"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly." — The Buddha
Poised between autumn and winter, November is the month of fallen leaves and hazy sunshine, brown earth and soft snow. In ayurvedic terms, it is a Vata-dominated month, which brings with it coldness and dryness. The month of November invites you to balance the restless Vata dosha with warm foods, lavish skin-care, and a nature-friendly routine.
WEEKEND I: The month kicks off on a weekend, giving you ample time in which to plan for the days ahead. In thinking about ways in which you will balance your Vata dosha, you need to pay utmost attention to your food habits. Begin by examining the contents of your pantry. Do you have a good supply of whole grains and mung beans? Is your fruit basket filled with fresh, seasonal produce? Are you drinking organic whole milk and eating organic vegetables? November is a great season for stocking your pantry with healthful foods. The fresher and warmer your meals are, the more balanced your Vata dosha will feel. Also plan on getting more sweet, salty and sour tastes on your plate — for instance, wheat, rice, milk, warm beverages, and fresh fruit. Resolve to avoid cold foods and drinks, and raw fruits and vegetables — as well as leftovers — particularly in the Vata months.
Keep regular hours for eating your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vata dosha is irregular in nature, therefore it is best calmed by maintaining a regular routine.
WEEK I: Self magazine recently reported a study published in the British Medical Journal — the study of 21,000 nurses found that women who felt they lacked control over their jobs were more likely to suffer medical problems.
If the month is November, this feeling that you lack control can be even more pronounced. The Vata energy of November, being moody and restless, can give you terrible headaches and digestive problems, besides making you feel less productive and less creative.
This week, prevent the restless energy of Vata from vitiating your productivity. Break up your mountain of things-to-do into doable little piles. Drink herbal beverages such as Worry Free tea, Organic Vata tea, or Raja's Cup instead of guzzling coffee or soda. Have a warm, nourishing lunch instead of a cold sandwich. You'll feel balanced and in control.
WEEKEND II: Examine, this weekend, the contents of your beauty cupboard. Do you have a good quality massage oil? If not, bring home the goodness of Maharishi Ayurveda's Herbal Massage Oils. Choose from among those that stimulate and soothe. Sesame oil works really well on Vata type of skin; therefore, in the winter months of Vata, it is highly beneficial. Are you using a skin cream that gives you the intensive lipid support you require in these Vata-heavy months? If not, you will love the moisturizing qualities of MAPI's Youthful Skin Cream and Youthful Skin Oil. Made from premium-quality herbs, these formulations are prepared in strict accordance with the procedures laid down in traditional ayurvedic texts.
WEEK II: This week, cook all your stews, soups and veggies with moderate quantities of olive oil or ghee. Both of these are unctuous or lubricating in nature, and therefore balancing to Vata. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians points out that even plain steamed veggies in the Vata months are not as beneficial as they sound if they are cooked without any oil or ghee. As a big plus, using a good quality fat will give you lots more flavor in your food.
WEEKEND III: Begin Saturday and Sunday with a warm stewed apple. Apples increase ojas, which is the finest by-product of good digestion. This stewed fruit is worth its weight in gold, if prepared using The Council's ayurvedic recipe-look for it in the food section. If you need a more scientific reason to love apples, here it is. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in England found that apples may keep the lungs healthy and reduce the risk of respiratory disorder.
WEEK III: This week, guard against impulse buying of junk foods. Of course this will save you precious dollars; but more than that, it will keep you in good health. Junk foods such as potato chips, popcorn, and cookies are drying in nature. Besides, they pile you with empty calories. What you should be eating instead is freshly bought and lovingly cooked whole foods. Buy organic and seasonal produce as often as you can.
WEEKEND IV: Discover, this weekend, the joy of good sleep. Especially if you have been suffering stomach troubles, a good night's sleep is your best and most inexpensive remedy. Surprised? Well, the journal Gut reported a study that shows there is a definite link between stomach ulcers and lack of sleep. That's because levels of a protein involved in repairing the stomach lining are highest when you are asleep.
Ayurveda has always believed that an aggravated Vata dosha causes both stomach and sleep disorders. Therefore, October through February is definitely a time to rethink your sleep patterns. Good quality sleep is easy to get if you keep regular meal timings, find a few quiet moments in your day, and keep your goals in perspective. MAPI's Blissful Sleep formulations have also helped hundreds of people get good sleep, without any addictive or harmful side-effects. If your sleep troubles are chronic in nature, however, it is wise to see a vaidya, who will chalk out a holistic approach to your problem.
WEEK IV: "The joy of enjoying/And the fullness of living/Are found in the heart/That is filled with thanksgiving," said Helen Steiner Rice. This week is Thanksgiving week. Give thanks for the little joys you experience each day. Be happy for the company of good friends, for the beauty of nature, and for the life-breath that courses through your being. Be happy to just be.
WEEKEND V: Vata season is a time for moderate but regular exercise. Think about joining a Hatha Yoga class this November--yoga asanas are beneficial to all three doshas. Another alternative: take a refreshing walk. Just 20 minutes of moderate-paced walking will calm you and lift your spirits. If it has been months--or years--since you last took some exercise, a weekend is a good time to begin your moderate exercise routine. Just ten minutes in the morning or evening will make you feel so good that you'll want to do this every day--week or weekend.
Have a nourishing November. We'll bring you new joyful resolutions next month.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.