Ayurveda is the single most complete and comprehensive holistic approach to health and wellness, which allows us to live, eat, and move in harmony with our own unique bodies, the seasons, and our environment. Though I am not a fan of diets or one-size-fits-all approaches, I have definitely found that Ayurveda gives us some amazing guiding principles for living the healthiest and happiest life possible, while still taking into account the vastly different experiences we have from one body to the next.
If you have not yet found your Ayurvedic type, or dosha, click here to take the assessment. It can change everything for you!
Each season has a characteristic predominant dosha, which means that if you share that dosha, you can experience a destabilizing effect if you’re not taking steps to actively balance your body. This can cause compromised immunity (leading to colds and flus), feeling scattered or ungrounded, feeling more emotional or stressed, and even experiencing digestive issues, inflammation, breakouts and other skin issues.
As the weather cools, we move into the Vata time of year. The vata dosha is characterized by cold, dry, windy energy, and can have a similar effect in your body, particularly if you’re also a vata type. An unbalanced vata can experience emotional symptoms like increased anxiety and overwhelm, trouble focusing, feeling ungrounded and scattered, chronically running late, and increased self-criticism. Too much vata can also bring on physical symptoms like constipation, dry skin and hair, creaky joints, and pain. Not fun!
But fear not, dear vata’s, with a few tweaks to your eating and lifestyle habits, you can keep your energy balanced throughout all the colder months, and feel your absolute best. Check out my top vata-balancing tips for fall:
1. Stay warm.
This is absolutely crucial for everyone with even a moderate amount of vata. When your body is cold, your immunity and emotional stability are going to get seriously compromised. Make sure to dress warmly, keep a pashmina or sweater at your office, and don’t be afraid to whip out that hat and gloves long before everyone else around you. Avoid eating raw or cold foods (nothing iced!), and opt instead for warm, cooked foods like grain porridges for breakfast, cooked veggies and grains for lunch, and warming soups and stews for dinner. Stay away from raw salads and smoothies until the weather warms again. Drink hot tea and/or hot water with lemon all day long! Staying warm, both inside and out, will help keep you grounded and healthy all season long.
Check out this yummy vata-balancing Pumpkin Quinoa Soup from our friend and fellow Organic Beauty Nkechi Nkaja of NDN Integrated Lifestylist.
2. Increase healthy fats and oils.
Cold air and wind is super drying for all of us, especially vata’s, so you have to make sure to stay lubricated inside and out throughout the cold months. Increase healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds in your eating (make sure to include one at every single meal), and use oils externally to keep your skin hydrated. Use the oil face wash method to cleanse and hydrate your skin, massage your body with sesame oil in the shower, and use coconut oil externally on skin and hair to keep everything moisturized and healthy.
3. Spice things up.
Using warming spices in your diet will help you stay warm, grounded, and anxiety-free throughout the colder months. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in your breakfast porridges, soups, chai teas, and roasted veggies. Drink spicy teas like chai, and ginger tea. If you opt for dessert, eat warming sweets like spicy apple crumble or natural gingersnaps. These spices balance your blood sugar, decrease anxiety and stress, and boost your immunity. A win-win!
Check out our recipe for Fall Apple Crumble!
4. Get grounded.
Staying grounded, calm, and centered throughout the cold months is vital for keeping vata in check, and works to counteract the natural anxious, overwhelmed energy that can dominate a vata personality in the fall and winter. Engaging in a grounding daily mind-body practice like meditation and yoga is absolutely necessary this time of year, even if you don’t partake in these practices the rest of the year. Healing relaxation treatments like acupuncture and massage are very soothing and balancing as well, and should be incorporated a couple of times a month. It’s also super important to engage in daily unplugged time in the evening — put away the computer, your phone and turn off the TV. Read a book, take a hot bath, and just relax, every day! I promise, your to-do list will still be there in the morning.
5. Rest up.
Vata’s need good quality sleep every day to function well and stay healthy, and this is especially important in the cold months. Get to sleep by 10:30pm and wake up around 6:30 or 7am to maximize your rest and energy. If you need them, take short naps in the first part of the day. Take plenty of breaks throughout the day, and make sure not to over-schedule yourself. Make sure you carve out plenty of time for rest and relaxation for your weekends, and even try to get out of town for a long weekend, retreat, or vacation!