Is your state of health unbalanced, or in need of correction? Correcting Vata dosha

“Answer a simple “yes” or no” to the following questions:

Say yes if this is the way you have felt consistently over a long period of time (I have always been/felt like this) OR if you have been feeling this way recently ( I never had/felt this before, but it is happening more often now)

Mind and moods:

I think and worry excessively
I think of the same thing over and over again
I feel a sense of nervousness, anxiety, panic and fear often
I am full of enthusiasm while starting something, which exhausts very quickly. Working in spurts and bursts than consistently
I am very active, sometimes restless, but I have low stamina
I am easily exhausted and irritable
Joints & tendons

My neck and other joints feel stiff, often
I often develop twitches and tics in the eyes and lips
I experience sudden spasms and pain in the muscles
My bones hurt and I can hear a creaking sound in the joints
Skin:

My skin has darkened
My skin feels dry and rough patchy skin
My skin is dry or chapped
I am seeing skin wrinkles showing up prematurely
My skin is dry and lustreless
I have dark circles under the eyes and general darkening of complexion
Sleep

My sleep is light and often interrupted
Appetite and Digestion

I have constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools
I have low body weight or varying body weight
My appetite and digestion is irregular/variable: I feel extremely hungry on one day and loss of appetite on another
Nails and Hair

My nails are hard, brittle, rough and cracked
My hair is dry, rough and coarse and tangles easily
My eyes become dull very quickly
Climate , environment and reaction to it:

I dislike the cold and the wind
I am unable to tolerate loud noises
I love the heat and feel ‘active’ after getting sun
React quickly to climatic change
befunky-collage

Periods

My periods are irregular
I experience scanty blood flow in my periods
Teeth and gums

I often have teeth and gum problems
My teeth are sensitive to cold
Lifestye

Excessive use of gadgets for work or entertainment
Long commutes, late nights, eating out often

If your answer is yes for most of the above, some of the following changes may help you towards better health and well being for your body and mind.

Prescribed dietary modifications :

Food should be well cooked and warm
Food should be consumed on time
Cooked food is better than raw. Too much raw food like cold salads, should be avoided especially in the morning and evening
Choose fruits which are naturally sweet and sour like banana, avocado, melons, mangoes, coconut, oranges, plums, cherries, grapes, lemons, figs, dates etc.,
Though fruits are good for you, a fruit-only diet is not suitable
Natural sour foods like lemon and oranges are suitable, but avoid sour curd, vinegar, pickles and overly fermented food like old dosa/idli batter/ alcohol. Sweet wines in small quantities are better for you than beer or hard liquor.

Spices like fresh ginger, cumin, ajwain, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, garlic are useful. Avoid green chillies.
Over eating or heavy foods will quickly lead to digestive problems
Though salt is good for you, use it in cooked food moderately, do not consume fried salty foods
Vegetables like green beans, okra, radish, turnip, sweet potatoes, onion
Whole grains like rice, wheat are suitable more than oats and millets. The grains should be well cooked with butter/ghee/oil.
Bread and processed food like noodles, canned food and food items made with maida/all purpose flour are not suitable. Drying foods like biscuits, chips, khakra, popcorn, crackers should be avoided.
Dairy products are suitable, but not in cold form. Warm milk can be consumed with cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric and unrefined sugar
Moong dal is better than Tuvar dal, Rajma and Chana. When other dals are used, cook with turmeric, cumin, pepper, hing or coriander
Almond is the best nut for you. Soak them overnight and remove the skin and eat in the morning. Pumpkin seeds are good too. All other nuts should be consumed moderately.
Fats and oils should be a part of your regular diet. Choose the oil which you are habituated to, as your family diet, than choosing new oils like olive oil. (They may be a healthy option in themselves, but your body may not be able to digest). Take cow’s ghee with rice, wheat and pulses. Moderate use of oil and ghee in all forms except deep fried is beneficial to you.
Frozen items like ice cream should be consumed rarely
Choose nourishing drinks and warm drinks over aerated drinks
Stimulant drinks like coffee, tea are not suitable and should be taken rarely and always with milk.

Lifestyle modifications

Avoid multitasking, bring in more routine and consistency
Spend time to organize your day at home and work
Choose warmth over cold wherever and whenever possible
Choose calmness and serene over loud and harsh. (Eg. While listening to music)
Room temperature is better than AC environment
Develop a habit of applying oil on head and body at least twice a week, if not more. Seasame oil based oils are best suited for you.
Learn relaxation techniques and meditate regularly even if it is for 5 mins.
Remember to replenish your energy with at least 7-8 hours of sleep
Bring in discipline in food, exercise, sleep and work
Smoking is best avoided
Avoid frequent changes in work, routine, place and timings. Favour stability vs excitement.
Avoid rigorous and excessive exercise. Choose light, slow but regular exercise like short strolls, yogic stretches, and learn breathing techniques

An afternoon nap of 10-15 minutes will help you avoid exhaustion
Take deep breaths in between tasks and avoid rush
Accept and begin to love the complexion, colour, texture, nature of your hair and skin. Take loving care of it rather than build anxiety trying to change it with curlers, straighteners, hair dryers, chemical peeling, and bleaching. Indulge rarely and replenish and nourish without fail. Healthy and nourished skin and hair will always glow.
Avoid chemical shampoos, perpetual use of hair gels, hair dyes and hair sprays.

Make your house and work place soothing with gentle, soothing music, colours, art and fragrant smells
Avoid excessive partying, late nights and if you indulge, compensate with soothing and relaxing activities
A gentle pace with less hurry and more awareness is the recipe

Last, but not the least, in spite of our knowledge of good and bad, we will indulge sometimes (this is called pragnaparadha in Ayurveda). Have a good time, but do not feel guilty and depressed. Quickly take remedial measures

As some of you may have guessed, we mostly discussed about Vata related symptoms, constitution, food and lifestyle today. Vata is the driving force of the other doshas and is mostly responsible for all aspects of health and disease. So, by balancing Vata through some small, but powerful changes, we have taken a big step towards a healthy mind and body. Great hair and skin is a given in a healthy body.

A note of caution: These are general suggestions to suit people with the above mentioned symptoms. Adopt these guidelines suitably after contemplation. You know your body better than anyone. If needed, take the help of your Ayurvedic doctor to customize the most suitable diet and lifestyle for you to enjoy a healthy mind and body. Your Vaidya may also suggest some herbs to balance the doshas. Be rest assured, that your hair and skin care regimen begins here.

Dr.Anupama is an Ayurvedic consultant at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center based in Bangalore. She believes that the Ayurvedic way of living is more relevant today than ever before. Her success in treating infertility cases has earned her immense love and gratitude from her patients. She is also a medical consultant for some Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies and advises them on product formulation and development of proprietary Ayurvedic medicines.” Source

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