It is officially fall, which means, in the world of Ayurveda, Vata season is here. Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. The sister science and medicine of yoga allows us how to live within the laws and rhythms of nature.
The qualities that characterize this time of year are like those of Vata: cold, dry, light, and quick-moving.
It’s been said throughout Ayurveda that we see happening around us in our environment is also happening inside our minds and bodies. The Vata dosha represents the elements of air and space, and is characterized by irregularity, motion, and restlessness – which we will soon notice in both the fall breeze as well as in our bodies.
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Here are some more lifestyle tips and guidelines to ensure a smooth transition into fall:
How to Manage Seasonal Changes
Vata season qualities include lightness and dryness in the air, cold and cool temperatures, movement and activity.
These environmental factors influence the human system by increasing the same qualities in our minds and bodies. The light, rough, cold and dry qualities are depleting to the system, lowering our immunity and resistance to illness. This is why the onset of fall and winter can trigger many seasonal imbalances, such as allergies, colds, fatigue and digestive sensitivities.
It is important to incorporate warming, nourishing foods and remedies. Being mindful of this now will help you avoid illness and other issues as the fall progresses.
What to Eat During Vata Season
Healthy fats. Ghee is every Vata’s best friend, especially during windy and cool Vata season. Consume as many healthy fats as possible. This can include: raw milk, olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), avocado, and of course the golden elixir of life, ghee.
Eat warm cooked and heavy foods. Stick to warm and easily digestible meals such as stews, soups, basmati or brown or wild rice, dahl, and cooked root vegetables.
Eat hot nourishing beverages. Spiced teas such as ginger, licorice, and cinnamon are balancing for light and airy Vata. To make a wonderful turmeric milk: melt 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder in one cup of warm milk, on the stove. When the spices have assimilated into the milk, add 1 tsp of raw honey. This delicious beverage helps with immunity and calms the nerves. It will also help with sound sleep.
Eat spices. These exotic Ayurvedic spices not only taste amazing, they are also energetically warming and grounding – and Vata-pacifying. Additionally, they help with digestion, which Vata may struggle with. Try: turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, black pepper, or saffron.
Sip on broth. Homemade vegetable broth, chicken broth, bone broth, as the weather cools is great for Vata. It is also a good idea to drink warm water throughout the day.
Avoid raw foods and salads. These are difficult to digest in Vata season, and will unbalance you during this time. Summer (Pitta season) is the best time to eat raw vegetables.
Eat bitter, astringent and pungent foods. Indulge instead in sweet, salty and sour tastes, which will balance Vata.
Avoid leftovers, raw foods, canned foods, processed foods. These will aggravate Vata. Eating fresh, homemade, sattvic meals is best for Vata types.
Limit coffee and caffeinated tea. Especially for Vata-dominant types, these are too stimulating. Consume in moderation.
Limit dry snack foods. This includes chips, popcorn, crackers, and dry, cold cereal.
How To Nurture Yourself During the Transition from Summer to Fall
Above all, take some time for self-care this Vata season by anointing your body with oil. In Sanskrit, the word sneha means both “oil” and “love”. This speaks volumes. Applying oil to the body is grounding and relaxing, and provides stability and warmth. It is important to nourish yourself daily with oil, and it also serves a vital role in the cleansing process.
Oil helps mobilize toxins from the tissues while also calming the nervous system so that the body can move from stress-fighting functions to rejuvenating functions. When the nervous system is at rest, the cells can repair themselves, bringing healing to the body and mind. Massage the body with organic oil after showering. During Vata season, choose organic mustard seed, sesame seed, castor, or avocado oil.
As you create a daily balancing routine that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit, you will find yourself feeling more energized and centered in the months to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Emma Cunningham is a seasoned yogi, writer & digital marketing connoisseur. Nomadic since a young girl, Emma spent three years traveling the globe solo while studying yoga in places like India, China, & Bali. Learn more about Emma here.