Balance Vata for the Fall

by Ayurveda Therapist on November 15, 2011

Fall is a time of movement and change. As the winds pick up, the earth becomes dry, light, and cool. The leaves change colors and fall from the trees. There is a certain roughness to the season that corresponds to the attributes of Vata (dry, light, cool, windy, and rough). Composed of ether and air elements, vata is the moving influence of the universe inspiring activity and movement inside and outside of the body. Prana, the vital life force, is the essential component of Vata and when kept in balance, it evokes enthusiasm, joy, clarity and creativity.

Being aware of the changing season and the associated changes to your body, mind, and spirit will help you keep Vata in balance during the Fall season. Balanced Vata optimizes physical activity, motor function, respiration, communication, mental activity, sensory perception, circulation, heart performance, and all nervous system function. Keeping Vata in balance means adding more balance to Kapha and Pitta since Vata’s movement can spur them to go out of balance as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Increased Vata:

• Experiencing anxiety, panic, or fear
• Excessively thinking, worrying, or feeling nervous
• Cracking, popping, and/or stiff joints
• Twitching, tremors, and/or muscle spasms
• Having dry or chapped skin
• Being constipated, having dry, hard stools, and/or feeling gaseous and bloated
• Feeling chilled and cold
• Waking up in the early morning and having a difficult time to fall back asleep or having light, interrupted sleep
• Experiencing spacey, scattered feelings

Tricks to Keep Vata in Balance:

• Go to bed early and rise before dawn to soak in the moments of stillness and reflection.
• Integrate more warm food and drink to help nourish yourself.
• Reduce or avoid drying and rough foods such as popcorn or dried fruits. Also limit limit bitter and astringent tastes.
• Douse your salad and raw veggies with plenty of high quality dressings prepared with healthy fats.
• Select hardy vegetables such as butternut squash, carrots, and beets. These have the qualities of sweet, heavy, smooth, dense and moist that are most balancing for vata.
• Carve out times to sit and enjoy meals at routine times each day. Have lunch be the largest meal. (Do not eat on the run!)
• Avoid cold and iced drinks and sip on warm water or tea with meals.
• Reduce caffeine which easily aggravates Vata in a season of movement and change
• Don a scarf, hat, and gloves to protect yourself from cold breezes and avoid drafty places.
• Meditate in a warm, cozy space and bask in the silence and stillness.
• Introduce a warm oil massage (self-Abhyanga) into your daily morning routine. (Use a heavier oil such as sesame or almond)
• Set clear intentions for each day prioritizing what is important for you.
• Enjoy deeply nourishing exercise such as walking in nature, restorative yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and swimming.
• Cultivate inspiration and joy with uplifting literature, intimate get-togethers with good friends, and soothing, calming music.
• Favor aromas that are sweet, warm, and heavy. For example: include basil, frankincense, bay, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and lavender.
• Enjoy more simplicity by de-cluttering your home and work environments.
• Enjoy the comfort of touch by taking time to cuddle with your loved ones and schedule yourself for a healing massage.
• Eliminate sources of emotional stress.
• Remember to slow down, speak with intention, eat mindfully, and commit to be in the present moment.
• In general, incorporate the underlying concepts of routine, warmth, serenity, and nourishment.

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