It’s time to prepare for Vata season! According to the practices of Ayurveda, Vata season occurs during late fall and early winter, late September through January. This is a time of transition from the heat of summer to the cool of fall and is called the “Vata season”. These months are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, and moving. Anyone will benefit from attending to Vata, especially those whose dominate dosha is Vata.
Find out more about doshas.
People identified in Ayurveda with a primary dosha of Vata are blessed with a quick mind, flexibility and creativity. Vata provides the essential motion for all bodily processes and is extremely vital for health. It is essential to “ground” or stabilize this motion. On an annual basis, Vata is most prominent in the fall and at the change of seasons. These are the most important times to be careful of diet and lifestyle. Routine is very useful in assisting the Vata individual to effectively ground all this moving energy.
The attributes of Vata are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear and dispersing. Any of these qualities in excess can cause imbalance. Frantic travel, especially by plane, loud noises, continual stimulation, drugs, sugar, and alcohol all derange Vata, as does exposure to cold and cold foods. Like the wind, Vata types have a hard time becoming and staying grounded. Routine is difficult but essential if Vata is to be lowered and controlled. Vata tends to increase with age as is indicated by drying and wrinkling of the skin.
The Ayurvedic philosophy states that “like increases like.” Thus, during the fall when the winds and dryness increase, it is vital to reduce the intake of anything that increases dryness within the body. That means raw foods and cold foods should be minimized since these require more digestive juices than normal. Foods to avoid include dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and legumes—anything that requires more water to digest. Dry weather needs to be countered with warm, moist, slightly oily, heavy foods. In general, people with excessive Vata regardless of their primary dosha respond most rapidly to guidelines that including the following:
- Eat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).
- Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a pint thermos bottle and filling it with hot water.
- Eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, lemons, pumpkins, carrots, beets, asparagus, quinoa, rice, mung beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and ghee are a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods.
- Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter and helps pacify Vata. At the same time, of course, don’t eat to the point of discomfort.
For those following blood-type diets, you can incorporate the Vata season guidelines by eating beneficial foods seasoned with beneficial spices and oils. Eat cooked vegetables and fruit whenever possible.
Steam baths, humidifiers, and moisture in general are helpful. Applying sesame oil to the feet and moisturizing the inside of the nose with sesame oil or ghee are very effective in grounding Vata energy. Establishing a routine for exercise, meals, work, activities and rest are vital in reducing feelings of fear, anxiety and restlessness, which can be intensified during Vata season.