Fall is the Season of Vata — 5 Tips to Stay Grounded

Have you been feeling a little ungrounded lately? Are you feeling more forgetful? Is your skin dry and flaking? It could be vata!

In the fall, the air becomes cooler and drier and sometimes windy. These characteristics are similar to the qualities of the ayurveda dosha called “vata”. Vata is referred to as the air or wind dosha, because it is cold, light, dry, rough and mobile, like air. Our bodies assimilate these external environmental influences and it can makes us to feel out of sorts.

To balance out the seasonal influences, ayurveda recommends bringing in opposite qualities. We need more warm, heavy, moist, smooth and stable qualities in our lives at this time of year.

  1. Soups and stews should be your “go to” food during the fall or any time you want to balance vata. There are many great vata meal ideas in The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook and recipes on my blog (i.e., Purple Sweet Potato & Lotus Seed Soup, Sopa de Lima and more). Avoid raw foods and cold drinks or smoothies.
  2. Sipping warm water and caffeine-free tea throughout the day will provide much needed moisture to vata. Be especially mindful of those holiday lattes! The calories, sugar and caffeine will set you up for a crash come January, so let moderation be your guide. As an alternative, I created this Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte Recipe which was featured on Curejoy®. It’s low-sugar and made with Tulsi tea which is naturally caffeine free and a tonic for the nerves.
  3. Daily mediation will help keep stress in check and your mind on point during the deluge of holiday events. Start with 5 minutes every morning. It will set the tone for the day and reaffirm your commitment to mental health. Meditation is food for the mind — you can be generous with the portions.
  4. Keeping to a daily routine, with a set time to rise (6:00am) and sleep (10:00 pm), will help stabilize and ground mobile vata. The body restores itself during sleep, so getting adequate rest is important. By establishing a predictable pattern of wake and sleep times, your body gets into a rhythm that will benefit your mood, memory, concentration, immune system and nervous system.
  5. The best way to balance vata is with an oil massage. Daily self-massage with an Ayurvedic herbal oil is one of the key anti-aging rituals in ayurveda. It stimulates circulation, removes toxins, promotes sound sleep, soothes the nerves and much more. For busy westerners, once a week is perhaps a more realistic massage goal. At a minimum, I try to massage the soles of my feet every night with oil (in the fall and winter); then on Saturday’s when I have more time, I’ll do a full body massage. Choose the right oil for the season and your dosha. I’m a vata constitution and in the fall, I like to use Banyan Botanicals® Vata Massage Oil — it is relaxing, grounding and warming. If that sounds like what you need, give it a try! Otherwise, consult your Ayurvedic practitioner for a specific oil that is right for you (based on your dosha, the season and any imbalance you may be experiencing).

Lois Leonhardi is a certified ayurveda wellness practitioner, educator and author of “The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook”. She trained under Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico and in Pune, India. She has over 20 years of training in holistic studies (ayurveda, yoga and Buddhism). Lighthearted and compassionate, she listens to your concerns and creates realistic personalized programs to help you de-stress, detox and restore balance naturally. Sharing the wisdom of the mind-body connection and how to use food as medicine she reveals the secrets of how to slow the aging process, increase energy and bolster immunity giving you the tools to heal yourself, feel better and look great.

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