Ayurveda: Vata Dosha

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ayurveda / Blog / Writing

Vata Dosha

The elements of Air + Ether/Space are reflected in our surrounding environment with the transition to Fall season through change — a drop in temperature, falling leaves, & windy weather. During this season in particular, Ayurveda addresses the aspects of Vata Dosha that are influenced by the Fall weather to help Vata stay balanced & grounded amidst the changes in the environment.

Features of Vata: Dry, light, subtle, astringent, cool, rough, mobile, & clear.

Physical Expression: Dry skin & mucosa, light + thin body frame, prominent joints, cold hands + feet, aversion to cold, stiffness + reduced mobility of the joints, muscle tension, shivering, low body weight, quick gait & rate of verbal expression, short bursts of activity, restlessness, movement, variable appetite, irregular digestion, bloating, light sleep or insomnia.

Mental Expression: Learns & understands new information well but forgets quickly, clairvoyance, openness, creativity, imagination, mental flexibility, scattered thinking, over-stimulation.

Emotional Expression: Anxiety, nervousness, worry, fear, insecurity, loneliness, mood swings, happiness, love, friendliness, excitement, quick reactions.

When in balance, Vatas are happy, loving, social, creative, imaginative, open, & mentally flexible.

When out of balance, Vatas may experience lack of stability, fatigue, worry, loneliness, over-stimulation, scattered thinking, anxiety, restlessness, digestive issues, and insomnia.

Balancing Vata Dosha: Physically, Mentally, Emotionally

Movement & Stillness

As the Dosha responsible for movement in the environment, mind, and body — Vatas enjoy being active. However, Vatas must be careful not to move too fast, as quick movement can result in Vata imbalance & potential injury, as Vata body types are susceptible to less stability in the joints & muscles. Vatas benefit from movement that is slow, mindful, warming, engaged, & strength-building. In addition, Vatas benefit greatly from the counterpose to movement — stillness. These aspects of movement & stillness are pacifying to Vata on a physical, mental, and emotional level.

Routine & Ritual

With tendencies toward constant movement and the potential for feelings of instability, Vatas benefit greatly from consistency, daily routine (dinacharya), and ritual. Examples include Ayruvedic cleansing such as drinking warm water upon waking in the morning to stimulate regular digestion, tongue scraping, and oil pulling. Additional recommendations include going to sleep & waking up at the same time each day, beginning the day with light activity such as gentle + warming yoga or walking, meditation every day to promote stillness & grounding, gentle pranayama, & eating at regular times.

Warmth & Grounding

Given the propensity toward cold, Vatas love warmth and benefit from wearing layers, warm & mildly stimulating colors (e.g., soft reds, oranges, yellows, gold), bundling up, and being cozy. It is important for Vatas to select foods that are warming, moist, oily, and heavier in nature to counteract the sense of lightness in the body. As a rule of thumb, Vatas should avoid or moderate foods that are raw, crunchy, and airy. To address dry skin, which is often exacerbated in the Fall & Winter and to improve circulation, Vatas benefit from gentle oil massage (abhyanga) with a warming oil such as sesame prior to showering or bathing. Vatas love physical touch, as it serves to calm, sooth, and stabilize.

Environment & Relationships

Choose leisurely activities that are gentle and calming. Vatas enjoy being social, however it is important for Vatas to be aware of environments that can be aggravating — e.g., limit time spent in loud, over-stimulating environments that increase overall energy. Vatas are loving & giving in both romantic and platonic relationships — however, if unbalanced, Vatas are at a higher risk of developing less secure attachments. Consider a work environment with a fairly consistent schedule that ideally does not involve being on your feet the entire day. If your work schedule is not consistent, or you are very active throughout the day, maintain a routine before + after work, and take breaks for stillness.

Maintaining Balance

Balance looks & feels different for everyone, and is not a static process. Maintaining balance involves a fine-tuned awareness & sensitivity to create subtle changes based on needs in the present moment.

Knowledge of the Dosha system creates understanding and compassion for the self & others. These suggestions can be beneficial for Vata Doshas, those experiencing a Vata imbalance, or during the Fall season when Vata energy is predominant in the surrounding environment.

References: Lad, V. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies.

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Introduction to Ayurveda

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Introduction

Ayurveda & Yoga are complimentary sciences aimed to balance the mind + body, especially when practiced together.

One of the main principles of Ayurveda involves Elemental Theory — meaning that all of the elements that exist in nature [Earth – Water – Fire – Air – Ether/Space] also exist within us in different proportions. According to Ayurveda, there are three primary  Doshas, or constitutions of the elements, in which two elements are predominant.

  • Vata: Air + Ether/Space
  • Pitta: Fire + Water
  • Kapha: Earth + Water

Nature’s changes & fluctuations are reflected in us on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. As such, it should be noted that although we hold a primary Dosha, we can be susceptible to imbalances in the other Doshas depending on the time of year, seasonal changes, life transitions, age, and physical or mental health & well-being.

With the guidance + wisdom from Ayurveda & Yoga, we are empowered to make healthy lifestyle choices through specific recommendations appropriate for each Dosha that return us to a state of balance — e.g., diet, physical activity, lifestyle, routines, relationships, & work environment. It is knowledge that helps us better understand nature, the self, and others.

If you are curious about discovering your dosha, take this Dosha Test from Eka Yoga.

 

schedule this week

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you can find me at Eka Yoga this week + a couple of guest appearances, filling in for the lovely Julee Yokoyama:

✨ sunday @ 10am · yoga for vatas {mindful flow + restorative}

✨ sunday @ 12pm · yoga for kaphas {vinyasa}

✨ monday @ 4:30pm · yoga for kaphas {vinyasa}

✨ thursday @ 4:30pm · yoga for vatas {mindful flow + restorative}

✨ exploring how to remain grounded amidst change around us with the transition into fall ✨

✨ learn more about ayurveda + discover your dosha at www.ekayogaseattle.com

Eka Yoga Grand Opening Party

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Eka Grand Opening

Come to Eka Yoga’s Grand Opening Party on Sunday, September 4th! There will be a free Tri-Doshic yoga class from 12-1:15pm, followed by an open house from 1:15 – 3pm with food + drinks, giveaways, pop-up shops featuring a local jewelry designer + t-shirt designer, and a fun + growing community.

Find more details on Eka Yoga’s website or Facebook page.

P.S. I will be on vacation 9/8 – 9/28, with a schedule change to Yoga for Vatas, Monday + Thursday @ 4:30pm starting 9/29.

restorative yoga for pittas

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· restorative yoga for pittas · monday 9:30am at Eka Yoga ·

balasana

· this calming practice of yoga + pranayama unwinds muscular tension from the body while slowing down the heart rate & decreasing blood pressure as the body deeply relaxes. without external stimulation, the thought patterns of the mind slow down & release too — creating a cooler, more receptive state that promotes creativity, receptivity & deeper insight ·

New Schedule!

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I am adding the following classes to my schedule at Eka Yoga — a new studio in lower Queen Anne that re-connects the practices of Yoga + Ayurveda.

On Mondays, I will be leading a class dedicated to nurturing + balancing Pitta Dosha. The focus of this class is cooling + restorative in nature with the use of props to support and deepen your practice. The class is held at room temperature.

On Thursdays, I will be leading a Tri-Doshic class, intended to benefit all Doshas. The focus of this class is to find the balance between effort + ease. The class is held at 80 degree room temperature.

  • Monday August 8th: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Thursday August 11th: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Monday August 15th: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Thursday August 25th: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Monday August 29th: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Thursday September 1st: 9:30 – 10:45
  • Vacation September 5th – 28th

Starting on September 29th, I will be leading a class dedicated to nurturing + balancing Vata Dosha every Monday & Thursday, 4:30 – 5:45pm. The focus of this class is to cultivate gentle, mindful, and warming connection to breath + movement. Props will be used to support and deepen your practice. The class is held at 80 degree room temperature.

Please visit Eka Yoga’s beautifully crafted website if you are curious about learning more about Ayurveda, its connection to Yoga, and how to discover your Dosha.

Shine in the Light of Integrity

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“Be solid in the light of your integrity.” – Silvia Mordini

Satya — the second Yama of the Yoga Sutras — asks for truth + integrity while remaining rooted in love + compassion. The heart of yoga is unity amongst ourselves and all living things. When we are not truthful, we create a palpable separation from the self + others — whereas when we express ourselves in alignment with truth, we feel an easeful connection to the universal flow — and everyone around us feels it too. Rooted in ourselves — our feelings, thoughts, words, and actions soften + become more heart-centered. We express inwardly + outwardly with graceful compassion — all the while connected to + intuitively guided by the liberating flow. In standing in the light of integrity, we encourage others to do so as well. The individual expression of truth and journey to this place is unique to our makeup — and that is why we all have something to offer the world.

The Yoga Begins Now

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sea to sky may

“When everything else is stripped away, the essential is revealed.” — B.K.S. Iyengar

The practices along the eight-limbed path of yoga re-align us with universal consciousness (chit), which streams through all of nature. All beings, creatures, plants, elements, and landscapes reveal an individual expression of consciousness, known as chitta. When we are tuned into the universal flow, we tap into the luminous + essential self with an internal steadiness and sense of receptivity. Though through our senses, much of our human experience is outwardly oriented — and as a result, we are susceptible to external energies that hold the potential to carry us away from our sense of connection to self + universal flow. It is in the wisdom of yoga sutra 1.1 — the yoga begins now — that we are reminded of the opportunity the present moment holds to align with the heartbeat of the universe. The more we practice, the more easily we are able to align, re-align, and remain aligned. In this sense, we can learn from nature — the ultimate example of graceful and sensitive adaptation.