Adapting your lifestyle and being mindful of how you are living from day to day—even in relatively simple or subtle ways—can be an extremely effective way of encouraging a return to balance.

A Qualitative Perspective

It’s helpful to understand which types of influences will be most supportive. Vata is soothed by experiences that are:

Heavy (think grounding and nourishing(

Warm (think in terms of keeping warm both physically and emotionally)

Oily (think unctuous and loving)

Smooth (think graceful and fluid)

Stable (think steady, reliable, tranquil, and stress-free)

Gross (think tangible, measureable, wholesome, and sustaining)

These qualities help to balance Vata’s tendency to be undernourished and depleted, as well as its dry, rough, light, cold, and mobile nature. They are also a perfect antidote to Vata’s flightiness, anxiousness, and impulsiveness. While incorporating Vata-pacifying qualities into your day-to-day experience may require a bit of effort and consideration initially, with practice, it can become quite intuitive.

Mental attributes of Vata characters influencing life style:

Vata people have many different fields of interest; they are creative, artistic, curious, easily enthusiastic and euphoric. They are fast thinkers, fast to perceive, have flexible minds, have a short memory so they do not hold a grudge, are spontaneous, communicative and love knowledge. When Vata overpowers, the result is swinging moods, insecurity, restlessness, over thinking, anxiety, concentration issues, confusion and tendency towards disarray.

Routine is Vata’s best lifestyle remedy. The minimum routine for healthy, happy, and successful living is:

1) Eating your meals at the same time daily and

2) Getting into and out of bed at the same time daily

Changes in these two areas disrupt your bio-rhythms, upset digestion and the liver, and have the potential to undermine Vata’s delicate health. Vata individuals must take caution not to get too excited or distracted. Excitement will ultimately lead to exhaustion and knock Vata off their routine. Instead, Vata must learn to channel their energy and focus in order to nurture their creative projects long enough to bear fruit.

Vata individuals can create more stability in their lives by making their home nurturing, affectionate, warm, soft, and comfortable. Slippers, comfortable sweaters, throw blankets, and plenty of pillows are helpful for Vata. Keep your home tidy, as a sure sign of Vata imbalance is disorganization or lack of cleanliness.

Traveling – excessive traveling, especially flying, will increase Vata. Rest, warmth, letting loose and relaxation will restore the balance.

Stimulation – constant stimulation (especially at night), long exposure to screens, neon lights, loud noise, drugs, sugar, and alcohol will increase Vata. Relaxing music, breaks, early sleep and late awakening, deep breath and oil massage will restore balance.

Temperature and surroundings – exposure to cold and dry weather or cold and dry food will increase Vata. Keeping warm and oiled will restore the balance. Vata people need warmth at all levels, from the surroundings, family, friends and food. Cold causes Vata to contract, tighten and block the natural flow of Vata. Vata people need rest, warmth, quiet, meditation, a feeling of security and of a home. They should dress up well, sit on soft chairs and mattresses and feel loved and hugged.

Birth or surgery – exposing the lower abdomen and the intestine area to cold increases Vata. After birth offer the mother a warm and oily porridge.

Key word for balance: routine, preserving a fixed routine will prevent the natural tendency for excess motion and will keep Vata from storming.

Elements of a Vata-Pacifying Lifestyle

In general, it’s important to slow down, ground, and create a sense of routine and stability. Making time for rest, sweetness, deep nourishment, and meaning will be potent medicine in and of itself. Pace yourself as you move through your day, and experiment with developing a radical devotion to self-care. Be willing to relinquish your attachment to spontaneity just enough to experience the benefit of having a sense of routine in your life. And when presented with a new opportunity, be willing to pause and consider the real impact that saying yes may have on you. Environmentally, it is best to insulate yourself from intensely cold or windy weather.

Below, you will find a few suggestions to get you started. This is a perfect opportunity to embrace going slow, being intentional and remaining open to the possibility that for you, less may truly be more. What’s important here is to follow your inspiration, and to keep things as simple as possible.

Daily Routine

The best places to start when creating more consistency include sleep and wake times, meal times, and work schedules. You might also want to consider consciously committing to more rest than you might think you need. While you may find that you generally sleep less than most, your body will likely thrive on more rest than you are used to, and naps can be part of the mix, if need be.

Life habits to decrease and balance excess Vata:

  1. Keeping a stable routine
  2. Moderation
  3. light physical exercise
  4. keeping warm
  5. exposure to the sun
  6. avoiding wind and cold
  7. early sleep
  8. sufficient sleeping hours
  9. avoiding excess work
  10. avoiding excess stimulation of the senses
  11. avoiding long and intensive traveling
  12. avoiding stress
  13. moderate sexual activity
  14. persistence
  15. relaxation
  16. indulge oneself

Life habits that increase Vata and create imbalance:

  1. Suppression of natural urges (defecation, urination, hunger, thirst, sleep…)
  2. Worry, fear, sadness
  3. Not enough food or fasting
  4. Staying awake at night, night shifts, shortage of sleeping hours
  5. Talking loudly for an extended period of time
  6. Eating “on the way”, dry food, cold food, leftovers
  7. No routine
  8. Excess physical or sexual activity
  9. Frequent traveling
  10. Never oiling the skin
  11. Shortage of a warm, moist and relaxed environment
  12. Using drugs
  13. Abdominal operations
  14. Suppression of emotions
  15. The end of the day, end of the night, old age

Yoga for balancing Vata

While there are Asanas (yoga postures) that are especially Vata-pacifying, it’s the overall approach to your practice that is going to have the biggest impact. As with other aspects of your life, bringing the qualities that calm Vata into your yoga practice can very effectively encourage a return to balance.

Intentionally create a sense of warmth, grounding, serenity, and nourishment in your practice. Be careful not to get chilled, and better yet, practice in a space that allows the body to stay comfortably warm. Most importantly, frame your practice as one that is strength-building and nourishing rather than depleting. Including restorative postures will help to infuse your practice with the energies that calm and balance Vata.

Pranayama for balancing Vata

If you are new to pranayama, start with Full Yogic Breath. Once that feels natural and comfortable, there are a couple of practices that are particularly Vata-pacifying. Nadi Shodhana (also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing) balances solar and lunar, masculine and feminine energies throughout the system, and is highly effective at calming the nervous system while pacifying excess Vata. Bhramari (or Humming Bee Breath) soothes and quiets the mind and the nervous system, invites us to connect with our truest inner nature, and supports sound sleep. Committing to just ten or fifteen minutes of pranayama each day can dramatically improve one’s state of mind and overall well-being.

Exercise for balancing Vata

Even adapting how you exercise can help to pacify Vata. Excess Vata tends to increase dryness, lightness, and mobility, as do many forms of exercise. Done carelessly, a well-meaning fitness routine can actually be highly aggravating to Vata. On the other hand, taking a few simple steps to adapt your approach to exercise can help to encourage an efficient return to balance. Be mindful of grounding and creating a sense of stability, even in your activity. Move more slowly and gracefully than you might naturally feel inclined to, and balance your workouts with plenty of time for rest and recovery. Working out during the Kapha times of day (6–10 AM and PM) will help to buffer the system against excess mobility and depletion. In any case, try to avoid exercising between 2–6 AM and PM, when a natural lightness, clarity, and transitional energy in the atmosphere can be especially Vata-provoking.

In general, exercise at about 50 percent of your capacity—taking care not to overdo it, but keeping things engaging and exciting in other ways. Slow down when you might normally tend to speed up. And see if you can invite your mind to be in a more laid-back space throughout your workout. Exercising outdoors can also help to calm and nourish Vata. You may also find it helpful to explore gentle activities like walking, tai chi, chi gong, and swimming (if you can be careful not to become chilled).

Awareness Is Everything

In Ayurveda, especially when we’re talking about lifestyle, just about anything can be medicine (or poison, for that matter). At the most fundamental level, following a Vata-pacifying lifestyle is about inviting more Vata-pacifying qualities into your day-to-day experience, whether through specific, focused practices, the overall attitude you cultivate towards life, or both. This is why fostering awareness is so critically important. With a little effort, we can become quite astute at knowing which types of experiences are going to nourish us and support our health, and which might tend to sabotage our well-being. Choosing to follow a Vata-pacifying lifestyle is a simple matter of practicing more discernment. It is an invitation to intentionally fill our days with supportive types of experiences, while limiting those that will be less so. As our understanding deepens, the very way we move through life becomes a powerful opportunity for healing.


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