The sudden change in climate today is telling me that fall is here! The leaves are changing from green to red, to orange, to bright yellow, the air is getting drier and colder with every gust of wind, pumpkins are appearing in the markets and clothes I have avoided for months are becoming my friend again. Hellllooooo Fall! I love that you bring a change of color to my daily scenes of green, but must you bring aggravated sinus’, throat and eyes? I guess this is Mother Nature’s sign to tell me to change it up, shake it around, and turn my summer favorites into loving memories. It’s Vata season!
In Ayurveda, this time of the year is known as the Vata season. Vata, the king of doshas governs all movement in the body from blood to waste and is also connected to our nervous system. It’s a combination of two elements vayu (air) + akash (ether). The combination of both these elements create the qualities of Vata. For those of us who have vata dominant energy or who have vata imbalances (most of us do), this can be an especially tough time of year. Imbalances that become more prominent are dryness of skin, throat, eyes and sinus’, constipation, joint stiffness anxiety, insomnia, and lack of concentration just to name a few.
How can I keep my Vata energy in balance?
To maintain balance with Vata know it’s qualities and then do the opposite which, will help to counter balance. Like can aggravate like.
Qualities of Vata (apply this holistically – mind, body soul and all that surrounds)
Light / Heavy
Hard / Soft
Quick / Slow
Sharp / Dull
Tips on how to apply Vata opposite qualities to daily life
Hot + Wet = Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate with room temperature or warm beverages. Avoid ice.
- Water at room temperature
- Herbal Teas
- Ginger Tea (fresh not dry ginger)
- Warm milk with honey and cinnamon
- Almond milk shakes with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds – no ice
Hot + Heavy+ Wet+ Soft+ Smooth = Warm, moist foods.
- Steamed veggies instead of raw (root veggies/squash are very balancing for Vata)
- Saute leafy greens instead of cold salads. Cold leafy green salads in moderation
- Fresh ripe fruit instead of dry fruit
- Nuts and seeds make great snacks
- Pie or warm baked food over ice cream
- Warm lentils salads, soups, rice dishes
- Oatmeal. Avoid dry oats
- Quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat. Buckwheat, barley, millet, rye in moderation
- Warm hearty soups are great!
Hot + Heavy+ Smooth = Embrace the oil.
- The good fats – like olive, flax, sesame, ghee (avoid coconut it’s too cold for this season)
- Drizzle a little extra olive oil over steamed veggies/leafy greens, which tend to aggravate dryness
- Abyangan – warm oil massage (sesame oil is nice and warm for Vata season). Good to do prior to yoga especially for stiff joints
- Nasya – a few drop of sesame or herbal vata oils in each nostril. Sounds weird but great relief afterward
- A few drops of sesame oil in each ear prior to bed
- Aid your immune system with plenty of sleep and rest
- Pull out the Nettie pot at least once a week
- Pranayama – Nadi Shodhana (alternative nostril breathing)
- Yoga. Asanas that regulate Vata such as inverted poses, twisting poses, shavaasana (corpse pose)
- Be regular by eating meals on a timely basis. Avoid skipping meals
- Stay warm with the foods you eat, the clothes you wear and your daily thoughts
- Avoid excessive multi-tasking. Create calm. Meditate
- Help your digestion with cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, fennel, basil, oregano, rosemary, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom
- Aromatherapy: chamomile, lavender, rose, geranium, neroli, vetivert, rosemary, lemon balm, peppermint, basil, sweet marjoram, bergamot, lemon, clary sage, myrrh, frankincense, sandalwood, aniseed, cinnamon, eucalyptus
EMBRACE (with balance): SWEET (whole grains, fruits, veggies), SOUR, SALTY.
Keep in Check: Pungent, Astringent and Bitter