Changing our Practice to deal with Autumn: In Ayurveda (Indian system of health & wellbeing) this is The Vata Season.

According to Ayurveda, the world is made up of three primary doshas (Vata, Kapha & Pitta), or energies and so are we! Each person’s make up has a dosha that predominates in them as does each season (in Ayurveda the key is to find out what you are).

Vata – is air – and is the predominant dosha during Autumn (with Kapha as well at this time). The winds are coming, it will be getting colder and drier. Vata governs movement and circulation. Cool, dry and light, Vata people are most susceptible to aggravation during Autumn when nature acts this way too.

Too much vata is drying hence the body’s mobility is affected – e.g. joint pain, insomnia or a feeling of unease/ungrounded-ness. When Vata is balanced we have a positive energy that inspires creativity, intellect and activity, in excess and it can turn into fear, anxiety and irritability.

Have you’ve found yourself feeling more nervous, anxious, or have difficulty focusing? Are your bones and joints feeling achy? What about dry or irritated skin, or even ringing in the ears? These are just a few symptoms that signal you might have a little “Vata” imbalance. This is where a some self-care, proper diet and the right yoga practice can help balance you from the change of Autumn.

OK so what can we do?

Best thing is to make contact with an Ayurvedic practitioner or at least find a yoga teacher who understands Ayurveda. Try some of thes pointers: to pacify Vata during Autumn, focus on the opposite – and therefore balancing – qualities of earth, fire, and water.

Get Grounded. Autumn is a time to slow down. Reduce your commitments, keep only what is necessary for your wellbeing on your calendar. Get more rest by eating an earlier evening meal and commit to a regular bedtime. Develop an Autumn rhythm and stick to a ritual routine. Be it exercise, nutrition or self-care, vata is pacified by steadiness and consistency.

With less warmth from the sun, minimize your loss of internal heat. Dress warmly, take care to cover the neck and ears, lower back, hands and feet when it’s windy. Favour warm, cooked foods over raw. Stop drinking cold drinks and drink room temperature or hot beverages instead. Cook with heating spices like cumin, ginger, and fennel to maintain a steady digestive fire and diffuse warm, earthy scents like geranium, patchouli and rose.

Massage vata-pacifying sesame oil into your body before showering. As you lubricate the joints and muscles, use gentle pressure with the hands and fingers to perform self-massage (abhyanga, which grounds upward-moving energy to stabilize vata).

Minimize over-stimulating the eyes. Practice more regenerative Yoga in Autumn.

Ayurveda prescribes a gradual shift from cooling breath and postural practices that pacify pitta to those that heat internally to strengthen the fire element in preparation for the colder climate ahead. Vata also benefits from postures that keep us close to the ground, particularly those that draw energy from the upper centers of the body including the head, throat and heart, into the lower centers of the belly, sacrum and hips.

Jessica Livingstone