Balancing Vata: Part II of III | You Aughta Calm That Vata

Posted By on Nov 5, 2011 |

Balancing Vatta with Kathryn Templeton
So, when we last examined the idea of Vata dosha we spoke about the elemental make-up, air and ether, and how it is related or experienced in nature and our body and mind (Click here to read ‘Gotta Lotta Vata?’). The qualities, or gunas, of Vata are cold, hard, dry, rough, mobile (or moving for the sake of movement), light and irregular. The seasons of late fall and winter are governed by similar qualities and so these qualities are heightened both within and outside of us during this time of year. 

When we are in balance with our nature (Prakruti) the Vata attributes allow us to flow with ease among our many tasks. We seem to be more able to access our creativity and expression of our senses. Parties and social gatherings are fun and light-hearted. Our bodies feel more graceful, at ease and in sync.

So what is the big deal? Well, sometimes we get imbalanced… yes, it is true! When this happens these qualities become heightened and we start to feel different; we have a hard time regulating our internal body temperature, we start to get dry skin, or irregular aches/pains, we begin to feel anxious or have trouble calming down and focusing our mind. Sometimes sleep becomes difficult, either falling asleep or staying asleep. Our digestion can become irregular too. We might start having even more difficulty staying on track with our daily routines as Vata loves to move… 

So how can we enjoy the ease of a creative mind and flowing body without moving into being called “airheads with restless feet?” Here are some tips on how to enjoy the HOLIDAZE, the lightness of the season, and keep your Vata snuggled up and calmed down.

Let’s start with ROUTINE. Yes, the “R” word, for folks who have a predominate Vata dosha. Often routines are very tough for Vata as this person is the queen/king of multitasking and thrives on change. To anchor Vata, especially in this season, we begin with a morning routine. There are many options in ayurvedic medicine for what we include in this routine. Generally, we want to offer ourselves some kindness and care before we hit the road and start our day. I suggest you consider at least three morning activities that you do just after waking up, before too many distractions take your Vata mind in other directions.

Start your day with tongue scraping to rid the body of toxins (ama). It is one quick and clean start. Katy has lots of great tongue scrapers in all the studios. It takes less than a minute and offers you three benefits.

  • Gets the wastes (ama) out of the mouth vs. rubbing those wastes back into our tongues by “brushing” the tongue.
  • Offers the digestive system more appropriate access to the tastes, which then triggers digestive enzymes to start working and digesting from the moment food enters your mouth.
  • You will be able to enjoy your food more as you will be able to better taste the flavors from a clean and toxin free tongue!
  • Oh, and dentists tell us your breath stays fresher longer too… perfect for the mistletoe part of winter!
  • Next area to cleanse and prepare for a fabulous, smooth and focused day of ease? The nose! Netti pot followed by nasya oil is an excellent ayurvedic routine to cleanse not only mucous from the system, but to open up the senses (eyes, ears and smell/taste) and clear the mind! I recommend using the Netti Gold salt made by the Himalayan Institute, in your water to aid in cleansing the physical body and the mind with essential oils and herbs. Once the nasal passages are cleaned they might get dehydrated and will be vulnerable to pollutants, so I recommend using a nasya (nasal) oil to support right moisture (so reactive mucous will not be created) and to create a barrier to catch pollutants. The other boon to using a medicated nasya oil, or herb infused oil, is that the medication (herbs) will offer a nervine or mind calming/stimulating effect depending upon the herbal mix. “Clarity” and “Bliss” nasya oils, both offered at all yogahOMe studios,  will do the trick! “Clarity” nasya oil provides stimulation for fatigued or dull minds and aids in mucous control. Meanwhile, “Bliss” offers a cooling or soothing of the mind (great for us “hot heads”!) along with antibacterial effect.Finally, to remind yourself that you are an auscpious being, a vessel of the Divine and a lovely person, I suggest you Abyhanga. Yep, that’s right… massage yourself with warm, soothing and calming oil everyday before you shower.  This is one of the oldest acts of love and respect from ancient culture. Anointing the body with oil, offering a sense of calm and deep love, really helps to soothe the Vata dosha and will make you remember that you are indeed loved! Before applying the oil, you need to take a dry wash cloth or dry brush and clean the skin. It only takes a minute or two, moving the cloth or brush in long stokes on the long bones and in circular movements around on the joints. Plus, this brushing actions helps you in three ways.
    • It cleans the dermis (skin) by sloughing off dry skin,
    • stimulates nervous system by lighting up the PNS (peripheral nervous system) and coordinating with CNS (central nervous system)
    • and, it activates most of the 72,000 nadis of the subtle energy body.

    Once you have warmed up the skin with dry brushing you then take some warm oil (I put my oil bottle under the faucet while dry brushing to warm up my oil) and gently pour onto your body… ALL over! Again, rub with long strokes on the long bones and circular strokes on your joints. Ahhh, I feel better just writing about it!

    There now, starting off your day with this little routine might just be enough to calm down your nervous system and prepare you, and the rest of us, for your glorious, calm and creative self to shine!
    xo, Kathryn
    Click here for Part I in Kathryn’s Balancing Vata series, ‘Gotta Lotta Vata?’

    Kathryn Templeton headshot

    Kathryn Templeton

    About Kathryn Templeton
    Kathryn Templeton has devoted her life to the health of others. A psychotherapist for more than 20 years, Kathryn is a Master Teacher in the field of Drama Therapy and continues to work both clinically and as an educator specializing in the treatment of individuals with complex trauma. As an E-500 RYT and NAMA-registered Ayurvedic practitioner, Kathryn has worked to develop specialized treatments integrating the principles of yoga and Ayurveda with clinical therapeutic techniques. Kathryn is currently a faculty member at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA, teaching courses on the
    Three Wisdom Traditions and Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist Training. In addition, she teaches in their 500-hour RYT program along with other yoga teacher training programs around the country and is an Adjunct Professor of Human Development and General Psychology in the Connecticut Community College system. She holds memberships with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, the National Association of Drama Therapists and the National Ayurvedic Medical Association..