Lately you have seen me bringing our attention to the change of weather and referring to it as Vata season.
A lot of you may be wondering what Vata season is and why it is so important for us to make the subtle changes in our diet and lifestyle in order to make the transition from summer to winter smooth.
According to Ayurveda, the science of life, there are three doshas:
Each of these doshas are predominant in each of our seasons. Pitta is the season of Summer where it is hot and we are driven. Kapha is the season of Spring, ruled by water and the earth, where everything seems to feel wet and heavy. Vata rules Fall and Winter where the winds change and everything becomes cool, dry, clear and moving.
In Ayurveda, we aim to keep our inward nature in balance with what is happening on the outside. In some cases we do this naturally like when the temperatures start to drop and we start to crave warmer foods.
But we are also sometimes drawn to the things that create Vata derangement or imbalance such as sugar and alcohol.
All body types are susceptible to Vata derangement during this time of year. Vata derangement symptoms include dry skin, restlessness, forgetfulness, constipation, arthritis, popping joints, anxiety, hight blood presure and depression. We often feel like we are running from here to there, losing the amount of time in the day and feeling the rise of unsteadiness.
To help soothe these symptoms and to decrease the Vata in our systems we should make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes.
Vata Pacifying Diet:
- Eat plenty of cooked root vegetables and stews to help keep you grounded and your insides lubricated.
- Eat less raw and uncooked foods. If you are eating a salad use plenty of healthy oils (Olive, sesame, hemp) and warming spices (garlic, tumeric, cayenne) instead of salad dressing.
- Drink a lot of warming liquids such as tea (no caffeine) or simply sip on some warm water with lemon.
- Enjoy foods that are sweet, sour and salty in taste and less of those which are bitter, astringent and pungent.
Although the Vata diet is an extremely important part, there are also several lifestyle changes you can incorporate to bring Vata back into balance.
Vata Lifestyle Recommendations:
- Stay warm. Wear plenty of layers to keep your body temperature comfortable throughout the day. Also avoid drafts since we tend to be very sensitive to them at this time of year.
- Invest in a humidifier to keep the air moist for your nasal passages. You may also purchase Nasya oil to apply daily.
- Practice Abyanga self massage. This can be done using a cup of warm sesame oil (found in the health food stores beauty department) and massaging from your head down. It usually takes about 20 minutes. Then shower and climb into bed. If you cannot commit to a 20 minute massage alternatively you can massage your feet with warm sesame oil and cover them with socks then go to sleep. This is an extremely grounding ritual.
- Practice grounding yoga practices such as malasana, childs pose and downward facing dog.
- Meditate daily. Even if it is only taking a moment out of your day to focus on your breathing.
- Get plenty of sleep. During Vata season we tend to push ourselves to the limit. Go to bed between 10 and 11–sleep at least 8 hours a night.
- Create a schedule and routine for yourself–then stick to it! Everyday.
If you are interested in discovering your individual dosha John Douillard was my Ayurveda teacher at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and on his website you can take a Body Type Quiz plus many other great resources.
With Much Warming Love,