Vata Season

by Elizabeth on October 9, 2011

 

(image via heymonicab.com)

Happy Fall :) I was in a yoga class the other day and the teacher gave a great tip that I wanted to share. In Ayurveda, they say that each dosha (the energy believed to govern the body) has a season and vata is the dosha of fall.  The teacher talked about how the personality of vata is fickle and changes its mind a lot, making it really important for us to incorporate routine into our daily lives during this time of the year.  This doesn’t mean you have to make any drastic changes- it could be as simple as having your favorite soup for lunch every day one week, finding the same window of time to workout, or taking a hot bath before bed. (Notice the stress on warmth-Vata craves moisture and heat).  I’ve definitely been feeling the vata vibe lately, which for me has manifested as a restlessness (think starting 10 different projects at once and not finishing any of them!) so I decided to try and up my meditation into a daily practice this month. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite techniques. Everyone’s style is different so find one that works for you. You can start with a minute or two and build up from there to whatever is comfortable (which may change from day to day or week to week).  Personally I use all of these techniques depending on my mood.  Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself! Like anything else, meditation takes practice, so it’s normal to feel frustrated when you start out. Stick with it and I promise you’ll start to notice positive changes in your life.

 

1. Focus on your breath – this is the most commonly used technique in meditation, but if it doesn’t work for you there are plenty of other options. Here’s an article to help you get started.

2. Light a candle – some people find it very relaxing to stare into a candle and let your eyes become soft as you stare into the flame.

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3. Mantra – Transcendental Meditation (TM) is based on this practice where you actually go and meet with a TM guru who gives you a mantra, but you can also make up your own or try this three minute meditation that I love.

4. Music – There are tons of meditation and relaxation albums on itunes, or check out a sight like Pandora or Grooveshark and listen for free.
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5. Group meditation – some people find it easier to meditate among a group of people, and there are lots of meditation centers in NYC.
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6. Guided Meditation – I tend to gravitate towards guided meditations on days I’m feeling more scattered or distracted. Again, itunes – here are a couple of my favorites:

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7. Set an intention – this isn’t as much of a meditation technique in itself (though it could be) as an enhancement to make your meditation practice more meaningful. It can be incorporated into any technique you choose. I like to set an intention at the beginning of my meditation – anything from asking a question (which you don’t need to answer by the way!) centering on a theme like gratitude or forgiveness, to asking for something you want to attract into your life whether it be abundance, love, clarity etc.

8. Nature sounds – this is one of my faves. There are a bunch of free sites,  this is one I like because it gives you the option to customize.

9. Walking meditation – this one is especially nice when you’re in nature although it can be done inside too (though challenging for many NYC dwellers living in roughly 600 sq ft apartments!) Here’s an overview.

10. Eating meditation – I know this one sounds weird (see Mark Bitman’s thoughts)  but don’t knock it ’til you try it! Even if you don’t meditate during meals per say, mindful eating can still transform your digestion and relationship to food. I did an entire course on mindful eating at the Psychology of Eating Institute and was amazed at the difference that even small tweaks can make. Try listening to relaxing music when you eat if eating in silence is too uncomfortable, or start with just two minutes and build up from there. When you pay more attention to what you’re eating and all that comes with it (taste, smell, colors etc.) your brain has the chance to process that the body is getting fed which is often not  the case when you eat in front of the tv or computer.

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