Falling back into routine: Pacifying Vata Dosha
Fall is a time of transition. It is evident everywhere around you. Many trees and shrubs are quietly undressing in preparation for the winter. There is a subtle browning of the earth. Temperatures, which, just a few weeks ago were raging with the intense heat of summer, are beginning to hint at the telltale crispness of autumn. And there is the wind: slowly gathering strength, carrying the tides of winter on its breath. The autumn harbours a certain emptiness that can leave us feeling exposed and a little raw, but it is also filled with possibility-a time when we, too, can strip down to a quiet essence of being and savour the simplicity.
Ayurveda considers a seasonal routine an important cornerstone of health, year around. Balancing the nature of your local climate with lifestyle choices that offset the potential for seasonally-induced imbalances is one of the simplest ways that you can protect your well-being. Therefore it is more important than ever to create a ritual that will benefit your mind, body and spirit health! Waking up and going to bed at the same times everyday and eating a full nutritious meal at lunch time will support your Agni (fire of digestion), practicing the same Asana or yoga postures become more important in your healing journey as ever! This is mainly due to the fall being a Vata season, Vata or air element can quickly become out of balance and act like a storm in our bodies if we do not have a set ritual that can support us.
To Support Vata further during this season the following are some important things to keep in mind:
Food and diet
1. In general you want to stick to a warming and unctuous diet filled with good fats such as ghee or coconut oil, spices such as fresh ginger, turmeric, black pepper and cumin. Eat only freshly made warm meals such as soups or stews and stay away from anything dry or rough in quality such as rice cakes or smoothies.
2. Favour sweet tastes fruits that are mainly in season like cooked apples, soaked raisins, bananas, mangoes and dates are ideal. You can even ad d these to your morning oatmeal, a wonderfully delicious Ayurvedic meal.
3- Favour root veggies such as Sweet potatoes, squash, parsnips, beets, carrots and even chillies are wonderful for vata. Roast with a bit of ginger and turmeric and black pepper, add ghee for a nutritious meal.
4- If you might be thinking staying away from gluten is a great healthy idea, think again! As long as you are not born with such allergies your digestive system should and will tolerate such grains if in a healthy state. Stick to whole grains that are not as processed like wheat, basmati rice, brown rice, barley or quinoa but also understand that how you cook these grains has every thing to do with how you digest them, cook for a long time and add ghee and spices mentioned above and the entire Guna or quality of the grain changes!
5- When it comes to legumes, Vata prakruti people or people who are experiencing high vata will probably get bloated or gassy after consumption! But not all legumes are like this. Try Mung Dhal beans as they have a unique quality that takes away gassiness instead of adding to it. Kidney beans if cooked really well could also work.
6- Oils such as Ghee, almond oil and sesame oil are highly effective in reducing Vata. Olive oil can be consumed raw on salads.
7- In general raw foods are not a good idea in the Vata season however you could have a little bit of salad with lots of olive oil at the end of your meal not to upset the Agni. This way your fire of digestion will be strong because you ate your warm meals first and can handle a little cold no problem.
Herbs that support Vata
Taking Chyavanprash in the morning can help to reinforce immunity, strength, and energy during the autumn season. Ashwagandha is stabilizing to the mind and nervous system, and can promote sound sleep, strong digestion, proper elimination, and appropriate strength; it is available as a powder, tablet, and liquid extract. Similarly, herbal teas made from ginger, licorice, or a combination of cumin, coriander, and fennel, can help to promote proper digestion and warmth.
Vata season Yoga
Idealy practicing in Vata time would be super healing for Vata. Vata time is early hours of morning 2-6am or evening 2-6pm. Being in a heated environment like the hot room, not only calms down the nervous system at once but also allows for the bones and tissues to warm up, further allowing Vata Dosha to go to its home which is the colon area. Stick to slower practices such as Moksha/Modo Yoga or Yin and Restorative.
Last but not least, sleep is super important for the body's way of heal itself specially in Vata time of the year. Get 8-9 hours of full sleep and try to be in bed before Kapha time ends (6pm-10pm). The Golden milk recipe can be find on this blog, it is a great end of night soothing drink that can support a healing sleep.