Fall is a time of transition, it’s apparent all around us with the cooler temperatures, shorter days and nature preparing itself for winter. Ayurveda suggests that we too, should do the same. Autumn months are considered dry, cold, rough, windy, erratic, subtle, and clear. These are all qualities shared by vata dosha, comprised of air and ether elements. By adopting seasonally appropriate diet and lifestyle choices can help keep the air and ether elements balanced throughout our mind and body, and set us up for a healthier winter. Balancing vata dosha with diet, lifestyle, herbs, meditation, and yoga supports a strong body-consciousness allowing us to live in harmony through both daily and seasonal changes.
If we consider the Ayurvedic principle that like increases like, and opposite invite balance, vata season, (which has qualities of cold, light, dry, and unpredictable or erratic behavior- like the wind!) will be less aggravating if you counter it with warmth, oiliness, moisture, nourishment, loving relationships, and a sense of grounding, predictability & routine. In addition, you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms of vata imbalance so that you are better prepared to address those immediately, if they do arise.
Signs and Symptoms of Vata Imbalance may include:
Diets for the Changing Season
Your diet is a powerful way to soothe vata this fall. Substantive, oily, nourishing foods that are high in protein, high in fat, brought to life with warming, stimulating spices, served fresh & hot, can help maintain internal reserves of moisture and keep you grounded and peaceful through the cooler months.
Enjoy & Increase:
Minimize & Reduce:
Vata Balancing Lifestyle Tips
Our daily activities have a profound effect on our health. A routine, practiced daily, is a more potent medicine than an occasional remedy. Consistency is of utmost importance as we enter into vata season. “It’s the things we do every day that create health & vitality”
Summer is well on its way! Snow is melting, temperatures increasing and days getting longer. Midnight sun, here we come. Ayurveda views summer as the Pitta season, where the fire element dominates. We often experience more energy, enthusiasm, desire to be social and want to be outside. However, when Pitta becomes out of balanced, or the fire increases too much, the excess heat can affect the mind and the body.
The following signs or symptoms are examples of Pitta imbalances:
Alaskan summers can be intense; lots of daylight and lots of activity. This often manifests first in the mind, then affects the digestion or other areas of the body. The cooling measures we take now, before summer hits, have a profound effect on the health of our minds and bodies throughout this season. To balance pitta, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle and herbal treatment strategies. The underlying concepts that these ancient strategies are based on cooling, surrender and moderation.
We can balance and pacify the fire in our bodies through food, herbs, teas, certain yoga practices and lifestyle changes.
General Guidelines for a Pitta-Pacifying Diet Enjoy:
We all know that massage helps increase circulation, moves lymph, increases our immunity and helps alleviate body aches and pains. All science aside, massage just feels great. Ayurvedic oil massage, known as Abhyanga, has those benefits and more.
Abhyanga is easy to do, and you can do it yourself. I love Abhyanga because you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home- it is less costly and you can do it every day! A daily Abhyanga practice restores the balance of the body and enhances well-being and longevity. There is no greater expression of self-love than regularly anointing yourself with oil; it leaves you feeling grounded, relaxed with a sense of stability and warmth.
How to Perform Abhyanga:
Oils for Your Constitution:
Vata Dosha: sesame, almond, olive, jojoba
Pitta Dosha: coconut, sunflower, jojoba, walnut
Kapha Dosha: safflower, mustard seed, jojoba
**If you are unsure of your constitution, stick with heavier warmer oils in the winter (think sesame, olive and almond) and lighter cooler oils in the summer (think coconut and sunflower)**
Spring is upon us. Winter’s accumulated snow and ice will soon begin to melt. Spring is a season of new beginnings, growth and renewal—a time for you to manifest your highest potential! Snow melts, days get longer, flowers begin budding, leaves unfurling... it's hard to deny it- we are deeply affected by this awakening around us. Our physiology senses a natural opportunity for a fresh, clean start; our bodies are primed to lighten things up, experience more energy, cleanse ourselves of any accumulated imbalances, and rejuvenate tissues. As the natural world emerges from its long dark slumber, it is common to experience a renewed sense of joy and inspiration. But for many, the spring season is also associated with respiratory distress: colds, sinus issues, congestion, and allergies. Thankfully, an appropriate seasonal routine can help us to overcome spring’s challenges while promoting optimal health so that we can truly celebrate the season and our renewed sense of energy.
Spring embodies the heaviness of moisture, and for many, feels slower than fall or summer. These characteristics align with qualities of the Kapha Dosha: heavy, watery and cool. Ayurveda teaches us that like increases like. So springtime tends to increase Kapha. Just as spring melts the surrounding snow and ice, it liquefies accumulated Kapha (ideally, so it can be eliminated from the body). This process can be revitalizing cleansing process- or can trigger various health challenges. Seasonal routines and diet changes are our best antidotes to springtime congestion, colds,, allergies and respiratory distress. By introducing qualities that are OPPOSING to Kapha, we can support our physiology in its natural process of springtime renewal and revitalization. We do this by adding a little extra lightness, dryness, sharpness and heat into our lives.
How do we do that? Here are some general Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle recommendations to support you through Spring:
Ayurvedic Health Counselor