If you want to bring about change in the mind, body and soul then a daily routine is absolutely necessary. Routine helps us balance our Ayurvedic constitution (remember Vata, Pita & Kapha?) and also regulates our body clock, aids digestion, absorption, creates discipline, self-esteem, peace, happiness and longevity – just to name a few. It’s an important act of self-love and offers us that grounding, stability that’s generally missing in our mostly chaotic modern day lives.
Vata (‘that which moves things’) types are generally highly mobile and active – Vata combines the Ether and Air elements remember – so when Vata is elevated, we’re more likely taking too much on, stressed and exhausted. It’s easy for Vatas to overexert themselves, feel rundown and ungrounded and although the word ‘routine’ might send shivers down a Vatas spine, it’s what a Vata needs the most!
Trust me, I know. I’m predominantly Vata and I really hated the thought of having a daily routine, until I implemented one and felt how much it served me! Now, if I fall off the horse I instantly recognise the signs of a Vata imbalance because all sorts of thing go out of whack – not to mention just my general sense of well-being.
If we can create some habits to use throughout the day as anchors, I think we Vatas will find that some kind of routine will act as a potent medicine to ground our energy, clam the nervous system and break these busy, chaotic cycles most of us have these days.
Ayurveda suggests that most of the daily routine is done in the morning after waking. The early morning is a powerful time for your self-care and this timeframe will set the tone for your entire day. Simply changing your mornings can change your life.
So here are some Vata pacifying recommendations to incorporate into your daily routine…
- Give gratitude, say a little prayer – I like this one, but you can definitely say your own. “Thank you for this beautiful day before me. May joy, love, peace and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day. I am healing and I am healed.” After this prayer touch the ground with your right hand, then the same hand to the forehead or your heart, with great love and respect to Mother Earth.
- Scrape your tongue & brush your teeth – Tongue scrapping removes bacteria and toxins that have accumulated on the tongue overnight. Ayurveda recommends cleaning the teeth with herbs that promote oral health—like neem—which are typically bitter, astringent, or pungent in taste.
- Drink Warm Lemon Water – Drinking a glass of warm water cleanses, detoxifies, alkalises and awakens the digestive tract, hydrates the tissues, and promotes peristalsis—which can encourage a bowel movement, even when there is a tendency toward sluggishness or constipation. If no lemon, drink warm water first thing and it will have many of the same benefits. It is best to drink water only after the mouth and the tongue have been cleansed so as not to swallow the bacteria and toxins that have accumulated in the mouth overnight. Rinse mouth with water after lemon water to protect your tooth enamel.
- Warm Oil Massage (Abhyanga) – Rub warm oil over the head and body. Gentle, daily oil massage of the scalp can bring happiness, as well as prevent headache, baldness, and receding hairline. Oil your body before a shower in the morning or oil before bedtime to help with a sound sleep and keep the skin soft. For use warm sesame oil.
- Honour your energy levels – Because excess Vata can leave us feeling tired and run down, honouring your energy levels is truly one of the most important things you can do to balance Vata. Leave space in your schedule for down time, rest, and relaxation and don’t overexert yourself.
- Meditate – Try to meditate morning and evening for at least 15 minutes. Meditation brings balance and peace into your life and will calm a Vata’s flighty mind. It’s truly important so please let me know if you need some help with this and we can find a meditation that suits you.
- Movement & Exercise -When vata is high, we want to be very slow and intentional about physical activity. Too much intense exercise can aggravate Vata. So, if you are going to be active, take it easy and consider including the following in your daily routine:
- Yoga or gentle stretching. Vata pacifying Yoga (like Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow – just to name a few) is best for Vata (reach out if you want more info on this). Any gentle stretching will usually be supportive. Really to listen to your body and to move slowly. Avoid moving quickly, and see if you can create a relaxed, restorative relationship with your yoga routine. Incorporate some Pranayama (breathing) before or after your yoga, like 12 alternate nostril breaths (Nadi Shodana) for Vata.
- Gentle exercise. The best forms of exercise for Vata are those that are relatively slow, gentle, and grounding—things like walking, gentle cycling, tai chi, chi gong, or swimming (so long as it’s not too cold)
- Use of Perfumes – Using natural scents, essential oils, or perfumes brings freshness, charm and a sense of joy. It gives vitality to the body and improves self-esteem. For Vata the best scent to use is hina or amber.
- Breakfast – Your meal should be lighter in the hot months or if your agni (digestive fire) is low, and more substantial in the cooler months. Warm oats with cinnamon and raisins are great for Vata. Refer back to this post for nutritional recommendations for pacifying Vata http://220.127.116.11/~elevlife/balancing-the-vata-dosha/
Note: Slow down your morning routine: Starting your day with a chaotic mindset will only cause stress and anxiety. Have a set routine for your morning rituals and breakfast so that you can focus on one thing at a time without being rushed.
- Honour Your Bedtime – choose a bedtime and stick with it as best you can. A good rest is deeply rejuvenating and Vata-pacifying. If you have to wakeup at certain time every day, work backwards and go from then (based on how much sleep you need in order to feel fully rested) to find your appropriate bedtime. Don’t cut your sleep short and get a minimum of seven hours, preferably eight or more though. I think you’ll find that you sleep more soundly if you’re in bed before 10 p.m. A successful daily routine begins the night before!
Try adding some of these and if you think a routine just isn’t your thing, start small! Don’t try to take on too much all at once – this can cause more stress than it relieves – Be realistic and start with some little things you feel inspired to do and then add gradually from there 🙂
Share this with your loved ones or anyone you think may benefit – it’s likely we will all experience a Vata imbalance at some stage (as this is usually the first Dosha to become out of balance) so take not of all three Doshas as we go through them. Kaphas, you’re next!!