season continues to unfold, it will become cooler, windier, drier and the leaves fall, and the ground turns brown.


The doshas are vulnerable to seasonal transitions therefore balance is of the utmost importance. In this article, we will walk you through what Vata season is, signs Vata dosha is out of balance, and 5 ways you can re-balance Vata dosha this fall.


Before jumping into Vata dosha, a few words about the doshas. Ayurveda, the knowledge of life, describes the world as being made up of five elements, Aakash (space), Jala (water), Prithvi (earth), Teja (fire), and Vayu (air). These five elements come together to form three distinct humors referred to as Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.


Nature does not standardize. Just as there are no two leaves on a tree that are identical, there are not two humans who are the same. Everyone is comprised of a one-of-a-kind mix of the Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas. The doshas give shape to the physical body, sleep, digestion, hair, voice, intellect and more.


How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?


Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances.


As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.


5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall image Saumya Ayurveda logo

Look at the Saumya Ayurveda logo. The petals represent the five elements, and those elements combine to create each dosha. Earth and water comprise Kapha. Fire and water combine and Pitta manifests.


Air and ether together create Vata. Kapha governs protection and lubrication such as the immune system, synovial fluid in the joints, and the mucosal lining of the respiratory system. Pitta governs metabolism such as food, touch, and thinking. Vata governs movement inside and outside of us such as the wind outside your window, synaptic movement in the brain and bowel movement.


Simply put, to balance the doshas, opposite qualities are the treatment. Kapha needs invigoration for motivation. Pitta needs to chill out, relax, cool off and let go of intensity. Vata needs grounding and soothing to stabilize.


Now that the groundwork has been laid about the doshas, let's move into Vata.



What is Vata Season?


Depending on your location and the climate around you, Vata season may vary. Generally speaking, it begins in the fall and ends in early winter. It may surprise you to learn that Vata will start peeking out long before the leaves peak. In Minnesota, for example, Vata will begin to increase in subtle, or not so subtle ways, by the second week of August. It may be hot and humid in the day, but for those with Vata constitution or Vata issues, there is enough of an increase to feel it — mind and body.


It is characterized by light, dry, cool, rough, mobile, and clear qualities. As such, Autumn is the classic Vata season. As Vata in the environment increases, Vata in us is likely to increase as well.


During this time, bodies often become constipated, dry, cold, tight, sore, and in the mind, Vata can manifest as anxiety, sleep changes, and feeling scattered. This is why balancing the Vata is so important for general well-being.


What is Vata Dosha?


Before we dive into different ways you can balance or re-balance Vata this fall, let’s discuss what the Vata Dosha is.


In Ayurveda, there are three doshas that comprise a person’s constitution: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha is characterized by its own unique qualities (to learn more about the doshas and how they impact your life, click here). All three doshas are present in each of us, it is a matter of proportion of each dosha.


We have a predominant dosha or perhaps a combination. Knowing your doshic picture will empower you to make the correct and healthiest choices for you, thereby enabling you to live a more balanced life.


Vata dosha consists of air and ether and governs all movement in the universe — whether that is respiration, bowel movement, digestion, or the movement or stillness of our minds.


Therefore, Vata is of primary importance for everyone as it is the movement or lack of movement behind everything.



What Are Signs Vata Imbalance?


When Vata Dosha becomes imbalanced, you may notice the following in both the body and mind:


30 Signs of Vata Imbalances


Body: Dry skin, hair, lips, joints Dry digestive tract: gas, bloat, constipation Dry, scanty, irregular periods, or absent flow. When your period is present, imbalanced Vata manifests as anxiety, insomnia, sharp or stinging cramps, and blood discoloration General sense of feeling cold, hands and feet especially Poor circulation Tight muscles, twitches, muscle spasms and feeling clenched Tics and tremors Aches and pains here, there, and everywhere at times Palpitations Tinnitus Dehydration Weight loss, difficulty gaining weight, and weight loss

Hair loss Fidgeting or other extra movement Dislike of cold and wind Difficulty with loud noises Difficulty sleeping, with waking, or difficulty and staying asleep Feeling weak, fatigued, loss of vitality Astringent taste, dryness in the mouth Sense of wanting to run or runaway Lack of focus or forgetful Difficulty concentrating, remembering


Mind

How to Balance Vata Dosha this Fall


1.) Eat Vata Soothing Foods


Favor warm, moist, well-cooked, highly nourishing foods such as soups and stews, roasted root vegetables and hard, winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.), Generally speaking, sweet, sour, and salty flavors pacify Vata dosha.


When choosing foods, select items that are as close to their natural state as possible — as nature made them or as close to it. Do yourself a favor with flavor and select whole, natural foods.


"Fresh carrots are available in abundance now at local grower's markets. Think about it this way--where do carrots (and other root veggies) grow? Under the earth. Doesn't get more grounding than that. Enjoy this food as medicine." - Veena Enjoy this food as medicine." - Veena


Vata Soothing Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe


5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall image ginger carrot soup


This delicious recipe is perfect for Vata. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or your best oil from your food program

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 heaping cups chopped carrots

  • 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger

  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth

  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or to taste (optional)

  • I like to blend up sunflower seeds and add them to the soup to thicken the base and add some protein.


Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil or your best oil, in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes. Add the smashed garlic cloves (they’ll get blended later) and carrots to the pot and cook about 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

  2. Stir in the ginger then add 3 to 4 cups of broth, depending on your desired consistency. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.

  3. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

  4. Enjoy!

For more Vata grounding recipes, visit our online recipe box.



2.) Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing for Deep Relaxation


There are several practices of pranayama. The foundation for all is diaphragmatic breathing. To practice any other pranayama without having established this foundation of diaphragmatic breathing is a mistake and may cause harm.


The unhealthy effects of breathing incorrectly on our mind and body is profound. We are born into the world breathing diaphragmatically, but our breath becomes un-educated as we grow. Now is the time to re-educate the breath to be more relaxed, sleep better, and manage emotions better by breathing diaphragmatically.


Through working with our breath, we come to know our being in a new, healing, and holistic way through balanced breathing. With this balance, we feel a sense of security, ease, comfort, and a relaxation of the nervous system.


When we lie down to relax, we see it is possible to relax the response to pain, negative emotions, and to the stress levels in our heart and mind and create a calmer, stiller environment within ourselves. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life.



5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall image woman practicing diaphragmatic breathing

Here’s how to get started: Reduce anxiety, increase calm, be centered

1. Lay in a comfortable, quiet space on a firm flat surface. You may use a yoga mat or blanket underneath you. Cover yourself with a shawl or thin blanket.

2. Relax your body 3. Place your right hand on your abdomen just below your rib cage. With your hand there you will see that the belly is rising and falling with each breath. What creates that rhythmic rising and falling is the diaphragm coming down and relaxing up. Contracting and relaxing. 4. You may place your other hand on your upper chest. As you are reclined, there will be very little movement in the chest. The chest is quiet, still. 5. In practicing diaphragmatic breathing there are 5 qualities to observe:

  • Deep, (relax tension in the belly and let the breath flow deeply filling the lungs gently and fully)

  • Smooth (flowing without jerks)

  • Even (inhalation and exhalation are about the same length)

  • Soundless (without forceful inhalation or exhalation)

  • Continuous (no pause, that is to say at the end of exhalation it flows directly into inhalation, weaving the breaths one into the other.)

6. Relax your body, relax your breathing, relax your mind.


7. Now, you will discover something fascinating — you are not the breather — instead, you will discover it is your body that is breathing. You are the observer of your relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing. Calm, grounded, balanced.


5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall image chewing nails anxious

Fear, anxiety, worries, grief, and sadness are all of these are part of human life (and especially challenging for Vata) emotions that we all experience. However, they do not need to disrupt our breathing and our breath is the vehicle for comforting ourselves in the presence of these experiences.


Set aside a few minutes each day to lay down and relax and breathe diaphragmatically and find that breathing this way, relaxes your body, quiets your nervous system, and stills your mind. Enjoy our popular FREE guided practices Treat yourself and retrain your nervous system and create and carry a sense of calm with you off the mat and into every corner of your life.


5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall imge tea glass napkin that reads you matter


3.) Follow Ritucharya, Your Ayurveda Seasonal Routine


Ritucharya is following the seasonal rhythms, to live in balance with what is unfolding in each season. It leverages the positive influences of the season, and mitigates the not so positive impacts.


Here are some tips to create a Vata soothing Ritucharya for fall:

  1. Enjoy moist, warm, nourishing foods (opt to select foods that are in season such as root veggies and hard squashes)

  2. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day

  3. Create an exercise routine that focuses on slow, gentle, restorative movements

  4. Limit screen time. Aim to reduce technology consumption by 50% and shut it down and off at dinner time. Reclaim your private life.

  5. Immerse yourself in the outdoors.

  6. Take some time to reflect on whom and how you spend your time and energy. If it is not supportive of your path, consider re-prioritizing.

  7. Incorporate a regular meditation practice into your routine, for example - use our 2-minute guided meditation throughout your day and our guided practices, 11 minutes in the morning and 11 in the evening as part of your daily routine.



4.) Focus on Slow, Gentle Movements which grounds and soothes Vata


Vata season is all about restoring and relaxing, as the world (and each of us) prepares for a rebirth after winter.


As such, don’t overexert your body through fast activities and exercise. Instead, focus on slow, gentle restorative movements and practices. Walking, hiking, biking, a soothing Vata yog-asana routine, and moderate cardio are ideal choices for this season.


5.) Take time for self-care as Vata benefits from more rejuvenation


Vata has begun to announce itself. While the hot and humid days persists, you notice that cool, dryness in the evening as you are sitting outside. You are starting to hear the wind moving through the leaves creates a slightly different sound. Vata is subtle AND significant. It can catch us and take us for a ride (given its mobile nature) and before we know it, we may experience those familiar Vata symptoms such as increased anxiety, constipation, changes in sleep and a general sense of feeling ungrounded, uncentered.


Take extra time for self-care this fall — an ounce of prevention will go a long way., Focus on abhyanga with our high-quality nourishing oils, nasya, guided relaxations, a good book, and a couch and warm blanket with a cup of spiced warm milk before bed.


This time of year with hot days and cool nights and early mornings is a wild dance of Vata and Pitta--an ideal time for your Follow Up Consultation.


"We will look at both Vata and Pitta dosha, make needed adjustments to your herbal and food protocols and Ayurvedic lifestyle tools. It's amazing what refining a few habits can do to keep us in balance year-round." -Veena


5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha are easy to implement and effective Ayurveda lifestyle tools.

Saumya Ayurveda's 3 steps for transforming your daily life with image of a woman meditating

There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.


"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.


2. Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.



"Choose a couple of practices from the routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota


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"Veena has literally changed my life. I was struggling with mental and physical symptoms that my doctor had no answer for. I thought I was going crazy and just making symptoms up.


With Veena’s guidance, with herbs and diet changes, I soon realized that my symptoms were very real. After making the changes, I made small victories along the way, and became better with each appointment with her.


Now almost 6 months later, I am a completely different person. I still have some things to work on, but with Veena’s help, I know I will be able to take control of my health and not leave it to Western medicine that was giving me little to no help and covering up my symptoms with another medication.


I highly encourage getting the “plus” package, especially if you are working with challenges with your monthly cycle. Working with Veen has been the best decision I have made for my health. You won’t be disappointed!” -- Maria Fumagalli, St. Paul, Minnesota


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Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way


We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.


Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.


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Veena at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.


She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.


Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.


These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.


She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.


An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.



5 Ways to Balance Vata Dosha This Fall  image of big eared dog named Vata

Vata joined the Saumya Ayurveda pack about a year ago. At first, his Vata was quite imbalanced. He was fearful, underweight, skittish, hand shy and anxious.


I worked with him slowly to gain his trust. Letting him come to me. Once vata dosha was grounded with the help of warm, moist food with ghee on it, Vata experienced trust and fear reduced, the door was wide open.


Now Vata is thriving. He has gained weight, he is trusting of (some) people and I am honored to be one of them. He loves to be pet--and he especially loves to have his big ears massaged. Vata is an absolute joy to have on the team.


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