If you suffer from dry skin, dry and brittle hair, anxiety or nervousness, you may have a Vata nature. You can learn all about what that means on many websites such as www.banyanbotanicals.com. But essentially, the term Vata comes from Ayurveda, the traditional Indian way of viewing and managing the body. In Ayurveda, there are three categories of people (mind/body relationships) called doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. If you want to learn more about the doshas, then read this article by Debby Anderson. You can take this quiz to find out what dosha you are.
Personally, I’ve got a highly Vata nature and I have a tendency to be attracted to things that exacerbate it. For example, I am a raw food fanatic who loves giant salads filled with crunchy nuts, broccoli, and crisp lettuce. I like my smoothies cold to the point of brain freeze and I love winter. All of these things are vata-driving, meaning, they increase the element of air or wind. Okay, this might seem vague and esoteric. They are vague and esoteric. But my work is more about feeling what this means in your body rather than trying to figure it out with your brain. If you have a Vata nature, then you’ll totally know exactly about what I’m talking. There’s an underlying nervousness that drives itself. I eat a raw almond and I get off on the crunch. It drives the need for another and then another. Obsessiveness is a trademark of the Vata nature. So is gas, bloating and distension.
So I’ve always had a distended stomach. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had this distended stomach. No matter what exercise, no matter what diet fads, my belly always pooched out and was kind of hard. Several years ago I learned about cortisol and it was supposed to be the leading cause of belly fat. Well, cortisol is the fight-or-flight hormone and I thought okay, I can lower my cortisol release with regular meditation and taking a healthy detached attitude toward stressful situations. Yeah, well, my belly was still puffy and hard and I’m pretty damned Zen.
Anyway, I’ve been told 1000 times by Ayurveda practitioners, by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and most recently by my German-trained Rolfer that I am Vata, Air and high-strung. They gave me very simple advice that said:
- Cook your food.
- Chew it well.
- Eat some sweet things that are warming.
- Eat in a peaceful environment.
My Vata nature was driving me to eat raw because I saw raw as the perfect health food. Vata strives for perfection because it is inherently idealistic. It’s this constant search for improvement that causes anxiety, both blatant and subtle. Since coming into 2017, the year of Authority and Power, my mind and body have been urging me to move toward authority and power, not from the Vata drive, but from a place of balance. God/Goddess is helping me to understand that no extremes are necessary and that life is supposed to be easy and fun. So I am being guided to listen, not to media scoundrels that claim to have one answer for every body, but rather to listen to my Inner Wisdom and to follow the path of the Masters. Both Ayurveda and TCM are rooted in traditions that span back thousands of years. They are wise and ESSENTIAL to counter the lightning-speed pace of the modern world.
Since being here in Croatia, I have started seeing a Quantum Medicine practitioner who has also diagnosed my Vata nature and has the same input as the Ayurveda and TCM practitioners. He put me on a course of energetic medicine (herbs) to help me create balance within my physical body. When we finished our session, he said to me, “I am going to give you medicine to help put your body in balance. But what are you going to do to keep it there?” My first thought was that I am going to surrender my resistance to God/Goddess’ message of balance, ease and fun. My Quantum Medicine doctor agreed.
My second thought was that I am going to need to eat the food that is right for my body. Believe it or not, I immediately decided to do a raw food diet because I love raw food and in my vata-driven mind, IT’S HEALTHY! But when I started doing Rolfing here in Zagreb my Rolfer said to me, “Do you realize that your belly is not fat, but gassy?” I looked at my belly and I said, “But I don’t feel gassy.” She said, “Feel it. This is gas. This is caused by raw food that has not been properly chewed.” She had me feel my belly which as not flabby like fat, but was more hard like a balloon. It was like a drum rather than like a dough ball. She went on to explain how the gassiness gets there and then it all made sense. When I told her my theories about the healthiness of raw food, she said “Food is supposed to be nourishing, not ‘healthy.’ If it causes gas and distension in your belly then that food is not healthy for you because you are not getting nourished. This is why your hair is dry and brittle. It is not getting nourished by all your ‘healthy’ food.” Dang. Alright then.
I’ve been sitting with this for a few weeks and I’ve read more on the Vata nature. It seems that blended and smooth raw foods are more acceptable that crunchy, cold raw salads because it is spring and summer, but I still need to have a warm, cooked meal in the evening and that it shouldn’t be later than 6:00pm so that I can have a good night’s sleep and not be digesting when I should be sleeping.
I have given in. So in the morning, I’ve been having smoothies, in the afternoon, some kind of raw salad (because I’m FUCKING hard-headed) which I chew thoroughly, and in the evening a light, cooked meal. I also rub myself with warm sesame oil before going to bed at night because this is good for the Vata nature. I should do a round of pranayama (special breathing exercise) and a meditation, but I’ve been reading Mindy Kahling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)(Enhanced Edition) because I am enjoying it too much to not read it before bed.
I got into my skinny jeans last night because I wasn’t bloated. My profile looks nice because the gas has subsided. And I’ve been sleeping like a baby at night and awaking refreshed because my food is easily digested. I guess that I never really understood the damage that I was doing by not eating according to my Inner Wisdom. But I didn’t know. I was following fads rather than tradition and I think that the most important thing that I learned was that my drives are not my wisdom. What I mean is that I was driven toward perfection, and because in my mind perfection is best, I was listening to that as my guiding light. But that wasn’t wisdom. The wisdom in me was craving sweet richness, which I was suppressing because I was afraid it would make me fat and ‘unhealthy.’ Man. What a rouse.
This morning I got up and made this…
Grounding Vata-Balancing Smoothie
1 cup of unsweetened nut, soy or rice milk
2 juicy Medjool dates (pits removed)
1/8 inch fresh ginger
1 frozen banana (because I’m hard headed)
2 sprinkles of cinnamon
Toss all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
I found this little poster on Pinterest to help Vata people stay balanced…