1. Oil every orifice! (I’m serious.) We are oil-pulling (mouth); doing nasya (nose and ears), and basti (colorectum) in my house. Vata is dry, dry, dry. We may notice drier nasal passages and lips, but we don’t do anything about it. In ayurveda, oiling helps to fortify the epithelium that lines the orifices and prevents against vata imbalance in these areas (e.g. prevents upper respiratory infections, earaches/tinnitis/infections, constipation/diverticuli, etc.)
2. Oil your skin. This is the largest organ of the body, and a digestive organ. Medicinal oils are so important this time of year. Although traditional abhyangha (daily self massage) is recommended before bathing, I recommend oiling yourself after bathing in place of a lotion or sheabutter. 20 minutes on your skin is all it takes for something to be seen in your blood stream! So medicinal oils are a great way to take in herbs that are balancing and reduce dryness from the outside in.
3. Cook with ghee. Ghee, to me, is clarified life-force from breastmilk–minus the lactose sugars and waxes/debris in butter that clog arteries. It nourishes all tissues, is known to help rejuvenate deeper tissues, and pacifies vata and pitta. Ghee reduces dryness and increasing the quality of tissues from the inside-out. On this note, avoid dry and cold foods!
4. Lock into some kind of routine. Routine is rhythm and that rhythm is what our internal clocks (e.g. circadian rhythms) will set to. With routine to anchor your mind and body, there is greater harmony amongst the millions of processes taking place inside your miraculous self. This synchrony helps prevent against imbalance.
5. Spend quality time with supportive people in your life. AKA bring in healthy kapha. Really plug into the people that ground you. Maybe instead of going to get a drink in a noisy bar, you go for a walk together; instead of watching a movie, prepare a meal together. You get the idea, it’s about feeling present during your time together.
6. Move around less (that means stay at home more) Constant movement is the hallmark of vata. Stay still. Leave space in your schedule. Lie on the floor, stare at the trees out of the window, meditate…just be. After all, we are human BEings, not human DOings.
7. Go to bed before 9pm. I know, that is a G rated bedtime…and almost impossible during holiday festivities. But really, this is when vata time of night really kicks in, so as many days as possible that you can accomplish this (or closer to this than you are now), you will reduce the vata you take in.
8. Spend less time around electronics. All EMR is movement–TV and laptops screens are moving so fast. And that movement is stimulating to our brains. Less stimulation=less vata.
9.Get massaged (with oil of course). Human touch is grounding. Massages reduce tension, and soften the body. Soft, supple, warm and oily are all qualities that balance vata.
10.Flame-gaze. This is so great when you are feeling scattered and having trouble focusing. So many holidays this time of year incorporate candles and light (Hannukah, Diwali, Kwanza…), so take advantage. Just stare at the flickering flame and allow yourself to become fully immersed in it’s dance and nature. That’s it! It also calms the nervous system.
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