According to Ayurveda, an ancient Indian form of healing, the changing seasons play a heavy role in our lifestyles, daily routines, and diet. To gain all the benefits of living seasonally, we must understand what our current season looks like and consider ways to maintain (or achieve!) balance.
Currently, we’re in the thick of “vata” season which begins in autumn and transitions once spring arrives. At DEFINE foods, we always encourage eating seasonally so we use Ayurvedic inspiration year-round when cultivating new recipes. And because committing to the principles of Ayurveda touches on more than just diet, we want to provide a few lifestyle tips for staying stable, grounded, and balanced throughout the rest of the Vata season.
The Qualities of Vata Season
Autumn is a season of transition. As the trees change colors and the leaves fall away, what’s left are dry, rough, and exposed branches of winter landscapes. In Ayurveda, the Vata dosha (personality/body type) is characterized by similar “fall-like” qualities:
Considering the cool, erratic winds of Autumn as they prepare the earth for the upcoming cold winter, it’s easy to see how this season correlates to the Vata dosha. To offset the cool, dry, and rough qualities of the season, Ayurveda suggests seeking more of the opposite: warming, oily, and soft. As seen in our diets, this is why we often begin gravitating towards soups, stews, and baked goods as the temperatures drop.
Find Your Balance
Knowing how and why our bodies naturally sync up to the changing seasons can make it easier to find balance should we begin feeling ungrounded. During the vata season, the erratic winds, falling leaves, changes in weather (not to mention - holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and party planning!) can leave us feeling less-than-grounded. During this time, it’s especially necessary to intentionally create routines and habits to keep us feeling stable.
Eat Right, Move Less, Relax More
We know by know that eating seasonally will promote a greater sense of balance, but Vata season is a great time to change up your morning beverage, as well. The iced coffee you relied on all summer may be asking to be replaced with a grounding, turmeric latte or comforting cup of tea. Healing herbs and warming spices can affect both mind and body, so enjoying a cup of your favorite blend may help keep you rooted during this time of upheaval and transition.
Vata can be scattered, energetic, and erratic by nature, so exercises to balance those qualities need to be more gentle, slow, and fluid. Options like tai chi, meditation, restorative yoga, walking, or swimming are all good choices, as anything extremely energetic or too intense will only aggravate the already high-energy Vata.
Vata season is literally darker than others as the days become shorter and the nights become longer. This shift in light exposure serves as a reminder that this season promotes the opportunity to go inward. Choosing to stay warm by the fire, finding time to unwind with a book, or taking a luxurious bath are all great suggestions for relaxing more in this time of change. Social calendars, work deadlines, and celebrated holidays can make it feel like we don’t have enough time, so it’s necessary to create the time for ease, stillness, and balance amidst the chaos.
At DEFINE foods we like to focus on whole-body wellness which is why we believe incorporating a few of these tips and ideas may have you feelings recharged, restored, and rejuvenated as the year comes to a close.