There is a saying in Ayurveda that “there is no pain without Vata”. Vata is the metabolic “type” that represents the elements of Air and Space and governs the nervous system. It makes sense that the hurt we feel is connected to Vata, as the nervous system is instrumental in our experience of pain. Because this is true, we must soothe the nervous system in order to minimize pain.
Vata becomes dominant in the fall, so now is a good time to consider how we might soothe the nervous system by counteracting excessive Air and Space.
Stability & Consistency as Pain Care
The elements of Air and Space are characterized by their lack of structure, their subtlety, and their susceptibility to change. In daily life, this can look like an irregular schedule, and there’s nothing that rattles the nerves more than flying by the seat of our pants! When the body doesn’t know how much rest it will get or whether or not it will be fed, it resorts to defense mode, a hallmark of chronic pain.
The best way to balance Vata is to bring the opposite qualities of structure, stability, and consistency to our daily activities. A daily routine, known as “dinacharya” in Sanskrit, is crucial for calming the nervous system. If we establish a daily routine (even on the weekends), the nervous system soon learns how to turn off the alarm bells and find true relaxation.
Components of a Daily Routine
A daily routine is helpful all year round, but its grounding effect may be most appreciated in the fall and winter, when Vata is high in the natural environment. Here are three practices of Ayurveda that will bring stability and consistency to your day:
1. Wake with the Sun
The same elements that rule our bodies, rule our days as well. Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are the five elements that comprise all things, including you! At any given time of the day, one or two of these elements is dominant. The dominant elements from 6:00 - 10:00am are Earth and Water. These are the most dense, heavy and sluggish of all the elements. If we sleep much beyond 6:00am we become mired in the mud of Kapha, making it less and less appealing to get up and going.
2. Cleanse the body
Ayurveda offers so many jewels for true self care. Cleansing the body, first thing in the morning, removes the metabolic debris left from our deep sleep and clears the channels of the body and the mind. A good Ayurvedic morning ritual always includes scraping the tongue, cleaning the teeth and oiling the body (Abhyanga) using sesame, coconut or herb-infused oils. Of all the practices recommended, Abhyanga is my go-to for a frazzled nervous system.
3. Eat 3 Meals a day at the same time
Nourishing ourselves throughout the day is crucial. Skipping meals and eating sporadically teaches the nervous system to hang on to fat as back up fuel. Once the nervous system can rely on three regular meals each day, it can relax and let go of that excess fat. Speaking of fat, the nervous system needs it! Existing on salads and smoothies further aggravates Vata dosha, shutting down digestion and causing chronic constipation and other digestive difficulty. Having a balanced diet of good, whole grains, freshly-cooked vegetables, and quality lean proteins, along with good fats like sesame, coconut and olive oil, ensures that the body is getting all it needs.
Nutrition is another aspect of the Ayurvedic approach. To balance the lightness, dryness, and coolness of Vata in the fall, it’s important to incorporate foods that are dense, oily, warm, and moist. Lisa's Mulligatawny Soup is a great recipe to ground and nourish in the Fall season.
Ayurvedic Health Counselor at The Beauty of Ayurveda
Blending more than 35 years of experience in the health and beauty industry with a deep passion for the profound healing science of Ayurveda, Lisa finds joy in helping others to develop a personal wellness plan using individual consultation, Ayurvedic body therapies and private yoga sessions. Lisa believes that beauty is revealed when one aligns her true self with the wisdom of Mother Nature.
Interested in a free Ayurveda overview? Contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.