Ayurveda Series 2 – How To Balance Vata

“I’m so vata right now”. If you’re anything like me, you will know exactly what the statement means. No matter what your predominant dosha or body type, we can all develop imbalances in any of the three doshas. So even if you are more pitta or kapha, this still applies to you. And in this episode we will be taking a look into how to balance the vata dosha through diet and lifestyle.
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Welcome back to the show. I’m your host Nick Broadhurst, and that song you were listening to was the second single I ever released called Take Me Down, and it will also be on my debut album which comes out on June 29th. When I wrote that song I was feeling incredibly challenged by the level of resistance I had developed to putting my music out into the world. Every time I hear that it now feels like a different person. I can’t imagine why I ever blocked myself from sharing my music. In the end, my resistance did not take me down, but, there is one thing that can, and regularly does, and that is a vata imbalance.

Just so I avoid repeating myself, please make sure you listen to Ayurveda Series 1 first which you can find at iamnickbroadhurs.com/21 to 24. And if you skipped ahead to this episode, that’s so vata of you right now, then please resist the urge to jump around and be all flighty, and head back to episode 77 – Your Digestive Fire, then 78 – Rekindling Your Agni/Digestive Fire, 79 – The Root Cause Of Disease and 80 – The Antidote to Ageing. Listening to this series sequentially will make much more sense as the information I am presenting builds up layer upon layer.

I could seriously spend an hour, or 10, on this topic. I am oh so familiar with balancing vata because it is my daily challenge that the universe has assigned to me. And rather than talk about all the ways you can imbalance vata, I am going to approach this from the perspective of pacifying or balancing vata because really the imbalancing part is just the opposite of that.

I want you to remember four things…

  1. Nourishing
  2. Warm
  3. Calm
  4. Regular

So first, let’s talk lifestyle and how these apply…

To pacify vata we want make sure we get adequate sleep. Not too much because anything in excess will imbalance vata. Just adequate. I have spoken about this before but in general we want to be looking at around 8 hours, from 10pm to 6am. That would be the absolite latest in my books. Ideally 9pm to 5am so you can get up before the world and start your daily routine, because yes, a daily routine is very pacifying for vata.

Next we want to stay warm. A very quick way to imbalance vata is to allow energy to leak from your body, and we can do this by going barefoot when it’s cold, not dressing warmly enough, and exposing ourselves to windy environments. Remember, vata is air, so more air ain’t a good thing. If you can manage to live in a warm environment, then your vata will thank you!

You want to live in a harmonious and balanced way with the natural; rhythms of the earth and of your body. Mother nature is your best friend so spend time in nature to calm your naturally overactive nervous system. Meditate daily, practice yoga and do gentle forms of breathing exercises which I will discuss in an upcoming series because breathwork is a massive piece in this puzzle of life.

Avoid anything that is draining. We want to avoid all emotional, physical and mental excesses. Think of your favourite spiritual master. Let’s take Buddha for example. I picture him as calm and moving at a gentle pace. See if you can live more in that energy, rather than go go go.

One thing I love so much is daily self massage, also known in Ayurveda as abhyanga. Before you jump in the bath or shower, give yourself a quick dry body brush to stimulate your lymphatic system, then get half a cup of warm organic cold pressed sesame oil, and massage your whole body. It takes me about 5 minutes. I try to leave it on a slong as possible, normally about 10 min, then I have a shower or bath which helps the body absorb the oil.

Onto food because I know you are going to want to hear this. To balance vata we want to favour warm over cold, oily over dry, grounding over light and smooth over rough. The tastes we want to lean more towards are sweet, such as root vegetables, fruit, ghee, grains, eggs, seeds, nuts and oils. Sweet is the bedrock of a vata pacifying diet… lucky you! For me the sweet potato is pretty much the perfect vata food. Sattvic, grounding, sweet and full of colour. But overdoing it will lead to imbalance, so always in moderation. This is not an excuse to go out and smash sweet potato chocolate brownies! But sweet can be very grounding and nourishing which can build strength in the naturally catabolic vata body type.

Next would be sour, such as lemon, oranges and grapefruit. These can make great snacks, but always away from food. Think of sour as more like a garnish to your meal. It’s also great for stimulating digestion and eliminating toxins. And next in line would be salty which can stimulate digestion and appetite, plus, what happens when you hang out in the sympathetic nervous system for too long? Your burn out your adrenals, and salt, or sodium, feeds the adrenals. It all fits together, hey? But again, not in excess.

Anything cold, like cold water, or even cold carbonated water with lots of air, is not really your friend.

The tastes we want to lean away from are pungent, such as chillies, raw onions and radishes. Bitter, such as dandelion greens, eggplant and chocolate… yep, chocolate! Sorry. Whenever I am imbalanced I always crave chocolate. Hmmm… wonder why I have been eating it this week…

And the next taste to minimise would be astringent, which is anything that dries out your mouth like an unripe banana, black beans, soy beans, chick peas and adzuki beans. You can also find astringent tastes in green apples, pomegranate, broccoli and cauliflower. Doesn’t mean you can’t have them, just don’t make them your focus. If you want exhaustive list of vata pacifying foods, just ask Dr Google, but the key thing is to understand the taets to favour and the tastes to minimise. And of course, how to live a vata pacifying lifestyle.

In the next episode we will dive into balancing pitta, so if you are not subscribed to this show, please hit the subscribe button in your podcast app.

Please head into iTunes and leave me a radically honest review and tell me what you want more of. I don’t often read reviews out on the show, but I think I might start. I think it’s really interesting. I get to see what you like, and sometimes, you know what, it’s just nice to know that my work is making a difference in the world. So, @rachbon said…

Compelling and timely.

Love this podcast! It’s so poignantly delivered. Addresses the issues we all face. Being human and how to gracefully and with intent move forward and grow.

Thanks Rachbon!

I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @iamnickbroadhurst on social media. Please also leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a review on iTunes I would be very grateful. Tell me what you want more of! I am at your service.

P.S. Always listen to your intuition (and your doctor or practitioner) before trying any new health practice.

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