Come October, change is in the air. Leaves turn color and fall. The air feels cool — and dry. Inside your body, Vata dosha, the dosha of the season, tends to increase, often commanding Pitta and Kapha doshas to play second, and third, fiddle. This is how it is likely to be till February, when the season both outside and within you will change once again.
When Vata dosha takes over for these few months, its restless, sweeping quality can throw your physiology — and psychology — completely out of balance. Constipation, dry skin, irregular appetite, lack of sleep, stress, fatigue — an out-of-sync Vata can cause all of these problems and more.
But in nature's scheme of things, the Vata environment outside is supposed to synchronize perfectly smoothly with changes within our bodies and minds. If, that is, we stay in tune with some simple rhythms of nature.
It's really quite logical. Fall, being the onset of dry and cold days and nights, needs to be offset by a diet, routine and temperatures that are warming, unctuous and nourishing. That's how all three doshas work: if you have a Pitta imbalance, you try to cool down. If your Kapha shows signs of aggravation, detoxify. And if it's Vata that has increased, well, there's a healing tip to soften every aspect of this volatile dosha.
The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians offers you a whole bouquet of such healing tips. To begin with, they say that the keyword in Vata-management is "regularity." Being a mobile dosha, Vata is always in need of stability, especially in these months when it becomes aggressive.
Therefore it is time to pay attention in fall and winter to the basics of your daily routine.
7 Ways to Please Vata This Fall
- First and foremost, regulate your mealtimes. Have lunch at noon, and dinner early in the evening. Don't skip or neglect breakfast. This simple re-scheduling will regulate your metabolic activity, setting hunger cycles in order, generating healthy agni (digestive fire), and making sure that no toxins accumulate in your system.
- Next, start turning in early — ideally by 10:00 p.m. Make this a habit, regardless of the hours you have been keeping hitherto. Of course, you'll need to make adjustments in work and entertainment patterns — this might mean not watching your favorite late night show or winding up office work earlier in the evening. But, emphasizes The Council, all these sacrifices or changes that you make will reward you handsomely in terms of balanced Vata and glowing health
- Now that your sleeping and waking hours, as also your daily routine, are in coordination, it is important to pay attention to the kind of diet you are taking. Vata dosha imbalance needs to be corrected with plenty of moisture and lipids — and this can be done by taking in unctuous food cooked using healthy oils. Especially if you already have a Vata imbalance, then this is the season for you to avoid drying foods like popcorn and steamed veggies without a trace of fat.
- Another aspect of diet care: make sure you get lots of warm, freshly-cooked food. Eating leftovers, raw foods, or processed and canned foods will disturb Vata. Remind yourself that the cold and dry properties of Vata are already plentiful in your system right now. So you really need to give yourself some warmth. And then you cannot deny that the pleasure of a cup of hot tea on a chilly October evening is unrivaled. With Organic Vata Tea, the ingredients of which are custom-blended to please Vata dosha, you get warmth plus seasonal balance. What could be better? Therefore, time to say "No" to that cold sandwich and that dry cereal. Fall foods should include hot soups, freshly-cooked and lightly-spiced mung dhal, a warm stewed apple taken in the morning, cream of wheat cereal, and warm milk. Cooking fresh and warm might sound like a tall order for those of us who are barely able to afford any kind of time for lunching or dining. But with a little help from Maharishi Ayurveda's flavorful churnas — especially Organic Vata Churna — cooking fresh can be a breeze. Just sauté some veggies in a little ghee and the churna, and minutes later you're ready to eat. More ideas: get wholesome nutrition with whole wheat bread or chapati. Snack on dates or fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless, and their health benefits should be ample motivation for you to think about them every morning. And yes, before you go to bed, a warm cup of milk with a bit of ginger and a touch of honey will do you a world of good.
- Still don't feel you can chalk out a balanced diet plan based on Vata-balancing principles? Consult a vaidya, who will help you decide what foods work for you. The advantage in this is that a vaidya will also be able to assess if you need to balance another dosha during this time.
- Anything you do to nurture your skin during this season is going to pay you rich dividends. Because Vata is drying, skin neglected in this season tends to wrinkle and age faster. Give your body a daily massage with Maharishi Ayurveda's Moisturizing Massage Oil or the Youthful Skin Massage Oil, and support facial skin with lipids — the Youthful Skin Cream with its rich body of healing herbs, and the Youthful Skin Oil are just the formulas you need to nourish and pamper your skin in fall and winter.
- Vata disturbance in fall can cause restlessness, anxiety and day-to-day mental stress to increase. It's a situation you'll find already greatly relieved by following the above diet and sleep tips. But in addition, if you make time to do light yoga exercises and meditation, you'll double the benefits. Also, this is a good time to introduce regularity in your work rhythms, too. This means taking regular breaks, not overstretching yourself over a problem, supplying yourself with plenty of water and healing warm drinks through the day, and practicing deep, relaxed breathing at regular intervals.
Initially, these can seem like big goals to chase — but in adopting these new rhythms, you'll discover a new, beautiful paradox: you'll find that shedding some of your old routines in favor of new ones might initially disrupt your set schedule. But soon, they will establish an inner harmony that will prove invaluable in healing your Vata dosha. Then, whatever the season, you'll be a picture of calm, health, and joy.
And that is a truly inspiring goal to chase!
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.