During the vata years, 55 plus, you’ll start to notice that your body is less able to bounce back and rejuvenate than it could in your younger years. It may be harder to shift kilos and aches and pains can take longer to clear up. You might also suffer skin issues, constipation, bloating, and if there’s too much vata, forgetfulness, and inability to relax and shut down. On the positive, you will have mastered life’s lessons and know yourself, and what makes you happy and energised – hopefully spending your time doing those things.
The final stage of life is governed by vata, which is all about air and the ether and when everything starts to dry up. These years have the properties of light, cold, dry, rough, mobile and subtle. During these years you want to be eating warm, grounding, lubricating and stabilising foods to help you stay warm and slow down.
Diet in the vata years
During the vata years agni, digestive fire, often becomes delicate, unpredictable and lower. To balance digestion in this time we recommend simplifying your diet with simple, whole foods which are cooked and moiste – things like stews and soups are great, as they are easy to digest. You can even eat less as you body needs less food during this time.
Oils and fats are are also particularly nourishing now both internally and externally. Depending on your digestive capacity, olive oil, almond and sesame oils can be soothing.
Vata pacifying spices, like black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel and ginger are good. Just stay away from too much cold or frozen foods, raw fruits and vegetables and dry foods like popcorn, crackers and most beans. Try keep coffee, alcohol and refined sugar to a minimum as well as they are really stimulating.
Lifestyle factors to keep the mind at ease
Just like vata body types, in the vata years it’s common to feel the cold and you’ll enjoy being in a warm climate or at least kept warm.
During your earlier years it’s fine to run marathons and push your limits, but now, exercise needs to be gentle. It’s also important to slow down and support vata by not rushing around so much. If you’re not doing yoga, it’s a good time to start. Yoga not only develops strength and flexibility, it soothes the nerves and calms the mind. In these years yin and stretching yoga, which calms everything down, will help nourish your system and create a sense of serenity.
Abhyanga, Ayurvedic massage, works really well in the vata time as these are the years when it feels like you’re drying up. Abhyanga is the opposite of vata and nourishes and provides moisture as well as a sense of calmness. If you can, try practicing this 4-5 times a week to reduce dry skin, bone and muscle deterioration, arthritis, joint pain, loss of memory, digestive issues, constipation and inability to sleep.
We are all individual
While there are distinct periods of life, we all go through the transition in our own unique way and it’s important to know and be at peace with the way your body ages and do the best you can to empower yourself and stay fit and healthy through the years.
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