Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us to nourish ourselves by attuning with nature and learning to weave foods, movement, and self-care practices that help us to balance out the varying energies of each season. The Ayurvedic lens looks at the year as broken up into three seasons: winter (vata), spring (kapha), and summer (pitta). Ayurveda recognizes that these seasonal aspects are present in each of us to varying degrees. Understanding your Ayurvedic type or dosha can help you weave seasonal strategies into your self-care routine.
As we move deeper into the autumn months we find ourselves upon vata season, which is characterized by colder temperatures, the air element, and dryness. A few examples of vata imbalance include: difficulty concentrating; dry skin, hair, and nails; constipation; sleeping disturbances; coldness and chills; and feeling over-whelmed. Things like erratic schedules, skipping meals, over-working, or eating cold salads, raw fruits, caffeine or dry chips and crackers all aggravate vata.
There are many self-care practices you can adopt to help balance an over-abundance of vata energy. Here are some ideas:
Cultivate a daily routine and rhythm that creates a sense of grounding. For example, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, set clear work time and personal time, resist multi-tasking and choose to focus on one thing at a time, find stillness daily through meditation, incorporate a slow, deliberate, and breath-centered flow or yin style yoga practice, practice abhyanga (self-massage) with warming oils like sesame or almond. Choose foods that are warming and unctuous like hearty soups and stews, roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, winter squashes, turnips, carrots, and beets. Grass fed butter, pasture-raised eggs, organic chicken and grass fed beef can also help to warm and ground the body during the colder months. Ghee, avocados, bananas, oats, rice, and nuts are also good vata balancing foods. Vata season is also a good time to experiment with adding spices and herbs to meals and beverages. Drinking ginger tea or herbal (cinnamon, cardamom, anise, black pepper, clove) chai tea are the perfect warming beverages. Hot or warm water is the best way to stay hydrated during this dry season.
While all doshas can benefit from incorporating these vata balancing approaches, if you know you have a lot of vata in your dosha it’s beneficial to start these warming and grounding practices very early in the autumn season so that you are well equipped to transition to winter. Those with more pitta and kapha energies may delay some of these strategies until later in the season.
Ayurvedic philosophy offers us a reservoir of insights to support us in becoming more aligned internally and externally. If you’re interested in learning more about your body type, the lens or Ayurveda, and how to best tend to your individual needs season to season consider booking a Breakthrough Health session with Kerrie Martin Schur, now offering Holistic Health Coaching at THNA Spa.
Check out our spa special this October for an introductory offer for a Breakthrough Health session with Kerrie!