Fall is the time of transition to the bright, hot days of summer to the cold, dark days of winter. As I write this, it’s an early dark and chilly October morning.
Fall and early winter are known as vata season. Vata embodies the elements of ether and air – cold, light, dry and mobile. Ether (or space) lacks structure and form. Ether is the changeable quality we see in nature at this time of year. Air element also reigns at this time of year – think of air as movement. Think of the movement of air with a cool breeze and leaves blowing in the wind. In Ayurveda, like increases like, and opposites balance. For this season, you want to bring in more qualities that are warming, nourishing and grounding. Keeping these qualities in mind make choosing the food we eat and our self-care practices with the seasons simpler. Below are some tips on how to feel your best and thrive at this time of year.
Food for Vata
To bring balance to vata dosha in this time of year, it’s healing to eat foods that are warm, oily, grounding and nourishing. Balance the cold and dry air of late autumn and early winter with warming soups, stews and curries. Eat for the seasons enjoying the orange and red colors found in those seasonal foods. Eat food that is well-cooked and well-spiced. Keeping our food cooked and spiced allows for easier digestion of the heavier foods we enjoy at this time of year. Keeping our agni, or digestive fires, running smoothly will help us stay healthy and energized.
Lifestyle for Vata
Think warming, nourishing and grounding. Vata energy can feel very erratic and chaotic, and we can balance this by having a daily routine. To do this, you wake up, take your meals, and get to sleep at around the same times daily. Make your home a warm and comfy place to nest, and spend time with family and friends that nourish you. Make sleep a priority, and practice grounding yoga practices like yin, nidra and restorative. Self oil massage is really wonderful at this time of year and balances the dry and cold qualities of fall (how to do a self-oil massage).