digestive balance for vata

Improve digestion with Ayurveda (on many different realms)  

This time, some practical tips and what it means for each dosha.

In Part I, we learned some of the basics of Ayurveda and how it pertains to health, and particularly how healthy digestion (food, thoughts, experiences) is at the root of health when it comes to Ayurveda. Now let’s look at some practical tips for connecting the dots for each dosha. This is the fun part, because once you start to see the connections and see the similarities in you and each dosha, then you can become empowered in your health. Things make sense and their solutions do too!

Dosha

To repeat from Part IAyurveda describes each individual as being characterized by the interplay of the doshas. Doshas can be defined as a bioenergetic principle that functions throughout life in the human body.

These three subtle forces are known primarily by their effects. We are all born with a combination of each of the three, some of us resting more in one than another and always in flux, with the possibility of their energies becoming imbalanced. Sources of imbalance can be, what we put in our bodies, the environment, and the experiences that we have.

find out your dosha

Certain foods, based on their qualities and tastes are more balancing or aggravating for certain doshas. 

These tastes are based on the elements:

Sweet = Water & Earth

Sour = Earth & Fire

Salty = Fire & Water

Pungent = Fire & Air

Bitter = Air & Ether

Astringent = Air & Earth

You will also see these elements show up in each dosha. This helps to explain why certain foods have their specific effects on the doshas. For example, Sweet foods have the qualities of Water & Earth (heavy, moist, cooling)–so they would be balancing for vata. While Bitter foods have the qualities of Air & Ether (light, cooling, dry)–so they would be aggravating for vata. Starting to make sense? Like increases like. Opposites help to balance.

Let’s explore each dosha for some pragmatic tools in terms of improving digestion.

 
  • Most Balancing Tastes = sweet, sour, salty (water, earth and fire elements); more moist, warm nourishing (think soups, stews, cooked veggies)

  • Most Aggravating Tastes = bitter, pungent, astringent (fire, air and ether); dry, hard, crunchy (think chips, crackers, raw veggies)

  • Decreased vata tends towards Increased kapha symptoms (see below)–makes sense because vata is movement and kapha is stasis, lethargy

  • In terms of digestion, vata tends towards constipation. That means you may be having a bowel movement every other day or every 3 to 5 days. Stool comes out in small hard pellets that you have to strain to get out. This means your digested content has been sitting in your large intestine too long—water has been reabsorbed and so the stool is now hard. Not ideal.

  • Why would this not be ideal over time for women, especially if you’ve had radiation, chemotherapy or you are into/past menopause? With excessive straining to have a bowel movement you run the risk of prolapsing your organs (rectum, bladder, vagina and/or uterus descends lower. This will give you the feeling of fullness or like you can’t hold back urine or feces. It’s important to not strain if at all possible, especially if you have the above risk factors above.

  • Use this HANDOUT as a guide for your “Toileting Position.” Yep, it matters. If you hunch over you are closing off your rectum and pinching it so it makes it even harder to get out. Heard of Squatty Potty? This is why it was invented. To help you with the position to make a clear path for your rectum to reduce the need to push and strain.

  • Here’s an AM Digestive Routine to try if you are experiencing constipation. But you’ll also need to find out the reason for your constipation. Could it be eating too many of the aggravating food tastes noted above? Could it be lack of Magnesium? Magnesium citrate is best in that case.

  • Or are you eating too much Fiber that is causing you to hold onto undigested materials too long, causing the stool to harden and making it difficult to pass? Fiber Handout HERE.

  • Internally and/or externally oleation with a warming oil like sesame oil. Use it to massage on your abdomen and joints. Or use it in your dressings or drizzled over meals.

  • Could you be stressed? And thus be holding your breath? In that case, here is a Calming Breath Practice, Nadi Shodhana, or Alternate Nostril Breath; Video or Handout.

  • Consider perseverating thoughts (undigested) and how these might wake you up from 2am to 6am

  • Here are a few poses in a video for vata balancing HERE

Again, Ayurveda is a complex science, and I don’t claim to have all the answers here, because there are a lot of assessment and treatment options not explained. I’ve just touched on some possible ways to begin to view the sources of balance in digestion to create balance in life.

Here are the tips for Pitta balance and for Kapha balance.

I welcome your feedback and if you find this information helpful, please share with your colleagues and your friends. I would love to hear how you may have already improved your digestion with Ayurveda or after reading this, you may start to incorporate it into your daily living.  Contact Tianna if you are seeking ways to add a more holistic lifestyle approach, called Yoga Therapy to improve your digestion with Ayurveda, so you can live in a space of vitality. I don’t claim to be an Ayurvedic practitioner, but within Yoga Therapy, these principles are utilized.

References:

  1. Kate Bentley, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Mount Madonna Institute YTT Handbook, 2016.

7 day back to basics & being well program

7 Day Back to Basics & Being Well Program

Why would you want do this?

Being coached on your daily habits (exercise, meditation/prayer, diet), moods, sleep, energy and digestion can give valuable insight into possibilities for you to feel Vibrant and Healthy again, ie a Balanced Agni.

And having someone on the other end, to be your partner, is Priceless. Connecting the dots is life changing.

Is your health and well being worth $4 a day?  Is it worth the support for someone who has insight and know-how to see beyond what you might not?

For someone to begin transformative life awareness like you have never done before? For someone to begin to give you your power back? How much are you worth?