Well, hello, Autumn. This year we've been blessed with mild weather into November, but slowly, the days are getting colder and shorter. With the wind and the cold comes an increase in the Vata dosha. The Vata dosha has some of the same qualities as Fall and Winter: cold, dry, windy and light.
Each person has their own unique mix of doshas (Vata, PItta and Kapha), with one dosha dominating their disposition. Those who have a strong Vata dosha find themselves highly affected by Vata weather, but even those with Pitta or Kapha dispositions can be affected. The Vata seasons can make us feel flighty, imbalanced, easily irritated, stressed, achy, dry, constipated, or depressed.
Ayurvedic practitioners use holistic aids like yoga, herbs, warming foods, and pranayama (breath work) to help soothe the Vata dosha. Below you'll find some of our favorite ways to stay balanced, grounded and calm during the colder months.
If you feel off-kilter during the Fall, try these techniques:
1. Practice grounding yoga. Grounding yoga is yoga that is breath-centered and slow, with a focus on how you connect to the earth. Try our yin class, a restorative yoga series or a Hatha yoga class.
2. Eat nourishing, warming foods. Vata dosha is soothed by soups, dals, and kitchari. Skip the cold, raw salad or smoothie, and settle in with a hot soup or stew.
3. Try self-massage (abhyanga) with sesame oil. Use sesame oil or almond oil to administer a massage before a hot bath. You can easily find the technique on YouTube. Self-massage is nourishing, calming and warming.
4. Stay warm. Hot baths, heated rice packs, heating pads and scarves are your friends in the fall and winter. Protect yourself from draft and chill to stay balanced.
5. Lengthen your exhale. Use breath work and meditation to calm turbulent thoughts and fight insomnia. Try breathing in for two counts, and out for four, working your way up to breathing in for four counts, and out for eight. Focus on the breath as you sit or lie in savasana.