Have you been experiencing anxiety, a scattered mind, insomnia, dry skin or tight muscles? Your symptoms could be attributed to a Vata imbalance, which commonly occurs during this transitional season of autumn.
Vata is one of the 3 doshas outlined by Ayurveda, or "the science of life". Doshas are groups of physical and emotional characteristics used to describe our individual compositions.
During autumn months, we are particularly susceptible to excess Vata energy, which can result in symptoms like those listed above. The good news is - we can correct this imbalance through mindful changes in our diets, yoga practice, and overall lifestyle!
- Seek out root vegetables that are in season this fall (sweet potatoes, beets, pumpkin, carrots, etc). Their moist and heavy qualities will combat the airy and dry energy of Vata.
- Use warming spices in your meals, such as pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
- Increase healthy fats like olive and coconut oils in your diet to soften skin and lubricate joints.
- Avoid raw salads and cold drinks, and opt for warming teas and hearty soups/casseroles instead.
- Commit to regular sleep and meals to boost energy, provide consistency and fight off fatigue.
- Engage in moderate exercise that focuses on balance and flexibility (yoga, chi gong, walking).
- Schedule regular massage to stimulate circulation and lymph drainage.
- Incorporate soothing, warm scents into your self-care routine. Some great examples are lavender, cinnamon, pine, and vanilla. Break out those essential oils and scented candles!
In our yoga practice, we want to focus on grounding and heating poses to warm up our bodies, loosen our muscles, and cultivate a sense of stability and strength.
- Child's Pose: Allow your head to rest on the mat or a block, and turn slowly from ear to ear to massage the forehead.
- Sun Salutations: Warm up with 3-5 flowing sun salutations to build heat.
- Standing Poses: Choose strong, stable standing poses such as Warrior 1 and 2, chair pose, a wide angle forward fold, and goddess. Focus on the strength in your feet and legs.
- Balancing Poses: Incorporate a tree pose, Warrior 3, or standing split into your practice. Feel the roots of your standing leg grounding down into the earth and steady your breath.
- Hip Openers: Take hip circles and openers to lubricate the joints. Pigeon, ankle-to-knee, or a figure 4 on your back are all great options.
- Backbends: Opening the heart and stimulating the adrenal glands will give you a boost of energy, while warming the body from the inside out.
- Twists & Forward Folding: Hold a supine twist for 2-3 minutes on each side, and end with an easy forward bend. Twists work to aid healthy digestion and forward folds loosen the entire back body.
- Savasana: End with legs up the wall to stimulate circulation in the legs, then come to rest in savasana for at least 5 minutes.
I hope these tips help you transition through this gorgeous fall season with grace. Do you have autumn practices of your own? I would love to hear your feedback and ideas below!