Written by Rebecca Velasquez
Ayurveda is approximately a 5,000 year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in India. Both Tibetan and traditional Chinese medicine have their roots in Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the science of life (Ayur meaning life, and Veda meaning science or knowledge). Ayurveda offers guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and appropriate uses of our senses. Ayurveda constantly reminds us that heath is the balanced integration between our environment, body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer life, known as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth). These three forces are responsible for the characteristics of our body and mind. Each person has a unique proportion of these forces, known as doshas, yet most people have one or two elements (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) that predominate. For example, when Vata is balanaced a person is lively and energetic, and even clairvoyant. Yet, when there is too much movement (Vata) in the system a person can experience symptoms of anxiety, dry skin, constipation, insomnia or distractibility. When Pitta is balanced, a person is warm, friendly or disciplined. Yet, when Pitta is out of balance, an individual can experience bouts of anger, irritability, indigestion or inflammation in the body. When Kapha is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is kind, supportive and stable. When Kapha is out of balance, a person may experience depression, sluggishness, sinus issues or congestion. mr
Additionally, these three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – govern not only our own constitution, but also seasons and everything else in the cosmos. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the Vata season is from late fall into early winter; Kapha season is from the coldest part of winter into spring; and Pitta season includes late spring into early fall. Understanding the qualities of each season can enable you to diminish any adverse health effects you may be experiencing.
Keeping in mind that we are now in Autumn, which is the Vata season from an Ayurvedic perspective. Hence, individuals whose constitution is predominately Vata may notice an increase in anxiety, fear, spacey or scattered feelings, loneliness, aggravation, nervousness, restlessness, or excessive dryness, to name a few. An excess of Vata is essentially an excess of wind/air in the body. Here are some tips that can help balance out the Vata dosha during late Fall to early winter:
- Perform 5-10 min. daily abyanga (self-massage) in the morning with sesame oil which helps the lymphatic system, nervous system and circulatory system and more.
- Steer toward foods that are warm and that are sweet, sour and salty in taste.
- Create routine times for your meals
- Eat your meal in a peaceful environment.
- Integrate warming spices in your diet, such as: cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and cumin.
- Drink warm or room temperature fluids.
- Include a generous amount of high quality oils, as well as ghee in your diet.
- A gentle exercise routine that includes walking, gentle yoga, Tai qu (tai chi), qi gong (chi gong) or swimming (but stay warm).