Ayurveda is all about balance. Balance in the good/bad, light/dark, sweet/salty, hot/cold, sharp/dull, fast/slow and so on. We're always balancing opposites. There's a saying that goes like this: "Like increases like, and opposites balance". If you can remember that, then practicing Ayurveda becomes much easier to manage and getting back in to balance simpler.
But how do you know when things get out of balance?
If you're already familiar with your unique constitution (Prakruti). (Take this Quiz here)
Understanding what your cravings mean will help guide you when it comes to your diet.
In balance: Vātas crave sweet, sour, and salty foods.
Out of balance: Vātas crave pungent, astringent, and bitter foods.
In balance: Pittas crave sweet, astringent, and bitter foods.
Out of balance: Pittas crave sour, salty, and pungent foods.
In balance: Kaphas crave pungent, astringent, and bitter foods.
Out of balance: Kaphas crave sweet, sour, and salty foods.
But there's many ways to know if you have an imbalance. For the sake of the season we're transitioning in, pay close attention to the state of your mind. Are you having trouble sleeping? Insomnia? Anxiety? Do you tend to run cold? Cold hands/feet? Feel worried or spacey? Then you likely have a vata imbalance.
Vāta (or vayu) is a Sanskrit word that means wind. With elements of air and space. Wind is also cool, dry, light, and constantly moving or changing. These are also the qualities of fall.
When there is fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, or emotional instability Vata is out of balance. If your mind is all over the place: balance vata with food, sleep, meditation, and yoga. Some of my favorite ways to balance vata is through restorative yoga, yoga nidra, sound healing, alternate nostril breathing, nasya, and self-massage (abhyanga).