Routine for balancing Vata

Establishing a supportive daily routine is a crucial part of the Ayurvedic lifestyle, but it is particularly essential when Vata is provoked. Our physiology is very much adapted to—and supported by—a sense of routine. Vata is highly mobile and active, so when it is elevated, we are very likely over-committed, stressed-out, and exhausted. Our bodies may feel fragile and run down, our minds flighty and ungrounded. And as much as we may resist it, a sense of routine is potent medicine for balancing Vata because it creates a number of anchor points throughout the day that serve to ground one’s energy, calm the nervous system, and disrupt the self-perpetuating cycles of stress and busy-ness that have become the norm for so many of us.

start with a few simple commitments—things like going to bed and getting up at the same times each day, eating three meals at roughly the same times daily, and pampering yourself with one or two quiet, nourishing practices that calm the mind and soothe the nervous system.

Evening Routine

Where Vata is concerned, getting adequate rest is exquisitely important, so focusing on your evening habits is always a useful starting point. And in truth, a successful daily routine begins the night before. Choosing to be intentional about the flow of your evening ensures that you are grounded at the end of your day, that you get enough rest, and that you sleep as soundly as possible.

Floss, dental stick and brush your teeth.

Shower with warm water to rinse off any tight muscles and remaining stress of your day.

Dry well and Self-massage your feet, or whole body (excluding your scalp) with warm oil. This practice helps to calm the mind and ground the energy before sleep. During winter and summer use sesame oil.For more information about self-massage read about Abhyanga.

Stretch and spend some time in relaxing Yoga poses.Practice Bhramari Pranayama. This yogic breathing practice calms both the mind and the body. It can also help to support sound and peaceful sleep. Even 2 minutes can have a considerable impact.

Honor an early bedtime: receiving adequate rest is deeply rejuvenating and Vata-pacifying. Budget a minimum of seven hours for sleep, preferably eight or more, and you may find that you sleep more soundly if you retire by or before 10 PM. If you have an intention to awaken especially early on a regular basis, you might consider working backwards from that time to establish an appropriate bedtime—allowing a minimum of seven hours for sleep.

If you tend to have trouble quieting your mind, falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night,check out how to balance Insufficient Sleep.

Morning Routine

The first step in creating a morning routine is to choose a consistent time to wake up. Because rest is essential, please give yourself permission to sleep later than you normally might if your schedule requires you to stay up late, or if your bedtime routine is disrupted for some reason. Otherwise, Vata does best to awaken around 6:30 or 7:00 am.

Eliminate: naturally it is recommended to eliminate upon waking every day. If you are not already in the habit of having a bowel movement first thing each morning, simply relaxing on the toilet for a few minutes can encourage the body to develop a sense of regularity. Drinking warm water (see below) will also support this habit.

Brush your teeth: be gentle about it.

Swish with oil: oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to nourish and rejuvenate the teeth and gums, loosen plaque from the teeth, balance oral bacteria, and relax the muscles of the neck and jaw. If you are new to this practice, please check how to do Oil Pulling.

Drink warm water. Drinking 1–4 cups of warm (or hot) water after your oral hygiene routine helps to stimulate and gently awaken the digestive tract, hydrate the tissues, and also promotes peristalsis—which can encourage a healthy morning bowel movement.

Morning Nourishment

Spare a few moments after done with hygiene care for stretching and/or quiet meditation and/or some Pranayama.

Rejuvenating herbs: help to rebuild the body’s natural strength and stamina and counter excess Vata’s tendency to leave us feeling depleted or run down. Consider taking a teaspoon of Ashwagandha marmalade each morning before breakfast, to nourish and rejuvenate the tissues.

Breakfast: Complete your morning nourishment with a nutritious and healthy breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy meal is incredibly stabilizing for Vata.

Throughout the Rest of Your Day

Eat three square meals daily: make sure that you have three nutritious meals each day, possibly taking one or two of your recommended digestive herbal tablets before each meal. Do your best to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at consistent times as well. Excess Vata can easily leave us feeling spacey and forgetful—so much so that we may forget to eat. Whereas eating regularly stabilizes the body, grounds the energy, nourishes the tissues, and helps to strengthen the digestive fire. Therefore, we want to avoid skipping or delaying meals whenever possible.

Honor your energy levels: because excess Vata can leave us feeling tired and run down, honoring 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. Maybe take some time to pamper yourself. It is equally important to pace yourself in your activities so as not to wear yourself out. Practice saying no to new commitments that don’t feel fully aligned, and be willing to take a stand for your own self-care. Do your best to slow down and really enjoy your day as it unfolds.

Movement and exercise: when Vata is high, we want to be very slow and intentional about physical activity. Too much intense exercise can actually be quite Vata-aggravating. So if you are going to be active, take it easy, and consider including the following in your daily or weekly routine:

Yoga or gentle stretching: Vata-Pacifying Yoga is best for Vata, and any gentle stretching will usually be supportive. Take care to listen to your body and to move slowly. Focus on cultivating fluidity in your movements. Avoid moving quickly, and see if you can foster a relaxed, restorative relationship with your activities.

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 (be sure to avoid becoming chilled). The best time of day to exercise is when Kapha dominates the atmosphere, between 6–10 AM and PM.

Less is more

Because Vata is so deeply supported by a sense of routine, following a Vata-pacifying daily routine can be a turning point in your path toward balance. Remember to keep it simple. It’s best to start with a few consistent touchstones throughout each day, work with those for a couple of weeks, and then re-assess your capacity to stick with them. At first, you may actually find that you need to simplify even further in order to be successful. You can always expand your routine as the initial elements you commit to become second nature. So celebrate simplicity, embrace taking time for yourself, and enjoy easing yourself into a sense of routine.


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