Nurture Autumn (Vata Season) Gracefully

Nurture Autumn (Vata Season) Gracefully

It’s subtle, however it is there.  We all can see it.  Yes, change is in the air!  The green leaves are slowly slowly turning to red, yellow, orange and gold.   The whisper of the falling leaves, a drop in temperature and cool breeze in the early morning and late evening all indicate that beautiful autumn is knocking at our door.

This is the season to learn from Mother Nature how to let go without complaining.  Trees let go of their leaves and still look so beautiful, standing tall with confidence.  They know how to celebrate this season with Mother Nature.  Auto means self.  Autumn is the season for the self to surface.

According to Ayurveda, health and well-being are related to the constant interaction of our bodies and minds with external factors. The external environment affects our internal environment.  As the seasons and weather change, we must know how to adapt in order to maintain balance in digestion, sleep, immunity, energy and overall health.

Why We Need The Seasonal Regimen…

Ayurveda defines perfect health in the terms of body, mind, soul and senses, which leads to a life conducivel to personal development and  social happiness.  Therefore, health can be achieved and maintained by following of the Ayurvedic ways defined by  sages such as Dincharya (daily regimen ) and Ritucharya (seasonal regimen.)   Ritucharya is nothing more than dietary and behavioral regimen for the maintenance of health in different seasons (ritu) of year.

The human body is greatly influenced by the external environment.  Many of the exogenous and endogenous rhythms have a specific relationship; which means that they interact and synchronize with each other.  Any change in the external environment causes change in one’s body.  So it is advised to follow such regimen to help in adapting the external environment smoothly, thus promoting a disease free, healthy life.

The real truth is that many of us adopt seasonally appropriate habits already, without even being conscious of doing so.  For example, summer is a time when we often enjoy cold salads and melons in profusion, both perfect antidotes to the summer heat. By October and November, we’re often indulging ourselves in more rooted & grounding vegetables, baking delicious pumpkin breads and dining on hearty, grounding soups with warming spices and ghee (clarified butter.)  These foods naturally subdue the dry, light, and inconsistent nature of the fall.  By making diet and lifestyle choices that counter the effects of each season, you can better maintain your internal sense of equilibrium throughout the year.

Seasons vary widely from one place to another, as do the qualities that they stimulate. Vata “season” is whatever time of year most exemplifies the features that characterize vata dosha: dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear (or empty.)  Autumn is the classic vata season.

Ayurvedic tips for Vata Seasons (Fall)

Diet
Eat a vata-pacifying diet.  Heavy, oily, warm, moist, unctuous nourishing foods that are high in protein and moderate in fat brought to life with warming, stimulating spices with ghee and served hot will go a long way toward maintaining your internal reserves of moisture and keeping you grounded through the vata season.

A grounding breakfast is important during this season. Warm oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, cream of wheat, or any grain that pacify vata, with a little ghee are good options.

Lunch should be eaten midday and may include steamed root vegetables, hearty grains such as whole wheat chapatis or tortillas, basmati rice, lentils such as mung dal (yellow lentils) or kitchari and savory soups and stews.

Sip plenty of warm beverages throughout the day:  warm water after every meal, herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon, and clove tea, or cumin, coriander, fennel tea, and water with lemon & fresh ginger, to kindle agni (digestive fire) and improve hydration.
All spices are good for vata season such as Anise , Asafetida , basil , bay leaf , black pepper, cinnamon, clove, cumin , ginger , nutmeg, saffron , turmeric , mustard seeds , garlic and paprika.

LIFESTYLE IN VATA SEASON

  • The most effective way to support vata is by establishing a daily routine.  Start by going to bed at the same time every night (preferably around 10pm) and waking at the same hour every morning.
  • Regulate your mealtimes by having lunch at noon, dinner in the early evening, without skipping breakfast.
  • Give your body a daily massage with warm sesame oil:  15 mins before bathing. Warm oil massage will calm your nervous system, and ground your energy.
  • It is especially advised to do regular nasya (nasal therapy) and self-massage with oil during the autumn . The best nasya oils for this season are vacha oil, bala oil, or dashamula oil.  Three to five drops in each nostril will calm vata and clear the mind.
  • Dress in autumn colors such as reds, yellows, oranges and whites and wear enough clothes that you are warm throughout the day. When you step out into the elements, cover your head and ears to protect them from windy and cold autumn air.
  • And of course, if you get the opportunity to do an Ayurvedic cleanse, known as Panchakarma (Natural detoxification) fall is the perfect time.  A fall pancha karma can be a key factor in preventing winter ailments. Cleansing herbs such as triphala will help remove the toxins which feed winter respiratory infections. Warming blends like trikatu will help by scorching away toxins. Include some Holy basil (Tulsi) ginger and turmeric tea.  It will help by inducing sweating and helping remove kapha toxins.

YOGA AND EXERCISE

  • Practice restorative yoga or raja yoga, which may enhance your yoga practice.
  • Try to do gentle exercise or workout during the morning to avoid the tiredness that can come with shorter days.
  • Practice any form of exercise with a slow, smooth, and steady pace.
  • Regardless of your exercise routine, stay warm and end your practice with a long period of relaxation.  Some gentle yoga and 10-15 minutes of meditation will further your sense of stability and wellness.
  • While practicing yoga, focus on calming and gentle positions that keep you connected to the earth.  Keep your gaze at horizon level and focus on grounding positions.
  • Don’t forget to self-nurture this fall with Ayurveda.

Photo – shutterstock.com

Meenakshi Gupta

Meenakshi is an accomplished ayurvedic practitioner, with a degree in Masters of Ayurveda. She was classically trained in India and has been practicing and teaching ayurveda worldwide since 1998. She has natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of ancient Indian science. She knows first-hand what a difference it can make on one’s wellness by simply understanding an individual’s unique body type and making small simple changes to one’s diet and lifestyle. Her specialties are wellness counseling , lifestyle management, and Panchakarma therapies (natural detox & rejuvenation).she can be reached at ayurroots@gmail.com