The shift of seasons from summer to autumn/winter is one of the most difficult. If you are anything like me, the cold, windy weather, short days and little sunlight make this the most challenging time of the year to stay feeling balanced and well. Why is this?
According to Ayurveda, this season from mid-October to mid-February is called Vata season. Vata is the governing intelligence in nature responsible for movement and is characterised by qualities of cold, wind, dry, light, rough and changeable. It makes sense that because Vata is all about movement, it is the easiest to move out of balance. This is why most people tend to be affected at this time of the year. And for those of us who have a lot of Vata in our mind/body makeup, then all the more likely that it will get out at this time of the year.
When Vata is out of balance in our mind/body we might notice:
– an overactive mind and decreased concentration
– light, restless sleep and difficulty getting to sleep
– achiness and stiffness in the joints
– rough, dry skin
– irregular bowel movements
What brings Vata out of balance?
– lots of travel
– dry, cold, windy weather
– late nights and excessive exposure to screens (computers and TV’s)
– irregular mealtimes and food that is difficult to digest
Is any of this sounding familiar? Don’t worry, there are some very simple adjustments that will make all the difference.
Here are my 5 Top Tips to balance Vata:
• Make lunch the main meal – eat a warm, nourishing, cooked meal around 12 noon to 2pm (avoid salads and raw food).
• Don’t let the wind wind you up! – keep warm and avoid draughts around your head and neck. Don’t leave home without a scarf and hat.
• Early to bed, early to rise – and by early to bed I mean around 10pm and early to rise means around 6am!
• Steamy drinks vs icy cold – opposites balance Vata so go for warm drinks. My favourite is plain hot water (the best for purifying the body) and Maharishi Vata tea
• Oil up – try a daily abhyanga massage of warm, cured sesame oil before your morning shower to counteract the drying effect of Vata.