Fall and winter are marked by the cold, dry windy and rough quslities that are hallmarks of vata dosha, so our dietand lifestyle should be designed to balance this energy.
The diet should be warm, moist and heavy to counter vata’s cold, dry, and light qualities. To keep the body warm and decrease dryness, a warming oil should be added to every dish. The best oil for vata is sesame oild or almond oil. But ghee is considered tri- doshic and can always be used as well. Nuts like pecan and almonds are good to have during winter as they are heavy and oily. Avoid salads, raw fruits and vegetables. The tastes to avoid are pungent, astringent and bitter. Favor sweet, salty and sour tastes.
Drinks such as herbal teas made with cumin and fennel or ginger and mint are beneficial. Have a cup of warm milk at bedtime. Avoid iced tea and cold water.
LIFESTYLE IN VATA SEASON
- The most effective way to support vata is by establishing a daily routine. Start by going to bed at the same time every night (preferably around 10pm) and waking at the same hour every morning.
- Regulate your mealtimes by having lunch at noon, dinner in the early evening, without skipping breakfast.
- Give your body a daily massage with warm sesame oil: 15 mins before bathing. Warm oil massage will calm your nervous system, and ground your energy.
- It is especially advised to do regular nasya (nasal therapy) and self-massage with oil during the autumn. The best nasya oils for this season are vacha oil, bala oil, or dashamula oil. Three to five drops in each nostril will calm vata and clear the mind.
- Dress in autumn colors such as reds, yellows, oranges and whites and wear enough clothes that you are warm throughout the day. When you step out into the elements, cover your head and ears to protect them from windy and cold autumn air.
- And of course, if you get the opportunity to do an Ayurvedic cleanse, known as Panchakarma (Natural detoxification) fall is the perfect time. A fall pancha karma can be a key factor in preventing winter ailments. Cleansing herbs such as triphala will help remove the toxins which feed winter respiratory infections. Warming blends like trikatu will help by scorching away toxins. Include some Holy basil (Tulsi) ginger and turmeric tea. It will help by inducing sweating and helping remove kapha toxins.
YOGA AND EXERCISE
- Practice restorative yoga or raja yoga, which may enhance your yoga practice.
- Try to do gentle exercise or workout during the morning to avoid the tiredness that can come with shorter days.
- Practice any form of exercise with a slow, smooth, and steady pace.
- Regardless of your exercise routine, stay warm and end your practice with a long period of relaxation. Some gentle yoga and 10-15 minutes of meditation will further your sense of stability and wellness.
- While practicing yoga, focus on calming and gentle positions that keep you connected to the earth. Keep your gaze at horizon level and focus on grounding positions.
Don’t forget to self-nurture this fall with Ayurveda.
Balancing Vata with a Fall Cleanse