constitution = Vata-Pitta
primary imbalance = Vata (anxiety, dermatitis, skin roughness and variability, itchiness)
GOALS: reduce anxiety, reduce skin irritation, balance hormones, by:
- Adjusting diet to support hormones and gut health, minimizing Vatagenic foods and kindling agni.
- Boosting circulation and metabolic warmth to support hormones and help treat skin imbalances.
- Focusing on establishing a framework for a daily routine, including adding in abhyanga and Vata-pacifying movement.
Action Plan thru December 8, 2020
FOOD TOP 5
Here's a helpful resource for the nitty gritty of the 6 Ayurvedic tastes.
- Increase consumption of warm drinks. Think: herbal teas like ginger, peppermint, tulsi (holy basil), fennel.
- Emphasize prana-rich, whole, sweet-sour-salty foods. Think: grains, meats, root veggies, yogurt and fermented foods, seafood. Increase use of warming spices! Most spices that are yellow, brown, and red. Just make sure not to overdo it with hot spices - when I say spice I mean flavors, not heat. When you eat any foods that are pungent-bitter-astringent, make sure to cook them in a way that is Vata-friendly. Think: sauteeing and steaming, roasting with plenty of good oils, using warming spices.
- Hot tip for making beans: cook your beans with a teeny pinch of Asofoetida (Hing). It reduces the Vatagenic qualities of the beans and makes them easier to digest. Fair warning: it's a stanky spice so you don't need much. A teeny tiny pinch will do!
- Up your consumption of fiber. Think: whole oats, leafy greens (as long as they're cooked), fruits like apples and bananas. If you're finding it hard to get enough fiber via diet alone, you can always take psyllium husk (1 tsp - 1 Tbsp) in hot water 2-3X daily. Fiber can really make a big difference with balancing hormones.
- Cook with generous amounts of high-quality oils/fats. Think: ghee, sesame oil, opt for dark meat chicken vs. white meat. Keep up with nuts (especially walnuts, which are sattvic).
- Add in homemade yogurt to your diet! Eat solo or with some homemade granola (here's my favorite granola recipe), but never mix with fruit - too hard to digest.
- Get a high-quality, organic yogurt from the store (just a small quantity will do), and a half-gallon of organic whole milk.
- Boil the whole milk, saucepan lid OFF, make sure you're watching the whole time so it doesn't boil over. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and let cool to 100-110 F. You'll be able to hold the outside of the pot without being burned or needing to remove your hands.
- Whisk in 3 Tbsp of the yogurt you bought into the milk. Allow to incubate in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or in the oven with the light on for 6-8 hours - the longer the incubation period, the more tart the yogurt.
- Check out this YouTube search for more detailed video explanations of how to make the yogurt. This is especially helpful if you don't have a yogurt maker/Instant Pot/Crockpot.
MOVEMENT + BREATHWORK TOP 2
- No more yin - we gotta take care of those joints for the long term! Instead opt for restoratives and/or slow flow, strengthening classes. Here are a few of my favorites on the platform I use for my home practice (there is a $15/monthly fee but I've found it well worth it even though I'm a 500 RYT and could lead myself).
- Art of Healing (48 mins). Mix of strengthening/active poses and some relaxation/active stretching.
- Refresh Yourself (40 mins). Slow flow, simple poses held for a while. Strengthening and grounding without overexerting.
- Relax Deeply (26 mins). True restorative class, prop-heavy, calming and grounding.
- Navigating Transitions (30 mins). Slow flow, strengthening and grounding. Active without overexerting. Very soothing for Vata, especially as a morning practice to energize without agitating anxiety.
- Once we get your anxiety better managed we can add in more challenging strengthening classes for joint stability, but for now let's stick to getting anxiety in check before we add in anything else.
- Do a chakra-scanning breathwork routine (at least 5 minutes) before your yoga practice each day. Lay in any supported Savasana that feels grounding and supportive to you (as weather gets cooler, consider adding blankets to keep warm). Starting at the root chakra, try to breathe into each of the energy centers. Notice what comes up - what feels open and free-flowing? What feels stuck, stagnant, or quiet? Adjust your asana practice so that you're addressing whatever energy center needs the most attention.
ROUTINE TOP 3
- Kindle your agni (digestive fire) before meals. About 30 minutes before meals, try taking a slice of raw ginger root (dime to nickel sized) with a pinch of sea salt. This helps get your digestive fire going and will help you actually be hungry and eat enough food.
- Focus on establishing a framework for your daily routine. Regular times for waking, meals, bed time, and movement. This is HUGE for Vata and for anxiety specifically. This doesn't mean you have to eat the same thing and do the same yoga practice and be boring, it just means that you have a framework for how your day goes, and there is freedom within each regularly scheduled "block."
- Add in abhyanga. Banyan Botanicals has this great video on how to do abhyanga. Even if all you have is 2 minutes for a pre-bedtime foot massage (vs. a traditional abhyanga) that's okay. Any amount of oilation is helpful than none, especially for Vata. Start with 1-2X a week and wait until that feels normal and routine before adding more.
- Use our Vata Ayurvedic Body Oil or make your own oil using sesame oil (optional to infuse with whole cloves over a double boiler, strain out before use).
HERBS TOP 2
Let's reduce variables and pare down what you're taking on a daily basis. Also, no more putting herbs in your smoothie! If you're taking herbs, it should always be in warm water in a therapeutic dose (read more below). Otherwise it's not getting digested or absorbed properly and is either doing nothing or causing the accumulation of ama (toxins).
Right now it seems like you're taking quite a few adaptogens. It's not that any of them are bad for you or bad for Vata, but I think it's too much and we might be able to get more benefits with fewer herbs. For now, cut out spirulina, reishi, ashwagandha, and lemon balm. We'll revisit your overall herbal regimen in December. You can have some rhodiola and maca if you'd like.
In addition to rhodiola and maca as you'd like, please take:
- Dashamula is a blend of 10 herbs designed to regulate flow of Apana Vayu (one of Vata dosha's subtypes). This helps regulate bowel movements, your menstrual cycle, and is energetically very grounding. Take 1/2 tsp with warm water, 30 minutes before breakfast.
- Angelica is a Chinese herb that is both a circulation-booster and an emmenagogue (cycle regulator/female hormone balancer). It is powerful so you don't need as much. Take 1/4 tsp with warm water, 30 minutes before breakfast.
*TO TAKE HERBS: vigorously stir powder into hot water and allow dissolve. Let cool until it's hot but not scalding, then drink it down relatively quickly. Herbs don't usually taste too great so they're not meant for a sipping situation. Knock it back!
When we check in during December we will talk about if/when to increase the dosage or frequency of your herbs. I always prefer to start low and go slow with fewer variables in play so that we can get a good idea of what's going on.