And Autumn comes again. Whether this time of year makes you feel quietly productive or cold and tired, it’s a transition time for all of us.
In Ayurveda, each season is connected with a particular dosha. The doshas are a means of characterising the qualities of a physical or natural body or cycle. For vibrant good health, the doshas must be kept in balance; and so we must adapt with the seasons.
Autumn is dominated by the Vata dosha.
Vata is air; it represents feelings and sensations that are cold; windy; rough; dry; light; subtle; and easily movable. Within Ayurvedic wisdom, autumn is a time of transformation and lack. It is easy to become deficient in nutrients, energy and emotional strength during this time. But that can be avoided if you balance Vata with care and attention.
The effects of Vata can be seen clearly in autumn. The wind, the brittleness of plant life, and the leaves that become dry and fall from the trees. This natural cycle is vital for the continuation of life.
But the effects of excessive Vata in your body could include:
• Feeling anxious or fearful, or unusually disorganised
• Physical pain — in the joints or digestive system
• Dry or chapped skin
• Light and/or frequently interrupted sleep
• Racing thoughts
Autumn Can Be Creative and Inspiring
When you feel balanced and well, this time of year can be rich with creativity and inner inspiration. The outside and sociable tendencies of summer have passed. This is a time for calming down, focusing inward, and taking stock.
And the increased Vata of the season may make you feel light and spontaneous; energetic and free.
To make sure that you can enjoy the best of Vata and not become unbalanced by it, start weaving these simple Ayurvedic practices and nutritional tips into your daily life now. Autumn will be amazing!
Ayurveda for Autumn
These techniques are grounded in the wisdom that has been passed down through generation after generation of Ayurvedic medicine practitioners. Use them to support optimum health during this time — and counter the negative physical and emotional effects of excessive Vata.
Choose warm, cooked foods rather than cold food or raw vegetables. Vata is cold and dry; so eating foods that make you feel warm and supple helps to prevent your body from settling into a state of Vata. If possible, cook with good quality oil or ghee. Soups and stews are easy to make and perfect for your body right now. Avoid salads, sandwiches and dry cereals.
Warm, comforting drinks like ginger tea, spiced milk or golden milk (made with turmeric) will add heat and moisture to the body, while enhancing the sense of cosiness and inner reflection that autumn can inspire.
Gently warm an oil, such as almond or coconut oil, and use it to massage your skin before showering. This is a wonderful preventative measure for dry skin, or perfect to soothe skin that has is already suffering.
Balance the flightiness of Vata with grounding practices. Stay present with your body and try to maintain a routine of waking, eating and exercising each day. Creating stability in the cycles of your day will help to make sure you’re not swept away by the winds of autumn. Daily slow, steady yoga practice is ideal!
Stay Warm and Keep Your Feet on the Earth
Don't be afraid to feel the lightness; to enjoy the colours and sensory wonders of the season. Follow inspiration if it takes you and embrace the opportunity to connect with your creative self.
Just remember to keep your feet rooted on the earth. Care for your foundations with nourishing, wholesome food, and stay connected with your body. If you are grounded you can be safe, well, and feel fabulously free in autumn!