Fall is here – and with it colorful leaves, windy weather and seasonal treats like pumpkins. In Ayurveda, the period between October and February is considered Vata time, with Kapha influences from the end of November on. Many are not a fan of this phase as the days get shorter and colder. Also, if you are one of them, there are some tips to get through the Vata time well. Here’s how.
The Vata Dosha
Vata is the “airy” of the three doshas. In our organism it is responsible for breathing, heartbeat, cell division, enthusiasm and creativity. As characteristics one assigns to Vata attributes such as dry, rough, cold, mobile, clear and light. People with high levels of Vata are thus typically creative and communicative, but also erratic and absent-minded. Typical complaints of excess Vata are stress, pain, anxiety, nervousness, dry skin, or cracking joints.
Vata in fall
Autumn weather has typical Vata characteristics: windy, changeable, cool. When we are affected by Vata characteristics from the outside, our Vata dosha can get out of control. So how can we calm our Vata?
Time for comfort food! Enjoy warm stews, soups and kitcharis. Anything warming and moisturizing increases kapha and calms vata. Feel free to season your food spicy, but not too spicy. Tea is also great, but black is best avoided.
Treat yourself to cozy evenings on the couch, soothing massages with oil and extensive rest periods. Also with your favorite people, if you like!
The airy Vata dosha needs grounding. Strengthening, grounding asanas are therefore well suited. Incorporate some standing postures into your flow. Sitting and lying asanas are also good for grounding. You may also want to try Yin Yoga – the calm, relaxing style is balm for agitated Vata. Keep incorporating meditations and calming pranayamas like Bhramari, too.
Vata influences in winter
Once the weather becomes less changeable and temperatures are consistently cold, we experience a significant Kapha influence in addition to Vata. Winter has typical Kapha characteristics: Nature and animals are in a slumbering phase, it is cold and often wet, and we feel a need to retreat and reflect. The cold means the body needs more fuel to stay warm and healthy. So the fire element in us is amplified, thus Agni, our digestive fire is also very strong during this time. The good news: Christmas classics like dumplings & co. can be digested well. The not so good news: excessively heavy or sweet foods increase Kapha and can therefore lead to sluggishness and lethargy. Go for warming vegetables, hot spices and a balance between the different flavors.
As always, experiment!
Feel into yourself and ask yourself what you really need for your well-being. Even during the Vata period, you may be dominated by a completely different dosha, and the autumn tips may not suit your current situation. You know yourself best!
I wish you a wonderful fall time.