In the Northern Hemisphere, post the Autumn Equinox, the days start getting shorter and cooler. While this marks the harvest season of festivities, it also finds a lot of people catching the flu, getting respiratory issues and struggling with an overall low immunity. We can, and must always find better ways to transition from Summer into Fall, i.e. from Pitta season to Vata season.
A lot of you, who are in touch with their bodies and feelings, might be finding that the outward energies of the summer are turning more inwards at this time of the year, both physically and mentally. The Vata season brings with it a cold, light and mobile energy that can induce anxiety, which can be balanced with grounding and stabilising self-care rituals and lifestyle choices.
When you wake up every morning, take a moment to reflect instead of jumping out of bed and rushing through your mornings, it aggravates Vata energy even more. Set your alarm for 10min earlier if you live a very fast-paced lifestyle and always find yourself running out of time. And don't start with a to-do list for the day, reflect on your existence, show some gratitude, slow down your brain and mind.
Clean your tongue with a copper tongue cleaner first thing - keeping our gut-health strong is absolutely crucial at this time of the year, and the gut starts from your mouth. The yogic and ayurvedic practices of Jivha Mula Shodhana (tongue and palette cleaning), Gundusha (oil pulling), Kapal Randhra Dhauti (a lymphatic facial massage), Karna Randhra Dhauti (ear cleaning) and Jal Neti (clearing the sinuses with warm salted water) all contribute towards an improved and strong immune system in addition to flushing our toxins and bad bacteria. It literally takes just 10min every morning.
Connect with the Earth via a grounding Yoga flow, practice Tai Chi or simply go for a walk or a run outside in a park..whatever is your zen! However, at this time of the year some people might find strenuous gym exercises, HIIT or aerobics quite unsettling..for exactly the same reason, it enhances Vata rather than balancing it.
Give yourself a quick massage in the shower with some natural oils, whichever suits your Prakriti type. I like to use pure almond oil - apply a drop in your naval and rub a palmful on the rest of your body while getting the blood circulating under your skin. It will not allow the dryness that comes in with the Vata season to affect your skin, which is our largest organ and cracked dry skin is breeding ground for bacterias and viruses. Our immunity depends so much on the health of our skin, which is often the most neglected aspect when it comes to health.
Avoid cold or chilled beverages completely and have warm and hearty drinks all throughout the day..around 3-4 times, to keep yourself hydrated and energised. These could be herbal teas and seasonal vegetable soups. My favourite self-care ritual that I start around this time of the year, in addition to soups everyday, is to snuggle up with a book and a piping hot mug of spiced hot chocolate in a cozy corner of my home, along with some essential oil candles/diffusers.
Incorporate warm, cooked and nurturing nutrient-rich foods in your diet. Avoid raw foods, and cook your food gently in some ghee, mustard oil, sesame oil... and with whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, star-anise, ginger and turmeric.
Curl up in your bed by 10pm! Our bodies and our gut microbiome is undergoing its own rhythmic changes to sync up with the change in the season, the more we interfere with it the worse our health gets, everyday. We cannot go on living the same lifestyle or eating the same foods from one day to another. Take care of your circadian rhythm, make space for it to stay in sync with the rhythms of the Earth by changing your lifestyle with changing seasons.