Guest post by Trudy & Leah of Sacred Paths Yoga
Ayurveda works with the three constitutions or doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. Did you know that the doshas not only make up our being but they are responsible for the cyclical, seasonal rhythms of nature?
We are currently diving deeply into the fall season. In Ayurveda, fall & winter are considered Vata Season. At this time of year, the elements Air & Ether, which create Vata dosha, become the strongest. In principle, Air & Ether are inherently cold, dry, mobile & light. We experience these qualities during this time of the year in nature.
Picture the leaves falling in the wind, autumnal yellows, oranges & reds momentarily painting the crisp blue sky then settling onto the earth below. Imagine the wind in your hair, blowing across your face & brushing up against your skin. Now, fast forward a month or so to winter. Imagine that same wind, but now instead of leaves falling gracefully from the trees, the trees are left stripped down to a skeleton compared to their abundant fall selves. Likewise, that gentle wind in your hair, that brushed up gently against your cheeks has become harsh, cold & severe.
I paint this image so you can recognize that the elements of Air & Ether have the ability to create incredible beauty, but when in excess (as they accumulate to in the winter months) can create depletion & severe conditions. Our bodies, if out of balance in Vata, will mimic the qualities of the natural world. Excessive dryness in the skin & digestive tract (think constipation, gas & bloating), anxiety &/or difficulty falling asleep may occur.
Ayurveda believes we must counterbalance what is being agitated in nature. Thus, in the fall & winter, cold, dry, mobile, light qualities are the strongest; thus, we must work to warm, moisturize, ground & stabilize our bodies daily. Thankfully, Ayurveda has equipped us with simple tips & daily practices to keep us healthy & balanced. Here are a few of our particular favorites:
1. Create a Daily Routine
This may be the number one support in balancing Vata dosha. When you have a regular daily routine: waking up & going to bed at the same time, eating around the same time, exercising at the same time, etc., your body feels, for lack of a better term, safe. It knows that it is time to use the restroom, it is time to go to bed, you are taking the guessing game out of the equation & the body is able to operate efficiently. Another plus? With a regular routine comes organization & usually healthier habits.
2. Eat Warm, Unctuous Seasonal Food
We know, we know. You’ve heard it before: eat seasonally, eat locally. It’s kind of become a hip thing to do but this idea is rooted in the philosophy of Ayurveda. This fall, eat root vegetables, like squashes or sweet potatoes, that are spiced with warming herbs, like nutmeg and cinnamon, and cook them in ghee or coconut oil if you are vegan. Avoid cold, dry foods like salads. These will only increase the qualities of coldness & dryness within the body; remember, we are trying to counterbalance them.
When you oil & moisturize the body each morning, you are performing a self-abhyanga. This practice keeps the skin healthy, strong & moisturized. We are absolutely obsessed with our Vata Body Oil. It is crafted with Vata reducing herbs like Ashwagandha & Shatavari that will keep the skin healthy & the immune system strong. It is a perfect addition to your morning routine!
We hope these ancient tips will help you juggle the various challenges that can arise this harvest season. Sending you love, warmth & joy!
Join Trudy and Leah on retreat at Villa Sumaya from March 31 to April 7. Learn more!