yoga teacher certificationBy Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250

Winter Ayurvedic dietary guidelines for the Vata dosha will help to nourish and balance this airy and light-footed dosha during the cold winter months. Ayurveda is a comprehensive health care system that promotes optimal health and equilibrium on all levels of a person’s being. This ancient system of healing herbs, detoxification practices, lifestyle guidelines and nutritional advice was developed over five thousand years ago in Northern India. It is known as the healing companion science to the practice of Yoga and meditation.

Ayurvedic doctors believe that disease and distress arise from an unbalanced dosha or body/mind type. The term “dosha” encompasses all of the various aspects of a human being including his or her physical, mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual ways of being in the world. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, there are three different doshas: Kappa, Pitta and Vata. Usually an individual is comprised of a combination of two doshas with one of the doshas being predominant in his or her individual composition.

The Vata dosha is regulated by the air element. It is very mobile, quick and fleet-footed. The Vata aspect of the universe is related to movement both in and outside of the body. In the human body, the Vata element governs our respiratory, circulatory, digestive and cardiovascular systems. Vata is also correlated with the movement of prana or life force energy within the body. Emotionally, the Vata dosha inspires joy, creativity and quick, intelligent speech. Vatas tend to be light-framed, delicate and sometimes underweight. They are often cold and if unbalanced, suffer from poor circulation and stiff muscles. A Vata individual is usually a great multi-tasker and can do many things quickly while jumping rapidly from project to project. When a Vata is out-of-balance, he or she may suffer from insecurity and anxiety.

Because a Vata is often less comfortable during the cold winter months, a nourishing, soothing diet of rich, creamy foods will help a Vata to stay balanced, warm and emotionally at ease during this time of the year. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a diet rich in warm food with added fat and butter. Warm soups and stews with organic coconut oil or clarified butter will deeply balance and nourish the delicate Vata temperament during the chill of the winter.

Fresh baked bread is a wonderfully soothing and grounding accompaniment to a winter Vata diet of rich stews and soups. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend that a Vata take breakfast everyday in the form of hot cereal with warm milk or cream and butter. Because of a Vata’s propensity for anxiety, caffeine is best avoided. Spicy Mexican, Indian and Thai dishes are recommended if they are cooked in oil. The spice will help to internally warm-up a Vata and improve his or her circulation during the darkest time of the year.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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