Updated: Mar 23
Every season brings with it qualities, it may be hot or cold, wet or dry, still or windy - and I find it fascinating to observe how these changes in nature play out and are reflected in our own bodies.
So how does this work? Well each season has a Dosha or constitution that it will either pacify and support, or aggravate and cause excess, therefore making it a little more challenging to maintain balance.
In short, If the qualities of your Dosha are opposite to the current season you will feel wonderful, you will thrive, it will be your favourite time of year and you are less likely to suffer the seasonal imbalances.
If your constitution has the same qualities as the current season, the opposite is true, you will have to be more diligent with your daily routine and food choices, maybe including some herbs or treatments to support you as this will be a more challenging season to remain balanced.
Autumn brings about the qualities of dryness, lightness and depletion along with cold, mobile winds – my favourite way to observe this in nature is seeing all the leaves dry out, they fall from the trees, they are so light they are swept up in a gust of cold wind and they are scattered in many directions. You can probably relate to these same feelings in your body and mind, Yes? The scattered thoughts, the dry rough skin, feeling the cold or instability.
With all of these qualities increasing around us in nature, we feel the need to balance this, we feel the need to pause, to be still, for nourishment, for warmth, to be contained, almost cocooned and grounded.
So which Dosha, finds Autumn the most challenging? You guessed it, our creative, outgoing Vata peeps. If this is you, here are a few tips to keep you warm, grounded and nourished this Autumn.
1. Daily warm oil massage, aka Abyanga, is the perfect antidote for Vata. It's a beautiful practice of self care that really makes me feel 'contained' and nourished. Vata has the qualities of being light and airy, without any physical boundaries or limitations, often making us feel out of our body, ungrounded and scattered.
When I apply warm oil to my skin each day before my shower I feel enveloped in this beautiful stabilising oil, it also seems to insulate me against the cold Autumn winds.
Sesame oil is one of the best oils to use at this time of year, and if you need extra herbal support choose a medicated herbal oil such as this Vata Massage Oil from Banyan Botanicals for your Abyanga. Heres how to do your own Abyanga at home.
2. Eat warm, nourishing cooked foods with spices, if you remember Vata as being light, dry, airy, rough and cold then foods of the same nature are going to be a no-no... foods such as popcorn, dry crackers, cold raw salads or smoothies are not the best choice at this time of year.
Vata craves warm moist dhal's, casseroles and soups with lots of grounding root vegetables, good quality oils such as ghee to pacify the dryness and some yummy spices to bring in the warmth & support digestion. Here's a Kitchari Recipe to get you started.You can get your supplies here.
3. Create stillness,Vata has the quality of movement, active body and equally active mind! It takes discipline but taking time out to calm the nervous system, reducing the amount of stimuli coming coming in through your senses and saying 'no' occasionally to allow time in your day or week to simply be, and not rushing from one thing to another.
This practice can take many forms, for example meditation, journalling, a warm cuppa, time in nature, grounding the feet on the earth, Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, time away from social media, a massage, a hobby, a creative activity, weighted blankets to to feel supported and held, a bath with essential oils, setting boundaries & simply getting enough sleep.
4. Keep Warm, each dosha has a place, or multiple places where it likes to call home, Vata likes to hang out in the ears, as well as the colon, thighs, hair, nervous system, bones and teeth.
It's important we looks after these areas during Autumn, a beanie is a great way to protect the ears as well as applying warm oil to the ears as part of your daily Abyanga.
Castor oil packs and/or warm wheat bags over the abdomen can be a wonderfull soothing practice for the colon. I also like to use an essential oil called 'Digize' as part of this practice. This amazing oil is included in the essential oil Starter Kit which is available here.
If your teeth are sensitive or feel 'loose', oil pullling with sesame oil can work wonders.
5. Magnesium Salt Bath, as I mentioned above, vata imbalances often show up in the nervous system and we know how supportive magnesium can be to calm and support sleep. All minerals are generally great for Vata because they are comprised of the earth element and provide the stability and grounding that Vata lacks being dominated by space and air.
6. Daily Routine, otherwise know as 'dinacharya' is the cornerstone of the Ayurvedic lifestyle. Everyone benefits from having a daily routine, but due to variable, spontaneous nature of Vata, a predictable daily routine is especially grounding.
Start by creating an evening bedtime routine, retiring at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning.
Then aim to eat at the same time each day with your largest meal at lunch time. You can then start to add in other activities, such as your yoga or meditation practice, your daily oil massage and other seasonal practices. Your body and mind will really start to appreciate the predictable consistent nature of your day as this creates stability in our ever changing world.
It is my dharma to share the wisdom of Ayurveda, Yoga and the magical healing powers of plants with you all, so if you have any questions about herbs, setting up a daily routine, yoga practices or using essential oils for wellness or creating a safe healthy home please get in touch, It would be my pleasure to support you on your journey.
Please share your favourite Vata nourishing lifestyle tips in the comments.
Live Wisely, Abbie x
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