Stay grounded in autumn and early winter

With these Ayurvedic tips you will not be blown away by those disturbing (Vata) winds

Ayurveda uses the Doshas (or better the qualities or “gunas” that go with a particular Dosha) to explain everything inside and around us. It is for this reason that the Doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) also exist in nature. For example in the seasons. Dividing the year in periods of time in which a certain Dosha is prevalent is very well known in Ayurveda. Flowing with the seasons is highly recommended to stay in balance. Meaning that even if your birth constitution differs it is something we all should take into account at that period of time.

Autumn and early winter are considered to be Vata season. Here is why:

The qualities of Vata Dosha are: dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile & clear. Those qualities are also predominant in nature during autumn and late winter. Think about those drying mobile winds, lowering of temperature, the roughness of the season in terms of unexpected quick changes, drying leaves falling from the trees and the emptiness of the forest.

Those qualities also start to express in our bodies. Dryness for example starts to express itself in our skin, nails, hair, eyes & lips. Some of us will even experience dry creaky joints or dryness in the colon resulting in hard stools or constipation. We can even become “dry” emotionally in this season. Besides, the light quality of Vata Dosha is also dominant in this time of the year and manifests in the feeling of being ungrounded which may for some of us even lead to anxiety. Most of us will also get cold hands and feet. Cold muscles and joints which creates stiffness. The mobility may start to express itself in excess by feeling nervous and give rise to a body of worries. While at the same time we can start to feel unfocused or empty in autumn and early winter which is related to the spatial nature of Vata Dosha.

Dryness, coldness and the feeling of being ungrounded are quite common in this time of the year

Do you recognise some of these symptoms yourself? Then following a Vata balancing routine for a couple of weeks – until you find your balance again – may help you to stay grounded.

The best way to do this is to bring in the opposite qualities (like heaviness, oiliness and warmth). Here are some healthy habits to incorporate in your lifestyle during this time of the year:

  • Daily routine: bring routine and structure into your day and stick with it for a while (even on weekends). This means that you should rise at the same time, do your yoga practice or other exercise at the same time, bring routine in your daily tasks, eat at the same time, etc.

  • Take enough rest. Best is to go to bed early (around 21.30/22.00 p.m.).

  • Make sure you stay and feel warm. Put on warm clothes in warm fabrics such as wool. Wear more layers on top of each other. Wear wool scarfs and hats. Pay extra attention to keep your lower back and belly (the seat of Vata Dosha) warm. Using a hot water jar during night really works.

  • Listen to soothing and calming music and mantras.

  • Spoil yourself with a day at the spa. Especially the steamer and infrared cabine are good. Top it off with an relaxation massage with lots of oil.

  • Slow down everything. Slow movements (walk slow), talk less and eat slower.

  • Practice yielding and nourishing restorative- and yin yoga.

  • Wear warm earthy colors such as red, orange and ocher yellow.

  • Start your day with a short meditation. 10 minutes each day will already do a lot for your state of mind. See “train your mind for a healthier and happier life” for some guidance.

  • Bring creamy products into your diet. Ghee (clarified butter): to cook, to put in your morning oatmeal & in your warm milk and drink lots of milky creamy drinks (almond milk, full fat cow’s milk & golden milk).

  • Reduce anything that is stimulating such as drinking coffee, black tea, watching exciting netflix series and reduce time on social media.

  • Stop multitasking: eating and reading are two different activities.

  • Oil yourself: give yourself a daily oil massage with warm nourishing and grounding sesame oil. Best is to do it daily, but when there is not enough time do it at least 4-5 times a week. Here is how you do it.

  • Put lavender oil drops on your chest (during the day) and on your cushion (during the night).

Slow down and stick with daily routine

Foods to balance Vata

Everything that is creamy (almond- & cow’s milk) or comes from the ground (root vegetables) is good for Vata Dosha. Natural sweet foods (like dates, nuts, basmati rice and oats) are also a wise choice. Focus on eating warm foods and warm drinks.

Here are some wise food choices for Vata Dosha:

Fruits: dates, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, grapefruit, mango, banana & peach.
Avoid dried fruits (figs and raisins), melons, cranberries and raw apples.

Vegetables: beets, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, avocado, cooked onions, green beans
Avoid: cabbage, lettuce, broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Grains: oats, quinoa, brown rice, basmati rice, (good quality) wheat & couscous.
Avoid: granola, barley & corn.

Like always, we should keep in mind that we are all different and unique. Best is to experiment with it and take out the things that really work for you.

Enjoy the season!