How to maintain good health during Autumn
Would you agree that there are definitely seasonal people? Sometimes it can be so apparent just by looking at a person as to what season they ‘belong’ in! I know I have always been a summer person. I’ve lived in many hot countries throughout my life and as a little girl my mum would laugh at me and try to persuade me that I really did not need a blanket and why I must have the AC on blasting cold air over me!
Nowadays I can maintain groundedness, good energy, good health and a happy mood all year round through the practice of ayurveda. The theory and practicalities behind achieving this are very simple. In Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment. During my workshop at Studio 70 in October, we will look at your unique constitution and explore practices that will nourish you throughout the year.
What is Vata?
Vata is one of the three doshas in ayurveda, (also known as mind-body types, the doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics). It’s a biological energy or force composed of elements ether and air. What do vata and autumn have in common? They are both windy! That makes them dry, rough, light, cold, mobile and flowing.
Because of its mobile nature vata is responsible for movement. In the digestive system, it relates to the lower abdomen, particularly the large intestine where gas (air) accumulates. It allows for agility, adaptability and facility in action. Its power animates us and makes us feel vital and enthusiastic. It energises all mental functions from the senses to the subconscious.
When our the vata dosha is in excess we may experience:
- Fear, worry, overwhelm and anxiety
- Appetite may be high, low or absent
- Light sleep and insomnia with restless dreams
- Constipation, abdominal distension and gas
- Pain disorders like arthritis. Cold, wind and dryness are the main environmental factors that disturb.
- A feeling of not being entirely present in the body and clumsiness
So, someone like myself who has a predominantly vata mind-body type, entering into autumn has to be done with awareness and nourishment to avoid overwork, overstress, anxiety, ungroundedness and digestive disturbances.
The theory is that everything in the universe is composed of the 5 elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth – so at a time like autumn when air or wind is naturally high, to keep this balanced we need to treat it with the opposite qualities.
Therefore at this time of the year, we can adopt lifestyle practices that bring in the qualities of warmth, moistness, heaviness and steadiness. These qualities are present in food, activities and my routines. Here are my top tips for the autumn season:
- We can eat a vata pacifying diet of food with the qualities of warmth, moistness and heaviness that primarily have the tastes of sweet, sour or salty. Some examples include herbs to add warmth like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Heavy foods like root veg, moistness with oils, one pot meals like soup. Drinking warming herbal teas that perhaps contain the same herbs or that which stimulate digestion.
- Go to bed early and get up early. Do regular yoga, incorporating postures that work on pacifying vata within the body. Meditating to stay grounded and connected.
- Balancing breathing practices are best or even just tuning into the breath for mindful moments throughout the day can be just as rewarding.
- Try to stay out of the wind and keep warm. You may have noticed, especially if you have a cat or a horse like I do, how much more ‘crazy’, for want of a better word, they become when it is windy.
We are part of nature and are therefore affected by the rhythms and cycles within the universe. Tuning into natures way and being aware of our interaction is a huge part of maintaining health and balance in the body, mind and spirit. In my Ayurveda Living workshop at Studio 70 I will cover the other doshas and how they correspond to you and explore practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you find balance and good health.
We are excited that Yolanda will be coming to Studio 70 on Sat 6th Oct to deliver a workshop to introduce us to the practice of Ayurveda, yoga's sister science which can bring us improved health and well being!