Autumn is the season when Vata dosha is most likely to topple out of balance according to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of disease prevention and natural healing.
Ayurveda considers our physical, physiological and psychological functions to be governed by a combination of elements, namely: earth, water, fire, air and ether (space). Maintaining the harmonious balance of these elements is considered to be the key to good health.
Vata dosha refers to the elements air and ether, while Pitta dosha is fire, and Kapha dosha earth and water. Every individual has a combination of these three doshas, however one or two will predominate.
The subtle energy of Vata imparts energy, life, movement and expression. It literally translates as “wind” and its qualities are cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick and changeable, which is why it tends to rise in Autumn.
Excessive Vata may result in the following symptoms:
- dry skin
- joints that make a clicking sound
- lower backaches
- irregular bowel movements
- erratic thinking
- restless sleep
To balance Vata, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life.
1. Oil massage
Sesame oil is warm, rich and heavy and helps counteract the cold, dry and light qualities of Vata. Apply sesame oil to your entire body twenty minutes before showering, to allow time for absorption. If a full body application is not always practical, apply to the abdomen and hip area.
2. Warm showers and clothes
If you’ve been enjoying cool showers throughout the summer, switch to warm showers as the weather begins to change. Wear warm colours, such as earth colours, pastels, and warm yellows. Do not allow yourself to get cold at any time.
3. Adapt your diet to the season
Cut back on fresh salads, which are light and cool, and try to include richer, warm food in your diet. Stews and soups are perfect as they also include plenty of juice to counteract the dryness of Vata. Avoid dry foods and vegetables that produce gas. Drink plenty of water. Sip fresh ginger tea throughout the day, which has warming qualities and aids digestive function.
4. Enjoy sun baths
The sun’s rays are converted by our body into vitamin D, which boosts our immune system and helps us stay in a cheerful mood, while providing warmth. Sit in the sun for at least twenty minutes a day. Take this time out to be still and quiet in meditation to counteract Vata’s tendency of erratic movement, thought and sound.
5. Take light exercise
Light exercise that promotes balance and flexibility is best, taking care not to push your limits. Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, gentle walking, and cycling are good options to consider.
6. Create a soothing environment
Burn aromatherapy oils such as basil, bay, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, frankincense, lavender, pine, sage, and vanilla, which are sweet, heavy, and warm. Listen to soothing, calming music.
Touch and be touched regularly by the people you love.
Best of all, you will discover that this self-care regimen is comforting and, therefore, no effort at all!