Ever so slowly, the days have started to get shorter again. The sun’s journey through the sky is starting later and later in the morning. There’s a new crispness in the air accompanied by the changing colors into reds, browns, and yellows. The long, slow burn of the summer has left the Earth dry as it prepares to nourish and revitalize over the next few months before the following spring.
With everything that has been going on this year, it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves and treat each other with kindness and love this season. In Ayurveda, we can describe the Fall season (primarily in North America and parts of Europe) as dry, rough, light, and cool. These Gunas, or qualities, are highly influenced by Vata energy. Vata is the Dosha of wind energy, moving swiftly and creating dryness. With a season in Vata, if there are other Vata energies in our lives right now, this can aggravate us and create unbalance. An imbalance in Vata energy can manifest as anxiety, insomnia, constipation, joint pain, and dry or peeling skin.
Starting a new job, school, or project are all examples of Vata energy. So these added on top of a Vata season can create an imbalance. This is even more so if your energetic constitution is Vata heavy. For all of you, dear readers who also happen to live on the West coast, although the fires are dominantly Pitta (fire) energy, there is no fire without air, and after the fires burn out, the wind carries the ash, so this dryness can further aggravate. On top of all of this, we’re going through change as a nation in the U.S. with the upcoming election and are in a tumultuous cycle of change with the Pandemic. Vata energy is all around us, and we must balance it, so we don’t become overwhelmed. Below you will find some tips for herbs, routines, and movements to bring into during this season to help you do so.
- As always, it is recommended to wake before the Kapha time of day (6 a.m.). Kapha is Earth energy, slow, steady, and stable. So waking up with Kapha time of day can make you feel sluggish and groggy.
- If you enjoy morning showers, massage warm organic sesame oil into your skin and scalp, working towards the center to help with circulation and then enjoy a warm shower.
- Apply a nasal oil to help nourish the nose and nasal passages during these dryer months.
- Drink a warm cup of lemon (about ½ a lemon) water to help with Vata bowel imbalances.
- Like the wind, Vata is always moving around in a thousand different directions at once. To balance this energy, slow and steady movement is recommended.
- Take a stroll at your nearby park, maybe take this time to listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook!
- Take it easy on the cardio this season and dabble in some strength training with plenty of rest in between reps.
- For yoga, look into slow flow and grounding for Vinyasa classes and take plenty of Yin classes in between.
- Avoid salads, raw foods, and crunchy snacks at this time as they all aggravate Vata.
- Include lots of warm cooked foods such as oatmeal, soups, and curries.
- Incorporate sweet, sour, and salty foods to soothe the Vata energy.
- Eat in-season vegetables and grains such as squash, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, miso, kidney and mung beans, quinoa, and brown rice.
Herbs for Balancing Vata:
- Ginger tea
- Turmeric (as a tea, goes great with ginger, or as an added spice to your food)
You can incorporate some or all of these practices into your fall routine. Please check with a doctor or an Ayurvedic teacher before adding in any internal practices. If you start to get overwhelmed, only adopt the ones that are serving you. What is most important during this time is to slow yourself down and be mindful of your body and its environment.
Stay safe, my dears, I wish you all the happiness.
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Photo: Maddi Bazzocco via Unsplash