In Ayurveda, the time of year associated with fall (autumn-early winter) is known as Vata season. Vata is one of the Ayurvedic doshas or constitutions that not only is found in Nature but also exists inside our body. The qualities of Vata are fast, light, cold, dry, clear and contracted, irregular and rough. Vata governs change and when in balance facilitates spirituality, creativity, imagination and wisdom connected to the higher chakras. Vata people are quirky, sensitive, enjoy spending time alone (but hopefully not too much!), and tend to both learn and forget information quickly. They can struggle with physical issues such as joint problems, thyroid issues, scoliosis and neuropathy. Depending on your individual make up, you may discover you have been born with more Vata, or perhaps you have a loved one that possesses these traits.
One of the main principles of Ayurveda is "like increases like". In other words, we may tend to have an affinity towards foods, activities or habits that actually push us more OUT of balance. As someone who has discovered I have quite a bit of Vata myself, I want to share some tips that have helped me stay grounded and balanced during the Fall, a time of year that can lead to Vata ailments such as anxiety, constipation, dry skin or insomnia.
Cook with Sesame Oil! (you can also rub sesame oil on your hands and feet before bed for help with insomnia).Roast some root vegetables such as squashes, beets, sweet potato, carrots and add some extra fats such as avocado, nuts and ghee (clarified butter) to your food. Vata is drying so adding more oil will help lubricate the joints, one of the areas of Vata imbalance. Sweet, salty, and sour are the best tastes for Vata.
Stay low to the earth. Squats, warrior poses, and balancing poses are best. Think of digging your feet into the mud. Practice headstand and stay a little longer than usual.
Fear is a BIG one for Vata. When I'm feeling out of balance, I do a fear protection mantra. Other mantras to balance Vata include chanting to Ganesh (The Remover of Obstacles) or to Lakshmi (who symbolizes abundance and sensuality).
- Essential Oils:
The best oils for Vata (and some of my favorites) are Vanilla, Clove, Sandalwood, Jasmine and Sweet Orange.
Vata needs a steady beat to calm an often overactive mind. Percussion or Classical Music with a repetitive melody is best or you can try practicing in silence.
I hope you enjoy the glory of Fall. If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda and how to stay healthy, I am doing an Introduction to Ayurveda Workshop on December 7th. See the events page for details and to sign up..