Swastha Vritta is the science of Ayurvedic Prevention. It means to be established in your own health, your own constitution, therefore, knowing and keeping your natural state of being balanced to maintain optimal health. It also reminds us to keep with the natural rhythms of nature. Changing our daily routines with the changing of the seasons is one major way to be established in your own health.
Vata Season - aka - Fall. The seasonal qualities are dry, light, cold, windy, rough and empty (think of the trees dropping their leaves). If we aren't mindful of our daily practices, our insides will begin to match the landscape and soon we'll find ourselves with too much dryness, lightness, or air. In Ayurveda, there are two concepts that you will hear over and over:
· Like increase Like.
· Do the opposite to bring balance.
With these simple concepts it's easy to fortify ourselves during the Fall and help keep us grounded and ready for Winter (Kapha season):
· Avoid foods, drinks and activities that are drying, light, cold.
· Tend towards more warming, moistening and heavy foods and activities.
As someone with a Vata constitution I incorporate these practices into my daily and/or weekly routine but definitely have to up the ante during Vata season. Here are some simple things you can incorporate too:
· FOOD! Remembering that each meal should have all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) during the Fall we want to have more of the sweet, sour and salty tastes because these are tastes that decrease Vata and are all moistening and nutritive in action. Also, put the salads down and become friends with Tahini during this season!
· Wake up early! Rising before sunrise allows the body to begin to synchronize itself to the rhythm of the sun. Also, Vata, whose qualities of lightness and movement is involved in elimination; the pre-dawn period is the best time to try to eliminate the body's physical and mental wastes. Proper elimination helps with the entire digestive process, immunity and health. I don't think I need to go into why pooping is important.
· Brush teeth, tongue scrapping, gargling (oil pulling), clean the face, eyes and body.
· Warm or room temperature water with lemon and honey.
· Meditate or practice some breathing exercises (pranayama) like alternate nostril breathing for a few minutes.
· Then begin your daily activities.
· Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day.
· Drink room temperature or warm water throughout the day.
· Avoid any stimulating activities before bedtime and see if you can get yourself to bed around 10pm.
· I LOVE to massage my feet and my neck with a Vata massage oil from Banyan Botanicals, works like a charm in helping me get to bed and a good nights sleep.
· Once a week, or as often as you'd like, do Abhyanga, which is an oil massage performed on the whole body with sesame or coconut oil. I would warm up the oil first but make sure it isn't hot before applying it on your skin. Abhyanga pacifies Vata dosha, smoothes the skin, prevents wrinkles, improves sense of touch, calms the mind and helps to promote sound sleep, heals the body faster and improves vision.