Tips for achieving balance this fall
Walking through Vail Village during the USA Pro Challenge, amongst a chaotic scene, I was reminded of just how good we are at moving rapidly up here. We set up enormous events and tear them down in a day. We bike, run, ski, belay, take on fearsome rapids, then cram in 60-hour work weeks so we can take off to Moab for the weekend. We think nothing of driving 100 miles to Denver for a show.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, we excel at this because we live in what could be called a “high Vata environment.” Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of medicine from India, which recognizes three fundamental traits that form the structure of all of nature, known as Doshas. The Doshas, which characterize everything from people and places to seasons, are a combination of the five elements and are defined by their qualities:
Vata Dosha is a combination of air and space elements and is cold, dry, irregular and always moving. Pitta Dosha is a combination of fire and water elements and is hot, sharp and fluid. Kapha Dosha is a combination of earth and water elements and is heavy, cool, stable, fluid and slow moving.
Like attracts like, and Vail certainly attracts Vata types — people who are flighty and creative. We are drawn to the high altitude, inspiring landscapes and the fast-paced winter sports, even though we are constantly cold. We are curious and vibrant, but erratic in action and emotion. An example is Diane Keaton as Annie Hall in the 1977 Woody Allen movie. She is indecisive and able to go from giggling wildly to sobbing in a second.
Because Vata is so naturally light and mobile, the transition into fall is hardest on us. Ahead lies a season of cold, dry weather that stretches into February. To make things worse, the next few months may be a time of high travel as work slows and the holidays impend. As a Vata, fall may bring dry sinuses, nosebleeds, dry coughs, dry skin, anxiety and constipation. If this sounds familiar, never fear Vata. Ayurveda offers some natural and easy lifestyle tips to help you retain your natural enthusiasm and creativity while staying grounded.
Stay warm: Though you would prefer to munch on cold and crunchy carrot sticks, you would do well to enjoy warm, moist, freshly cooked foods this season: hearty vegetable soups and spiced stews with whole grains, using healthy oils to cook. Sip hot water frequently and carry a scarf.
Slow down: Your natural vibrancy tends towards summiting 14ers and dancing till midnight, but Vatas can easily overdo it and end up depleted and anxious. This is the time of year to be in bed with socks on by 10 p.m. If you are an avid exerciser, make your rest days sacred and incorporate more restorative yoga and meditation into your routine.
Synch up: What often draws us to Vata types is their spontaneity and distinct lack of routine. However, this often shows up as erratic meal times that lead to extreme hunger, light-headedness and even fainting. Balance Vata by getting on schedule. Eat breakfast by 7:30 a.m., lunch by 2 p.m. and dinner by 7:30 p.m. Carry healthy snacks, like sweet fruit, dates and almonds to stave off hunger.
Learn more about Ayurveda at the Vail Vitality Center’s 30-day detox program, beginning Oct. 2, including an introductory lecture on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Clarke, teaches vinyasa flow yoga and anjali restorative yoga, is the yoga director of the Vail Vitality Center and a certified ayurvedic wellness consultant. Having studied under some of today’s most renowned yoga teachers, she offers dynamic yoga classes. Find out more at http://www.friendlyuniverseyoga.com
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