Vata dosha is very light, airy, and cold by nature. So is the Fall with its cooling temperatures and chilly winds. Since we are all part of nature, we are influenced by all the seasonal changes almost as much as the trees. As the leaves dry our skin gets drier and so do the trees. Our extremities, especially our palms and feet tend to get cold and our joints crack just like dry leaves crack when we walk in the park.
Trees don't look as bright and happy once the foliage is gone and people tend to get gloomy and depressed when the days get shorter and colder. Whether you realize it or not, you are influenced by the oncoming of Fall, too. You might feel it literally in your gut if there is a tendency to get vata indigestion with bloating, gas, and irregularity. Vata can also show up mentally and emotionally as insomnia, restlessness, indecisiveness, and fatigue are all symptoms. It doesn't have to be all that bad though. If you stay mindful and listen to your body’s needs you can reap the wonderful benefits of Vata dosha. Creativity, lightness, heightened clarity, are all signs of a balanced vata.
So what would you rather feel like: gloomy and constipated or light and creative?
Let's go over some general Vata balancing guidelines:
- Keep the food warm and add good fats. Good fats will protect your skin and hair from getting dry and will help to keep up the good spirits. My favorite way to add good fats is by adding a little bit of ghee to soups, vegetables, and oatmeal. I don't eat dairy in general but ghee is my exception and works wonders for my body. Avocado (not too much), soaked seeds and nuts (not dry), tahini are other great ways to add good fats. You can also try sesame, olive, or sunflower oils.
- Avoid the cold. This goes for cold foods, iced drinks, and ice cream (sorry, I'll miss it too). Go for warm foods (see above), hot herbal or ginger tea, spiced baked or stewed fruits, and wear hats and scarves. Maybe even try to knit your own like Tara. Slow activity like mindfulness meditation can help, too.
- Start a daily foot and joint massage, especially if you are stressed, fly a lot, or have cracking joints. Massage helps to relieve stress and calm down the nervous system. Massage is nourishing, it makes you feel warm, and somehow it makes you more grounded. You can buy any oil with warming properties such as sesame, mustard oil, or universal almond oil for a daily self-massage.