How to tame your Vata during Autumn
Updated: Mar 15
Why you need a Seasonal Routine
Ayurveda works on the principle that like increases like and this also applies to the seasons. Each season brings different qualities, it may be hot, dry, cold, wet or windy and each of these qualities either aggravate or pacify the Doshas.
If you have a Vata constitution or imbalance, it is important to know that dry, cold and windy weather is the most aggravating and warm, humid, still weather is pacifying. This generally means you will have to very strict with your Vata pacifying foods and routine during Autumn and early winter as this is the most likely time for Vata related problems to develop or be aggravated further.
Read Introducing Vata Dosha to recap on all things Vata.
Organs and conditions aggravated by Vata dosha
When Vata is out of balance areas that are often effected are;
Colon - irregular, dry bowel movements, possible constipation, bloating and wind.
Lungs - dry cough or breathing difficulties
Mind - feelings of anxiety and insecurity, quick, scattered thoughts
Skin - dry, cracked, thin, dull and cold skin
Dizziness and lightheadedness
Poor circulation, cold hands and feet
Muscle spasms and twitches
Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
Aches and pain, cracking joints, and osteoarthritis
Dry eyes and mouth
Weight loss, and or malabsorption
Ears may 'ring', or be sensitive to noise and cold.
Note: Just because it is a Vata aggravating season does not mean you will only get a Vata related condition! This is determined by YOUR UNIQUE constitution! However, if you are prone to these type of conditions then a Vata pacifying diet and lifestyle might be worth considering. This information is generic, a personalised, detailed consultation is always recommended.
How to balance Vata
Maintain a consistent and regular daily routine
Keep exercise gentle and regulated
Find time for rest, reflection and nurturing of the Self
Create a calm, safe and comforting environment for yourself
Oil massage, especially with warm sesame oil, apply before your shower as a self massage or treat yourself to a regular Ayurvedic massage as this is soothing and grounding
Choose warming foods and minimise intake of raw cold foods and drinks
Avoid very cold and very windy conditions, also very dry climates
Wear warm clothes, beanie and scarf and protect yourself from the wind, especially your ears.
Minimise travel and too much movement, avoid loud and noisy places, crowds, too much talking
Express your creativity in focussed and satisfying ways and allocate space and time for this
Wear soft comfortable clothes made of natural fibres of earth tones
Get enough sleep including day sleep as required as this reduces Vata.
Sweet, Sour and Salty tastes reduce Vata. Pungent (hot), bitter and Astringent tastes increase Vata.
Vata has the properties of cold, dry, light and rough. Therefore opposite qualities will reduce Vata. Therefore the best way to balance excess Vata is to choose food and lifestyle activities that are warming, oily, heavy and smooth.
Using spices and herbs daily in cooking is a great way to promote health, here some options for pacifying Vata; Turmeric, Coriander, Black pepper, Cumin, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Garlic, Cinnamon, Asafoetida, Fenugreek, Mustard, Ginger, Sesame Oil, Black sesame, Saffron, Dill, Castor Oil, Fennel, Coconut.
Vata is aggravated during autumn and winter. Cold, windy and dry conditions are aggravating for try to keep warm. Warm humid/wet climates are best for pacifying aggravated Vata.
Vata is most active in the early hours of the morning between 2-6am and afternoon 2-6 pm. If you are experiencing aggravated Vata, then you may experience more aggravation at these times. Take care to incorporate Vata reducing foods and activities.
All condiments reduce Vata, all sweeteners reduce Vata. All fruits reduce Vata except Melons and cranberries, All dairy reduces Vata. All oil reduce Vata except soy and canola. All nuts reduce Vata. Legumes increase Vata except Mung is fine.
Essential oils that can help to balance Vata;
Floral oils such as Geranium, Lavender, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose
Spices like Cardamom, Ginger, Fennel, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Clove
Citrus oils such as Lemon, Lime, Lemongrass, Orange, Pine, Peppermint
Resins such as Frankincense, Myrrh
Vata constitution are quite often underweight, and have a very active body and mind. In order to bring about balance and prevent aggravation of Vata dosha always work at a slow gentle pace that induces a feeling of peace and tranquillity. Vata is easily exhausted so take care not to over exert yourself.
It is important to note that the main sites of Vata are colon and the nervous system so poses that massage the colon, calm the mind and slow the body are particularly helpful.
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Vata constitutions should work through the series at a slow gentle pace like a moving meditation, and repeat up to 12 times. This will increase warmth, improve flexibility and focus the mind. After the sun salutation you may add some other poses of your choice.
Pranayama (Breathing Exercise) to balance Vata
Pranayama is a branch of yoga that involves controlling the breath, naturally the most beneficial pranayama for balancing Vata are those that are calming, cantering and grounding. Here are a few Pranayama to consider;
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) – great to calm and centre the mind, harmonises the left and right hemispheres of the brain and works therapeutically for most circulatory and respiratory problems.
Bee Breath (Bhramari) – assists with anxiety and soothes the mind.
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