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As we settle in to fall and the beginning of shorter, cooler, and dryer days, Ayurveda (Ayur=life, Veda=science or knowledge) teaches us that the Vata dosha predominates. Vata relates to the wind, and its energy in the body fluctuates and is affected by changes in the environment.
Deepak Chopra writes on Vata imbalance:
Your activity will start to feel out of control. Your mind may race, contributing to anxiety and insomnia. You may start skipping meals, resulting in unintended weight loss, and your digestion may become irregular. If you notice these early symptoms of a Vata imbalance, slow down, take time to meditate, don’t skip meals, and get to bed earlier. A regular lifestyle routine helps ground Vata so you are not carried away…” Read more here.
Back in June, during what feels like a year ago now at Wanderlust Vermont, I attended a class with Theresa Murphy called “Spirals, Bandhas and Coils, oh my!” Her recent email newsletter led me to her website (mesmerizing) and a gem she wrote on things she has found helpful in her practice and path of yoga.
So, in addition to making choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life; light exercise, listening to calming music, getting massages, and so on, have a look at Theresa’s list of rules. I found it comforting and a lovely reminder as Vata energy rises.
01 Have a ten minute rule. Come to the mat ten minutes EVERY DAY, even if you just sit there, and even if you don’t want to. (Especially if you don’t want to!)*
02 Smile at people you don’t know.*
03 Cultivate patience.
04 Be polite, even if people are not polite to you.
05 Pay attention to your feet. Notice how they feel in your practice, and just walking around. Notice if they turn out when you stand or walk, and try to minimize that. The feet are the door to the temple of our bodies, they should be flexible, strong and pliable. Massage them daily, or pay someone else to!
06 Notice your posture on and off the mat. Stand and sit up straight! When you are 60 or 80 years old, you’ll be glad you did!
07 Silently bless people and animals whom you perceive may be suffering.*
08 Hold doors for people.
09 Movement and structure at the center of our bodies is guided from the edges (feet and hands through hips and shoulders respectively). Be acutely aware of what your finger and toe tips are doing at all times!
10 Floss every day.
11 Avoid being a yoga snob. All styles of yoga are great. There is no one style for everyone. Experience as many styles as you can and don’t dis the styles you don’t like.*
12 Seek out groups of people to share readings, philosophies, and discussions with. Learning cannot happen in a vacuum. One needs a circle or community (sangha) to learn with.*
13 Give and receive love freely.
14 Try to have no expectations of others.
15 Avoid saying bad things about people, places, or things.*
16 Inversions are important. Try to get upside down every day!
17 Always say please and thank you.*
18 Thank your teachers.
19 Thank your students.
20 Give of yourself freely.
* my favorites, although I love them all.
Are you feeling the shift?
What are your rules that you live by?