Heart Of England Ayurveda


The cornerstone of health in Ayurveda is aligning our daily habits and diet to our  constitutional type and the nature of each changing season. Without these fundamentals in place, Ayurveda treatments and medicines cannot work as effectively for you.

 If your constitution is Vata dosha, implementing these simple Vata pacifying tips in your day-to-day lifestyle will support greater equilibrium in body and mind and a return to optimum health. If you are a dual type with Vata dosha, follow these guidelines in the Autumn and Early Winter Seasons

“ Thank you so much Sara.  You’re blowing me away with all your knowledge and input. And I’m starting to feel the benefits already”

Sarah G, Hatton.

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Vata Pic 1

“A daily ritual is a way of saying, I’m voting for myself, I’m taking care of myself.”

Mariel Hemningway

Morning Rituals:

Aim to rise around 6am, or a little later in the Winter, close to sunrise.

On rising, eliminate bowels, clean tongue with a tongue scraper. Copper tongue scrapers are good for Vata types and are available widely online for not very much cost.

Please drink 750mls warm boiled water on waking and before eating anything. 

A typical daily Vata balancing practice is self-oiling the body. This helps to lubricate the tissues and to move toxins from deep in the tissues to the gut for elimination It is a key Vata pacifying practice. Oil the body, from feet to face, with 20mls warm organic cold pressed organic sesame oil. If the skin is very dry and instantly absorbing all the oil, apply a little more copiously. Apply long strokes around the long bones, and circular movements over joints. Leave the oil on body for 15 -20 minutes, keeping body warm.

Whilst the oil is being absorbed, sit quietly with your glass of warm water, and/or your first cup of ginger tea (see recipe). This is also a great time for a short pranayama practice of 1:1 ratio breaths or 5 minutes alternate nostril breathing or any other pranayama practice you have been prescribed. Alternate nostril breathing is a key Vata cure. 

This can lead you nicely into meditative state, If you don’t have an established meditation practice, you could silently repeat the mantra so-hum. For 5-10 minutes, let the mind rest on a naturally arising rhythm of the breath and observe the breath moving gently in and out of the nostrils. Inwardly, silent repeat the mantra So-hum, the mantra of the breath. Repeat “so” on your inhales, and “hum” on your exhales and observe your mind and nervous system quieten.

Making time in the morning for simple quiet can go a long way towards setting your nervous system for th day ahead and building supporting you energy reserves.

Shower to wash off the oil, without using soap (except on strategic parts! J ) so that you have a fine film of oil on your skin for the day ahead to bring nourishment and balance.

Food Rituals:

Eat three moderate sized meals per day  and take care to eat at regular times: breakfast, lunch, supper. Aim to eat breakfast within 60-90 minutes of waking.

Opt for wholegrain warm and cooked breakfasts such as oatmeal or rice porridge, vegan spelt or wholewheat pancakes, cooked spiced seasonal fruits. Stewed apples or pears are a good option with spices such as cinnamon and/or cloves if you do not have such a large appetite in the morning.

Make lunch the main meal of the day, between 12 noon – 2pm. Eat in a quiet, relaxed manner. Avoid eating and working or scrolling on your device at the same time. Give all your attention and energy to the process of digestion. 

Opt for local and seasonal foods as far as possible. If local produce is restricted, opt for foods from your climatic region.

Avoid cold or frozen foods, iced or carbonated drinks, and dried foods (such as crispbreads, rice cakes and puffed cereals).  Also, please avoid raw foods and favour cooked foods. Please cook your fruits too. If you do eat salad in the Summer months, please make it a maximum of 20% of your meal and eat at the end of your meal. We want to strengthen and stabilise your digestive fire and so eating cooked foods helps this: they are pre-digested by the application of heat (fire!). 

Please avoid white flour products and sugar. 

Please avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol. We want to keep your agni (digestive fire) and nervous system stable to support your healing process, especially the restoration of optimum metabolic function in which your agni plays a key part. 

Please reduce animal products if you eat them, to a maximum of 20% of your diet. That means if you eat 21 meals a week, only 4 will have animal products – eggs, cheese, dairy milk, meat, fish. If you are eating cheese, soft cheeses will be best for you. Light meats and oily fish are good for you. 

Other hard to digest foods include nuts so please eat small amounts and eat them raw and soaked. Also chocolate: favour the brands which are at least 85% cacao and have only a very small piece at a time. 

Vegetables to reduce are raw onions, nighshades including potatoes (sweet potatoes are different – these are good for you), cauliflower. 

Large legumes such as chickpeas and kidney beans are likely to be difficult for you to digest and can cause gas and bloating. All small legumes are a good food for you including all lentils, mung beans, adzuki beans, black turtle beans, cannellini beans, haricot beans. Please make sure they are soft cooked and cooking them with asafoetida will help you to digest them better, with less bloating. It is advised that Vata types eat grains and legumes at a ratio of 1:2 respectively. If you have Kapha dosha in your constitution, and you feel your digestion is more of a Kapha type, you might like to do a 2:1 ratio, (more grain than legumes) especially in the Spring time. If you have Pitta in your constitution, favour a 1:1 ratio, equal amounts of grain and legume. 

Favour naturally sweet vegetables such as yams, seasonal squash and all root vegetables, brocoli and purple sprouting, carrots. whole grains such as barley, corn, rice, oats, wheat, quinoa, amaranth, wheat.  Aim to have all 5 colours of vegetables with your meals: red/purple, green, orange, yellow and white.  Add small amounts of fermented foods to meals, especially in the Early Winter months.

Wholegrains to gavour are barley, rye, rice, oats, wheat, durham flour, quinoa, amaranth, wheat, spelt. Eat grains mostly in their whole form, and as pastas or flour-based products only a 1-2x per week. Easy to digest breads such as unleavened breads like chapattis and sourdough breads like a rye sourdough. (A lot of the supermarket sourdoughs are best avoided: they have various additives which are being reported as unfavourable to health and well-being). 

Season foods with fresh ginger, turmeric, coriander, fennel, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, aniseed, salt, asafoetida (this helps to make lentils and legumes more digestible).  Reduce/avoid hot spices such as chilli peppers and cayenne, and dried ginger. 

The best non-dairy milks for Vata dosha are oat, hemp, rice, nut milks like almond. Soya is drying. 

Oils/fats to favour are cold pressed organic sesame oil, olive oil /sunflower oil, and ghee. (1/2 – 1 tspn per meal will be enough for your agni (digestive fire) to process. Fats are hard to digest). 

Please see my recipe bank for seasonal recipe ideas. 

Sip warm water water throughout the day. This helps to keep the tissues hydrated and to flush old toxins from the system. 

Avoid snacking in between morning and midday meals. If  needed, enjoy a light (sugar-free) snack in the late afternoon during a tea break. For example, a small handful of seeds and dried fruits, a couple of dates, or alternatively you could make a nourishing golden milk with a pinch of turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. See the recipe bank on my website for instructions on how to make this.

During the afternoon tea break,  give yourself to complete rest for just 5 or 10 minutes, simply being present to the fragrances of your tea and flavours of your snack. Favour herb teas over caffeinated drinks: chamomile, warming spicy teas, fennel, fresh ginger tea, licorice, aniseed are all good for Vata dosha.

Tale a light supper in the early evening, before sunset if possible. A warming soup and well-cooked steamed grain, fragranced with some digestion-enhancing spices is a perfect evening meal for Vata dosha.

Chew foods well, and try to avoid eating in noisy, stressful environments. After eating, it is beneficial to lie on the left side for a short while, and/or to take a gentle stroll. This aids digestion.

Before meals, a “deepana” or aperitif of CCF tea can help digestion: an infusion of cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds taken 15 minutes before eating. or your ginger tea.

Exercise Rituals

Try to enjoy a gentle walk in nature each day. Exercise is important to help keep Vata dosha grounded and to release any nervous energy that may have accumulated. For Vata dosha it’s important not to exercise to the point of depletion, so endurance activities are not really suitable for this type, and Vata types should exercise to the point just before sweating.

Gentle forms of exercise such as a traditional Hatha Yoga class, Pilates, Tai Chi is great for Vata dosha. The best times to exercise are in the morning between 8am and 10am, or in the evening between 6pm and 8pm.

Work Rituals

Vata types should be aware of over-doing things as they have the least endurance of all the types and over-stretching themselves can aggravate any feelings of nervousness, anxiety or worry. Work at a steady pace, in a quiet environment, doing one task at a time until completed and taking care to stay focused and avoid being too easily distracted. Focus and concentration can be challenging for Vata dosha. When you sit down to work, perhaps take a few minutes to practice Alternate Nostril breathing so that the mind becomes focused and calm so that concentration becomes more accessible.

Vata types are very creative and full of ideas. They are natural visionaries. Take care that you do not get too lost in ideas, moving from one to the other without seeing any through. Staying with one project at a time will be very beneficial for Vata types.

Evening Rituals

Avoid working in the evening, and stressful viewing, reading or conversations

Enjoy a cup of golden milk in the evening to aid sleep: a dairy or non-dairy milk warmed with a pinch of turmeric, cardamom and sweet cinnamon.

Perhaps practice 5 minutes alternate nostril breathing or 1:1 ratio breaths, and 10 minutes meditation on the bed before sleep. Meditation on the mantra So-hum again in the evening can help to steady the busy Vata mind in preparation for a good night’s sleep.

Vata types can have trouble sleeping. Try massaging warm sesame oil onto the soles of the feet and temples at bed-time. A warm bath with Epsom salts and a little oil (so that the salts don’t become too drying) can also aid a good night’s sleep.

Aim to sleep by 10.00pm