Fall is the Vata time of year. It is a time of variability as we transition from summer to winter; back and forth between cold days and warm days. It is getting colder, drier and windier. Vata is made up of air and ether or space with the qualities/gunas light, cold, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, and clear.
Ayurveda is based on the five elements that are found in all living things—ether or space, air, fire, water, and earth. These are the building blocks of life. It is the mixing of these elements that makes up the energetic forces -Vata, pitta, and kapha—collectively known as the doshas.
Vata - the energetic force of air and ether - seasonally mid Fall to winter
Pitta - the energetic force of fire and water or a more unctuous, oily liquid - seasonally Summer to early Fall
Kapha - the energetic force of earth and water - seasonally late winter to Spring
We may experience vata as:
Increased anxiety or trouble making decisions
More snacking rather than eating
Rougher drier skin
Constipation or variability between constipation and loose bowel movements
The seat of vata is the colon, so how, when and what you eat is very important to vata balancing. Vata is balanced by the sweet, sour and salty tastes and aggravated by the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.
Daily Rituals for Vata Balancing
Eat warm, cooked food instead of snacking or eating raw food. While raw food may be high in nutrients it can be hard to digest requiring more digestive fire/agni which is not as strong when vata is present.
Eat grounding foods. Root vegetables, roasting and baking your food, kitchari, sweet rice pudding with cinnamon are great for vata.
Create routine rather than making things up as you go along. Vata’s main characteristic is variability so changing plans, not writing things in your calendar can make vata very aggravated, forgetful, foggy-minded, indecisive and anxious. Having sit down meals at similar times of day can be a great foundation for setting routine.
Oil your body. Abyangha/massage with warm oil is soothing and calming to a jittery vata nervous system, lubricating to dry vata skin and warming to vata’s weaker circulation.