Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and focuses primarily on wellness lifestyle practices that support health, balance, and self-transformation. How we begin to understand ourselves and our needs is determined by our unique constitution (dosha) , and each of us have a little of all three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Take the dosha quiz in our book, Essential Yoga Practice on pp. 15 and 16, to discover your dosha. Each dosha is made up of a combination of some of the 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Air, Ether and Water. Spring time is Vata season! The Vata constitution governs all movement in the mind and body. It is the primary motivating force of the doshas. Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind.
Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without Vata, it leads the three “Ayurvedic Principles” in the body. Therefore it is rather important to keep Vata in good balance. A balanced vata allows for mental and physical adaptability, energized body and mind, a calm nervous system, and a grounded (not over-reactive) sense of being/living. Thus a balanced Vata individual experiences ease with adapting and transtionsitioning. Movement is easy, sensory integration and mental processes flow, and creativity is unhindered. Breathing is easy and supports the nervous system. There is homeostasis between tissues and organs since life force or “Prana” is regulated by Vata. Whether or not you are a “Vata dominant” individual, maintaining balance during Vata season is important for all of us.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you anticipate supporting Vata dosha during the change of the Spring season and at any time that Vata is imbalanced:
1. Know the characteristics and qualities of Vata Dosha For more information see pp. in Essential Yoga Practice. Get your copy here or consider the Kindle Version
2. Learn how to use diet – what to eliminate and what to include. Tip: Generally, Ayurveda considers sweet, sour, and salty in tastes to be supportive as they increase qualities of warmth, moisture, and heaviness/groundedness to promote even digestion—which helps to balance Vata.
3. Supportive yoga practices include pranayama and meditation for the sake of grounding. Tips for asana:
a. Start your practice with one of the following pranayamas for vata : brahmari (bumble bee breath), nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), or anuloma viloma (forceful alternate nostril breathing).
b. Then transition to meditation that is structured and include the use of mantra.
c. Asana tips: Keep the gaze downward for the sake of stability. Practice at the same time each day since Vatas respond well to routine. . Use steady, mindful transitions. Include poses that open the hips and charge the legs, like warrior poses, triange pose, side angle pose, bound angle pose, and garland. Include folds that enhance introspection like childs pose, standing forward bend, seated forward bend, and legs up the wall pose.
4. Aromatherapy for Vata Using aromatherapy for vata includes spending time in nature, using essential oils in a diffuser, and in a carrier oil for daily massage. Aromas that are sweet, earthy and warming such as citrus oils, chamomile, vetiver, and floral oils like lavender and rose are effective in providing support of vata dosha.
Want to know more? Join us for a two-week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, where we will delve deeper and learn more about aromatherapy, yoga and Ayurveda. Revolutionary transformations occur when we deepen our practice and our knowledge of how to practice. Each daily lesson is designed to help you access your highest self by opening up a whole new understanding of the many benefits of yoga and aromatherapy, while helping you explore new possibilities, whether you are a new or seasoned yogi, a new or experiences essential oil enthusiast. Come join us and learn how to tap into the wisdom that's always available to you. Next course begins April 1, 2018 Yoga Alliance teachers will receive 10 hours of continuing education credit once they sign up and complete the additional material in the Sangha for Teachers.
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