Well beloved, as much as we might want it to be summer forever, it is surely fall.
I am not sure what this means to people who live in warmer climates like Florida, but in Canada (and other such northerly places) this means it is a bit windier than usual. It’s a bit too cool to wear sandals and it’s starting to get dark for a longer period of the day.
In Ayurveda-speak, the wind and cold aggravate vata dosha and the dark makes kapha dosha want to hide in a cave. Right now we are in transition from the active pitta energy of summer to the heavy, slow energy of kapha, which will arrive in spring.
What does this translate to in the physical world?
This means you might feel flighty, forgetful and restless.
At the same time, your energy dips at random times and you feel like there is not enough sugar on the planet to satisfy your sweet tooth and not enough chips to indulge your inner couch potato.
If any of this is resonating then you are likely vata imbalanced and kapha will not be far behind in swaying out of balance. I’ll explain.
In the science of Ayurveda, each of us is composed of three principles called ‘doshas’. Doshas are made up of combinations of the 5 elements. Vata dosha is composed of air and ether. It controls all forms of movement in the body and mind. Vata dosha is prominent in the dry, cool season of fall. Think ‘wind’.
During vata season you are likely to notice vata type conditions like dryness, constipation, restlessness, dry skin, anxiety, forgetfulness and fear. Vata dosha is the first dosha to go out of balance so it’s important to know how to keep it happy. Pitta dosha is predominant in summer and is the principle of fire. Pitta conditions include skin rash, burning sensations, anger and irritability.
Kapha dosha is predominant in spring. Kapha is the structure and mass of the body as well as the body’s lubrication. Kapha conditions include cold, congestion, lethargy, weight gain.
So flighty forgetful and restless, what can you do?
You need to do a few things to reign in the magnificent movement of vata so that you harness it and bring forth a lot of creativity and movement. When you learn to balance vata, you can use it to keep kapha from belting into the sofa under a family size bag of nachos.
If we balance vata now, we can use that energy to keep kapha inspired and looking inward and encouraged to self nurturing and deep inner growth.
So, lets look at a few ways to soothe the wind (vata dosha).
First things first, the very nature of wind is that it is erratic so you need to create order.
Wake up at the same time each day, eat at the same time each day and eat in moderation. The thing with vata is that you may not feel hungry all day and then blame, you are hit by crazy hunger at midnight and eat enough food to supply a family for a week. This throws off your digestion and schedule. You may also feel kind of guilty and depressed and promise yourself to do better tomorrow without in-sighting a plan.
Try to eat a breakfast that is higher in protein than sugar. I have found vegetables really helps me kick sugar cravings. Eat a salad for breakfast in the summer or have steamed vegetables. Eggs are also another good option for non-vegan folks. Soup or oatmeal with nuts and seeds could replace cereal or smoothies.
Eat a balanced lunch around noon, a snack mid-afternoon and a nice, sit-down, mindful evening meal.
The thing with high Vata energy is we want to eat on the run and then our emotions are not satisfied and we will fall into the trap of emotional eating. So be sure to actually sit down and connect with your food and savor it to keep Vata in balance.
Nourish Yourself With Moisture
Vata is characterized by bring dry, so, we need to provide moisture to the skin, body and mind. Soft foods are better for vata than rough and raw foods. Soups, stews, purees are also great. Nourish the body with moist foods and you will feel slower and more in balance.
One of the main things to bring vata dryness in check is a nice fragrant oil that you can apply all over, from head to toe. To create this oil use sesame or olive as your base. These oils are very similar to the oils the body produces itself and are warm and deeply nourishing. Avoid cold oils like coconut if you live in a cool climate. Add a few drops of warm essential oils: cinnamon, ylang ylang, clove and patchouli are some of my favorite warm, grounding oils and add them to the carrier. Take caution with dosage, some oils may be too warming (almost hot) for the skin.
You can put your oil blend in a purse sized bottle and use it to moisturize as needed. You can add it to your bath and surround yourself with candles and rose petals and calming music! Rub it in head to toe and bask in the sun of your warmest window. All of these moisturizing tips will really help ground vata and help prevent typical vata aches and pains.
Soften All The Edges
To help prevent irritation, find softness.
- Listen to music that is soothing.
- Use soft blankets and fabrics to wear.
- Take a deeply relaxing yin or restorative yoga class.
- Be kind to yourself, dig out that gratitude journal, read a positive affirmation in the morning, do things that help you feel centred and pampered.
- Make sure to build time into each day to slow down and relax.
If you follow all of these simple tips, you will find that your energy is more constant and you have fewer mood swings. You’ll find you can actually hold a train of thought long enough to get your to do list done with enough time at the end of the day to deeply savour life.