Summer is over and the heat of summer has now started to dry things out as we enter the next season, autumn. The leaves on the trees start to dry out, turn brown (Vata’s color) and fall to the ground. The temperature starts to drop, becoming colder and windier. All these are Vata qualities and these same Vata qualities can show up in our body and mind, regardless of our constitution.
So even if you are mostly pitta Prakruti (constitution), you still will want to start dressing a little warmer as the weather turns colder and protect your ears as it becomes windier. These Vata qualities can express by our skin and hair becoming dry, our stool becoming harder or constipated, we feel colder, we start to feel a little ungrounded. After all the active outward energy of play-time we do during the summer, we start to feel exhausted in autumn. To keep us grounded and balanced through autumn we can add small rituals to our daily routine. Here are five ways to balance your Vata, followed by some daily routine tips,
1. Favor warm foods, spices, and drinks
Eat warm, moist, and mushy foods such as soups and stews or one-pot meals. Eat warming and grounding vegetables such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Eat soft foods such as soft cottage cheese or soft fresh goat cheese. Eat some fermented foods. Use warming and moist spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, fennel, fresh ginger. Take nourishing, building, and grounding herbs such as spirulina and ashwagandha. Also, eat sweet foods such as dates and honey.
Avoid stimulating foods and drinks such as pure dark chocolate, coffee, black tea, and other caffeïne rich foods and drinks. These stimulate the nervous system, which is Vata’s system. Instead, drink calming drinks such as camomille tea, lavender tea, fresh ginger tea. Drink only warm drinks, hot water, fresh ginger tea, hot (nut) milk.
2. Warm sesame oil massage & hot showers
Do daily warm sesame oil massage before showering. Take hot baths, showers, or steam baths.
3. Go to bed early & wake up early
Go to bed early, around 21:30 or 22:00. Read spiritual books at bedtime to increase the feeling of safety, faith, and a sense of purpose in this world. When possible, wake up before the sun rises and sit in the morning sun for 10 minutes a day.
4. Wear warm clothes & colors
Wear warm clothes, made out of heavier fabrics such as wool. Wear rich and warm colors, reds, yellows, oranges. Wear and burn warming, grounding, sweet perfume oils such as lavender. Stay warm, wear a hat and a scarf to protect the ears, heat, and throat.
5. Do everything slower & do nothing
Move slower, talk slower, eat slower and do one thing at a time, avoid multitasking. Practice slow Nadi Shodhana pranayama and slow warming yoga asanas which are grounding and strengthening in a warm room. Restorative yoga, Shavasana, and Yoga Nidra are recommended. Also make time for you to simply do nothing, lying on the couch. Don’t feel guilty about doing anything.