Autumn is Vata Season

‘Your mind will either bind you or set you free. The choice is yours’ – Sage Kapila

Woman seriously meditating

Ayurveda (Science of Life) continues to fascinate us. The ancient wisdom of India is a refreshing system of knowledge on how to stay healthy in the way that nature intended, as explained by Samkhya Philosophy.

Samkhya gives us the Classical Ashtanga (8 limbs) Yoga, the Sutras of Patanjali and Ayurveda Vedic Philosophy. As taught by Sage Kapila, it is the original Spiritual Science. The Sanskrit language gives us words to express and understand the basis of our existence. Recently, I learned about the nine types of Dravya (matter)– soul, mind, direction, time, and the five elements. These forms of matter create the universe and the physical world. Dravya is a great word to unpack for those who revel in philosophy and the pathway to health.

On a more practical level, the Sanskrit term Dosha gives meaning to managing our constitution, staying balanced and healthy, so we can live our best life. The Doshas are the part of Tattva (24 principles) that map out the universe and the individual psyche. The Doshas are made up of the 5 elements and form the blueprint for each of us. We can be all three, but are usually a combination of two Dosha, as follows:

VATA – Air & Ether with the qualities of dry, cool, lightness and movement.

PITTA – Fire & Water with sharp, spicy qualities

KAPHA – Water & Earth with the qualities of heaviness, cold and sweet.

Autumn is the Vata time of the year, beginning in March with a change in weather patterns. As we pass through the Autumn Equinox, Vata moves through our bodies and signals the end of Summer. We say farewell to the hot, humid days of the year and welcome the cooler, windy days. We need to ensure that we don’t dry up like Autumn leaves and keep our skin and joints soft and moist. Now is the time to let go of the accumulated Pitta from the Summer season and shake off the sluggishness of any accumulated Kapha.

The onset of the breezy, cool, and drying season is a call to find a balance in our daily routine. To balance the season, we bring in the opposites and find stability by having a regular routine, a time for eating and a time for sleeping. Make food and drink choices that are warming, have an extra blanket ready a night. Vata can leave us feeling unfocused and forgetful, which can sometimes lead to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. To avoid this, practice yoga at the same time each day and go to bed early with a goal of being asleep by 10pm.

Regular daily meditation practice is perfect to center and ground the mind. During the day, a yoga relaxation or Nidra can be very helpful. Lie down in Savasana covered with a blanket and listen to a recording or take a lunch time yoga class. Take a walk in natural surroundings or simply be outside and sit in the sun for a while every day- it is so important to boost the immune system and clear the mind.

In our yoga practice, we favour Vata pacifying sequences such as a gentle Sun Salute, and postures such as Tree and Side Twists are perfect. Start with warming up slowly with some joint rotations. Make long, slow movements, grounding the hands and the feet at every opportunity. Move as if through water and synchronize the breath. Use Ujjayi or simply breathe slowly and mindfully to help activate the vagus nerve, which gives us our inner sense of joy. Connect with the earth beneath you in poses such as Thunderbolt, Cat-Cow, Cobra, and Child’s Pose, and quieten the mind with forward bends. Gentle inversions and restorative poses such as Legs Up the Wall are also very good for Vata balance.

In Autumn, we aim to de-stagnate the lymph, relax the nervous system and calm the mind which helps to pacify any aggravated Pitta and Kapha. As we connect with the natural laws of the season, we can ensure a strong, natural immunity, nourishment of any deficient tissues and preparation of the skin to insulate us against the cold in the coming months.

It is always beneficial to take time out to detox your diet and lifestyle, This removes any excess Vata and bring us back into balance. Under the influence of balanced Vata, you will feel light, carefree, creative, spontaneous and energetic, so Autumn is a great time to start new projects as ideas will flow and motivation will be strong.

A seasonal routine is certainly an investment in your own health and vitality. And while the specifics may vary from one person to the next, we all stand to benefit from aligning ourselves with the rhythms of nature throughout the year. In addition to lifestyle, food & diet, yoga, meditation & breathwork, Ayurveda offers diagnosis, herbs, and therapies from qualified practitioners.

This Autumn, embrace the unique gifts of the season and—with the help of an appropriate seasonal routine—enjoy it from a place of stability, humility, and gratitude. One way you can do this is by registering for our March community class on Wednesday 29th and practice our relaxing Satyananda style postures and Classical Yoga Nidra to support you in bringing your Dosha Blueprint back into natural balance for the season.

Moira Nirvana Gordon

YFG Director

Further information.

What is Dravya | The Concept of Dravya in Ayurveda (siddhiyoga.com)

Ayurveda & the Autumnal Equinox | The Art of Living Retreat Center

Yoga & Ayurveda, Self-Healing and Self-Realization, David Frawley

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