Ayurvedic Seasonal Guide: Vata Season – Fall & Winter
Living in tune with the Seasons
Fall and Winter bring about a movement of change: back to school, new routines, holidays and gatherings. It can be a very mobile time with travel, buying gifts, seeing family and friends during a time that’s already defined with the elements of Air and Ether combined. This time of the year is recognized in Ayurveda as Vata season.
Two guiding principles of Ayurveda are ‘like increases like’, and ‘opposites create balance’. Fall and Winter is inviting us to slow down, relax, pause, and rest, but what can happen is a build-up of stress through travel, social events and being cold. When the qualities of the season are mobile, cold, rough, and dry, we want to hone in on more heavy, oily, and soft qualities in our foods and activities.
Vata Personality traits
Vata as a dosha is a combination of Ether and Air. The qualities are cold, mobile, rough, and dry. Vatas are the creatives. They get inspiration regularly and are designed to move with the wind and go with the flow of their impulses.
They have flexible muscles and have an open mind. They make others around them excited to try something new and travel to interesting places, whether it’s another country or a new coffee shop. They don’t like to stay in one place very long and can get quite restless.
Vatas may change their minds and forget their keys, leave their sunglasses at a restaurant, and forget what they were doing “here…”
Honor your nature of the wind and honor your creativity. You’re here to inspire us and offer us new ways of thinking and to not take ourselves so seriously. Thank you for inviting more play and don’t doubt yourself. Society may want you to act a certain way but you don’t need to go against your nature. Trust yourself.
Practices to balance Vata
Ayurveda teaches us that switching up the foods in your diet during the seasonal transitions is essential to living well. During the fall and winter, your body should naturally crave warmer and heavier foods such as sweet potato, winter squashes, oats, bananas, dates, and carrots. Notice what’s growing in your community by supporting your local CSA or community garden. Focus on incorporating Sweet, Sour and Salty foods into your diet. Think root vegetables, miso, dairy and wheat (if they are part of your diet), eggs, and molasses.
Spices and foods like cinnamon, ginger, mustard seeds, nutmeg, rosemary and hing are Vata balancing powerhouses. We love to use our vanilla maple chai ghee in our meals. It offers a lovely sweetness to add to oatmeal, sweet potato, and squash – we enjoy a teaspoon in our coffee or tea too! It’s recommended to use a generous amount of ghee during the Vata season as we are tending toward dryness. Heat your spices in ghee to enhance their properties before adding to your meals.
When it comes to movement, stay warm and slow down. Allow yourself the radical practice of rest. Saying no, laying on the couch, restorative yoga and eliminating electronics before bed and first thing in the morning can be helpful.
What are some of your go-to practices for Fall/Winter? Let us know in the comments!