Welcome Autumn decor, pumpkin foods & drinks, cuddling up indoors, taking it easy & transitioning into another seasonal shift. That means we are also entering the Vata time of year (Autumn to early Winter). This is when Vata begins to accumulate & grow in excess if not managed. We are losing the warmth of firey Summer & are greeted by Air & Ether. There seems to be more spaciousness through this transition. The way to keep Vata in check is to invite the opposite qualities into your life now:warmth, grounding, stability, routines, warm/cooked foods, rest, heartfelt support, increasing immunity, moisturizing & hydrating the body.
As we transition into Autumn, you may notice a shift within you. Maybe your focus is redirected, perhaps you desire less socialization & even have different food cravings all of a sudden. These are signs that you are actually in alignment with the changing of the times.Your body’s innate wisdom is recognizing that its needs are shifting depending on the season’s qualities. I know that I will definitely start making more kitchari, soups & stews quite soon!
Ah, yummy, delicious nourishment. What are some of your favorite dishes for this time of year? Mine certainly are ramen, kithari, soups in general, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies & of course… pumpkin bread! These foods aren’t all traditionally ayurvedic, but that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t spice them up in accordance to our digestive needs! Truthfully, that makes them ayurvedic enough along with your ayurvedic eating guidelines for healthy digestion. So don’t get too caught up in living a 100% traditionally ayurvedic lifestyle if that is not your intention. If it is, then go for it. But perfection is not conducive to the human experience. We welcome all things seasonal here!
Just tune into your ayurvedic principles & apply them to however you wish to enjoy this time of year. That being said, pumpkin pie spice blend is actually reallllly amazing for Vata, Pitta & Kapha during Vata season. It contains ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg & sometimes allspice. Since these are all heating herbs, just check in with your Pitta before overdoing it. I love how something so mainstream is actually really supportive during this time of year. It only gets cautionary when you see how much sugar is added to specialty pumpkin spice flavoreditems in mainstream places. So have some fun in the kitchen by finding some healthy recipes for the season or choose to eat at healthier options for your dining experience :)
Another amazing spice blend for the season is Garam Masala! If you haven’t had this yet, it might just be the missing piece to your culinary delight. Garam Masala is a traditional Indian spice blend of coriander, green & brown cardamom, mustard seeds, fennel, cumin, black cumin, bay leaves, fenugreek, caraway, black & white peppercorns, clove, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, pippali (long pepper), & star anise. The spices are toasted until they become aromatic. So I consider this to be the more savory version of a spice mix that I prefer at this time. “Garam” means hot & “Masala” means spices, so essentially this is a heating spice mix. Not spicy, but just heating to the body, which Vata & Kapha really need at this time (Pitta too, if influenced by a Vata imbalance).
Since Vata creates a state of depletion, it is also a time when our immunitymay decrease naturally. With Ayurvedic practices & foods, you can surely build up your immunity and feel stronger during this time. Fire Cideris one of my favorite immune-boosting tools (and you can make it yourself)! It is a vinegar-based extraction of immune tonics & circulatory stimulants to boost our overall vitality during cold & flu season. I love that it is traditionally a folk remedy, meaning that the recipe is not exact & the medicine maker shall tune into their intuition & local ingredients to concoct it.
apple cider vinegar
raw local honey
You combine the ingredients in a jar (except honey) & let it infuse for 1 month in a cool, dark place. Shake the jar every 2-3 days. After a month has passed, strain the ingredients, add the honey & store the liquid. Take a shot of fire cider daily to consistently strengthen your immunity & build ojas.
As always, Abhyanga! Dryness occurs with Vata & it’s the perfect time to lather yourself up in some warmed oil. Choose heavier, warmer oils such as sesame or sweet almond or even a medicated oil based on your intention. This practice can be done daily! It helps to nourish you inside & out while also building a protective energetic layer. How lovely!
Rest is essential. Vata has a tendency to run dry & experience fatigue. Take some extra time to yourself & begin to do less. We don’t have the active sun fueling us as much now & you may feel some extra spaciousness (Air & Ether). Allow this space to be filled with comfort rather than just productivity. We are cyclical beings & we are entering the months in preparation for hibernation (Winter). Spend time doing relaxing activities such as reading, crafting, or writing.
Stay rooted. Grounding through the body is essential to balance Vata. Vata has a tendency to leave the body & get caught up in the mind or the ether. Practice bringing your energy back down into your body with asana. Consistency with a rising or evening yoga flow will surely nourish your soul. Nadi Shodhana, which is alternate nostril pranayama is very balancing for Vata as well. Practice this in the am & pm as part of your routine or whenever you feel the need to ground & come into the presence of your body.
Embrace the seasonal colors! There’s a reason that brown, orange, yellow, gold & red are popular during this time of year - they are pacifying to Vata. Incorporate these colors into your wardrobe and environment to experience sensory pleasure that will help align you to the seasonal shift. Colors like white, blue & pastels are increasing to Vata & should be avoided. These colors are popular in the hot months as they are cooling & pacifying to Pitta.
Stay warm. Vata gets thrown off balance with the cold weather & wind. Get excited to switch up your wardrobe from summer attire to autumn clothes. Keeping the body warm from the colder elements will help you stay in balance & feel better. Make sure to keep the ears covered & warm in the cold & especially protected from the wind element. Vata accumulates in the ears & can pass through this channel to affect the body & mind. Take warm baths, drink warm liquids, eat warm foods & spend a lot of time cuddling up to loved ones & pets. Enjoy the seasonal shift!