Autumn is definately here. Last week the mornings started to turn cool, chilly even and leaves are tuning yellow and red. Mornings and evenings are not only cooler but darker and I feel the coziness of searching for my woolen socks and favorite pullover. I really do love this season. It is a kind of time of the year when new things start and you get rid the old things needed no more. So it is a perfect time to go through your cupboards and shed things like trees are shedding their leaves.
According to ayurveda the fall is the season when vata dosha is at its strongest in the nature but also in our bodies. It means that you find vata qualities like cold, rough, dry, light and mobil increasing. That can mean dry skin, bloating, constipation, scattered thoughts, mood swings, sleeplessness, lots of movement in your body and mind and also naturally cold feet & hands. So, we would love to know how to balance that all, wouldn’t we?
One of ayurveda’s main ideas is that like increases like and so opposite decreases the unfavoured quality. One of the most effective ways to balance your vata dosha is to eat according to the season. This means avoiding cold, dry and light foods and instead eating warm, moist and heavy & grounding foods like roots in the oven, baked apples, soups and stews of roots and pumpkins, sautéed greens. So, it also means enjoying our harvest! Beets all yellow and red etc. are excellent baked in the oven, also parsnip is one of my all time favorites baked. There is the abundance of apples in the northern hemisphere at the moment. Also winter pumpkins and greens like mangolds, kale and green beans are here for us to enjoy. The last are good especially for pitta and kapha types, but go well sautéed with oil for vata types as well. Sweet fruits and dates are also perfect for their sweet taste and moist quality. Tastewise focus on eating naturally sour, salty and sweet tastes, since that will balance the bitter and astringent tastes that vata dosha is naturally consisted of. Avoid raw foods and reduce the amount of salads during this cold season.
Hydration is essential for this dry season, so you can sip sweet herbal teas throughout the day. Avoid cold drinks. Also starting your day with chai feels wonderful! I have a strong vata dosha myself and chai really feels a perfect drink to start my day in this season. I make it sweet and rich with a kick -a hint of black pepper and plenty of fresh ginger- with cinnamon, cardamom and clove. It has also proved to be a great way to prevent winter diseases.
Abhyanga or massaging yourself with oil is a very calming practice and your dry skin will thank you. Warm sesame oil is the best for vatas. This practice is so sweet way to love yourself: give yourself the total attention you deserve. Check my blog post ”Helli itseäsi öljyhieronnalla” for tips for the sesame oil massage. That one is in Finnish.
Fall is also a perfect time for a simple cleanse with Kitchari or otherwise simple warm foods. Reduce excess activity and mental stimulation. Giving a break from social medias or at least avoiding the screens a few hours before going to sleep might be the best idea.
A wonderful way to balance your mobil and light vata dosha is to establish a daily routine. Cannot stress this enough* It might sound like craziness if you consider yourself an active evening person and for whom waking up early in the morning is the greatest punishment of all. But… I use to be a total lover of evenings and lingerer of mornings, but yes! It has changed. One of the reasons that changed: we started meditating together in the morning with my husband. Instead of sleepy conversations in the evenings that used to end to nothing since he falls asleep early we now have quiet mornings together.
Fall practice is best when grounding, warming and strengthening without exhausting you. Take long walks in nature and make time for quiet and still moments, especially in the mornings and evenings.
If all this seems too much, no worries. Just start with one of the tips and if/when that feels good and becomes part of you life, you can add another. Let’s enjoy this colorful season!