Welcome to vata season. Are you familiar with Ayurveda? It is a holistic approach to health care that encompasses a natural and prevention-oriented system. The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words that mean “life science” or “life knowledge.”
The Ayurvedic tradition was originally shared orally, then recorded more than 5,000 years ago. It is reported to have been created by Indian sages and has been gaining popularity and acceptance in the West. bit.ly/2Xe2frf.
This ancient life science is based on the interconnectedness of the universe. Ayurvedic practitioners believe each person has certain life forces, known as doshas. Imbalances in one’s doshas or other areas outside of the body can lead to illness and disease. bit.ly/3vh3Xoq.
The three main doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Fall and winter are characterized by similar qualities as Vata, namely cold, dry, light, clear and moving. If you are already predominantly Vata in your constitution, then you need to be particularly vigilant this time of year. Imbalances may manifest as “physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.” bit.ly/2YZeEA1.
There are many aspects to Ayurvedic medicine: diet and nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, stress management, meditation, breathing exercises, self-massage, yoga and herbs. bit.ly/3lFVpnG.
While I am not an expert in Ayurveda, I do find that following a Vata-pacifying diet this time of year is helpful. What to eat and drink? Eat warm, cooked foods. Avoid cold, raw ones. Drink warming liquids such as herbal teas. Focus on sweet, sour and salty tastes while minimizing the bitter, astringent and pungent ones. bit.ly/2YZeEA1.
For a list of foods to include and those to avoid, Banyan Botanicals has an in-depth reference guide. bit.ly/3DG0xhH.
The Ayurvedic Institute has a number of resources, including general information about Ayurveda, cleansing procedures, food and nutrition and some delicious looking recipes. You can also determine your personal constitution on their website. bit.ly/3mWr97n.
Lastly, here is a recipe for homemade Chai tea from Portland Community College. bit.ly/3p4kjzm.
Arianna Kelley Rawlsky has an M.S. in horticulture and is the director of Bringing People and Plants Together, an organization dedicated to bringing horticulture education and therapy to the community. For more information: PeopleAndPlantsTogether@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook.