In March, autumn hit the southern hemisphere: the weather started to cool down, the colors of the trees started to change and there is this certain crispness in the air.
When the weather starts to deteriorate, the body struggles to protect itself and stay balanced.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, autumn is the season of transformation; but also of deficiency. The season is governed by the Vata (Air) dosha, which is seen as windy, cold, rough and dry, and thus, being in tune with the environment around us.
This can be felt in body and mind: as the leaves on the trees become dry and brittle, so do our skin and joints; when the weather becomes changeable, so does our mind.
When all is in balance the influence of Vata can make you feel light, carefree, creative, spontaneous and energetic. You might feel very creative and motivated during this season – ready to take on new projects! However, Vata is easily disturbed and governs the nervous system. So when it gets out of balance you may feel spacey, unstable, anxious, fearsome, experience insomnia, constipation, dry skin and even stiff and painful joints.
Seasons change, and so should we.
To tune in with the outside change, you may want to adapt your diet to keep Vata in balance. By connecting with the natural laws of the season, we can create a sense of balance in our mind and body. It’s also important to ensure building a strong natural immunity, nourish deficient tissues and thicken the skin to prepare and insulate for the cold winter months.
How to keep your body and mind in balance during Vata season:
During Vata season you want to eat warm, cooked foods to counterbalance Vata’s dry, cold and rough qualities. Warm foods combined with good quality oil like ghee ground and calm the restless Vata. Avoid summer foods, like sandwiches, salads, dry cereals and cold milk. Usually, the body intuitively gravitates to earthier, warmer, richer foods during this season.
Favor sweet, sour and salty tastes.
Consume warm drinks such as spiced milk, Vata tea and ginger tea regularly.
Increase your intake of warming spices such as ginger, basil, cardamon, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard, black pepper, fennel, and asafetida.
To prepare the body for winter and to counteract the drying nature of autumn, eat rich, moisturizing foods, such as good quality dairy (un-homogenized and organic), oils such as ghee, olive and avocado, and tonic/immune boosting herbs and foods like ashwangandha, almonds and dates.
To combat dry skin, you might want to try self-oil massage. Use warmed black sesame or almond before showering.
A regular routine and plenty of rest is the best way to combat Vata. Wake up, exercise and eat preferably at the same time everyday. This helps to anchor you into the cycles of the day to stay focused and clear.