In Ayurveda, autumn is the season of Vata. Composed of air and space, Vata is dry, light, cold, rough, subtle and mobile. It's easily seen and felt in the cold and dry wind. Vata is creative, enthusiastic, adaptable and intuitive. But Vata qualities can also show up as cracking or popping joints, dry and chapped skin, insomnia, anxiousness, overwhelm, a scattered mind and even fear.
To balance excess Vata, embrace self-care
- Slow down. Instead of rushing through your day, relish every moment.
- Avoid excess at work and at play.
- Learn to say no. A great question to ask yourself before adding to your "to do" list: "Does this make me expand or contract?". Respect your intuition by saying no to anything that causes mental, emotional or physical contraction.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Take a nap.
- Eat simple meals in a peaceful environment. Check out my tips in The Sacred Art of Eating.
- Meditate or journal. Click here for free meditation resources.
- Get a gentle massage.
- Avoid violent movies and news.
- Take a slow-moving or restorative yoga class instead of a quick-paced vinyasa class. If the idea of fitting a yoga class into your schedule causes you anxiety, take a free yoga class on-line when it best fits into your schedule. Check out this vata-pacifying yoga class or click here for additional free on-line yoga classes.
- Try Qi Gong.
- Avoid or reduce caffeine (especially after noon). This includes chocolate, soft drinks, black tea (choose a chai made with rooibos instead of black tea), and even some fancy waters and protein bars.
- As long as it's not too cold, walk barefoot on the earth or grass to feel more grounded. Click here for pros and cons on earthing.
Establish and stick to a routine.
- Make a weekly meal plan, or at least prep meals the night before (crockpots rule!). Print out these Weekly Meal Planner sheets.
- Don't skip meals.
- Eat at regular times.
- Make every meal a sacred art. Check out my tips in The Sacred Art of Eating.
- Establish a nurturing evening routine and bed time. Read an inspirational book, journal, take a warm bath, gaze at the stars, give yourself a warm oil massage (see below). Make sure to turn off technology 2 hours before bed.
- Give yourself a warm oil massage. See an Abhyanga article and video, or click here for head and foot massage instructions.
- Avoid cold and dry foods; instead favor warm, moist and cooked foods. Sweet, salty and sour foods will help excess Vata energy. Click here for more information on a Vata-pacifying foods, and check out the recipes below.
- Don't go outside without your layers. Grab your hat, scarf and fuzzy socks.
- Sip herbal tea or warm water with lemon throughout the day.
- Take a warm Epsom Salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil, or another calming oil like chamomile or geranium.
Nourish yourself with warm and grounding food.
- Vata-Balancing Oatmeal
- Egg-Avocado Bake
- Low-Carb Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes
- Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash
- Herb Baked Salmon
- Basic Crockpot Chicken & Veggies, Bone Broth
- Crockpot Seasoned Whole Chicken
- Homemade Ghee
- Turmeric Milk Latte
- Ojas-building Hot Milk
Click here for a list of Vata pacifying foods & spices.