During the fall season, we see vata dosha’s presence all around us in the form of cool air, erratic winds, and nature’s color changes. But little do we realize similar effects are happening within our body.
Vata’s influence is cooling and drying. By changing our daily habits accordingly, we can help to keep our sense of balance despite nature’s shift in seasons.
Come fall, we adopt many of these shifts naturally. We no longer crave summer’s cooling ice cream and refreshing lemonade, instead we gravitate toward hearty stews and warm desserts.
These small shifts prevent vata from becoming aggravated. If vata does become aggravated, it can lead to dryness, constipation, and anxiety.
Help keep vata in check this season with these Ayurvedic tips.
Vata is irregular by nature. And since like increases like, irregular movements and practices can aggravate vata. When the mind jumps from one point of focus to another numerous times, vata becomes unstable.
This vata-aggravated behavior should be tamed, especially during vata season. Rather than multitasking, we should try to focus on one thing at a time.
Dry skin is a common complaint during the cooler months. Ayurveda recommends daily abhyanga, or oil massages to help calm vata. Begin by warming sesame oil in a pot of hot water, then rhythmically and generously applying it to the body.
Warm oil is the most balancing substance for vata, as it helps to ground the mind, improve circulation, and encourage the body to eliminate toxins.
Long strokes should be used on the long bones and circular strokes around the joints to help vata flow in its normal direction. Allow the oil to soak in for at least 10 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
While many of us hate the idea of routine, our body craves it. Vata regulates the nervous system, elimination, and the flow of prana, which each function best when the body is given a rhythm.
We don’t want to restrict ourselves to the same exact pattern day in and day out, but we should do our best to eat meals at normal times and regulate our sleep schedule.
While most Americans exercise year round, Ayurveda teaches us that excess exercise is harmful and should be scaled back during the cooler months. Fast and intense movements can aggravate vata, so the best workouts during the fall should be slow and gentle.
While high vata can drive us to want to do more, the fall is the season to do less. Majority of us are unable to scale back on our schedules, but we should try our best to find a few minutes of quiet time each day. We can spend these moments immersed in nature, basking in the sun, taking a walk, or sitting quietly in meditation.
Eating seasonally is one of the most powerful ways to keep any of the doshas balanced. Our focus in the fall is on a vata-pacifying diet. This includes warm and mushy foods such as oatmeal, soups, and stews with a mix of healthy fats and proteins.
Vata-aggravating foods such as raw foods, salads, dry foods, bitter foods, and vegetables high in air and space should be avoided.
Making seasonal shifts to our lifestyle does not have to be complex or difficult. Even small changes can have a big effect, and we’ll feel the benefits not only during vata season, but year round as well.
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