As I write this, we have fully transitioned into the fall season. Temperatures have dropped. The air has become dry and windy. The sound of blowing leaves fills the air. The colors of nature have shifted from green to brown. The days are getting shorter. You also might have noticed that your schedule has become more busy and hectic, and you might be experiencing more anxiety. You might feel more spacey in your mind. In your body, you might notice symptoms like constipation, dry skin, cold extremities, cracking joints and dehydration.
In Ayurveda, autumn is known as vata season. Vata carries the characterics you notice in fall – cold, dry and mobile. In Ayurveda, opposites balance. So in the fall, you want to focus on qualities like warm, oily (opposite of dry in Ayurveda), and stability/groundedness. Below are some tips on how to do this to navigate your way through the fall season gracefully.
Focus on eating nourishing, grounding, well-cooked, well-spiced and well-oiled food. Include sweet, sour and salty tastes. Foods that are warm and liquid, like oatmeal, stews and soups are great for vata season. Eat meals at regular times every day. Stay hydrated by drinking Ayurvedic Gatorade (instructions below) and warm herbal teas. Reduce your intake of raw and dry foods like salads, cold smoothies, crackers, rice cakes and popcorn.
- Well-oiled food – olive oil, coconut oil, ghee
- Well-spiced food – pretty much all spices! I especially like, cinnamon, cumin, astofida (hing), ginger, garlic and turmeric
- Sweet taste – root veggies, like sweet potatoes; winter squash, like butternut squash; and cooked grains, like basmati rice and quinoa
- Salty taste – add pink Himalayan salt or mineral salt to your food
- Sour taste – add a dash of lemon or lime juice to your meals; cook your oatmeal with dried raisins or dried cranberries
- Healthy fats – all nuts and seeds
- Ayurvedic Gatorade – to warm water, add a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of pink Himalayan or mineral salt
Think relaxing and grounding. Vata season is associated with the air element. When you imagine the air element, think more of movement, like the movement of the wind – what is called mobile quality. The opposite of mobile is stable and grounded. This is the time of year to consider slowing down, and to get a good night’s sleep.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule, getting 7-8 hours of sleep. This means getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday.
- Do grounding practices like meditation, restorative and yin yoga
- Stay warm, layer up, protect your head and hands on chilly days
- Try to get 10-20 minutes of natural sunlight every day
- Practice self oil massage with sesame oil daily. This practice has been life changing for me! Instructions to do this are here: https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/article/Abhyanga-Oil-Massage-to-Soothe-Your-Nerves/4132
In vata season, use herbs that help build immunity, keep the body hydrated, and keep your digestive fires strong.
- CCF tea – more information on CCF tea with recipe here
- Chyavanprash is a nutritive jam packed with vitamin C that strengthens immunity (it’s also yummy)
- Licorice tea – licorice is a demulcent herb, helping you hold onto water. I like the Traditional Medicinal brand.
- Ginger – in your tea or in your meals helps keep your digestive fire strong and is warming
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