“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” - L.M. Montgomery
One of the most delightful times to be living in New England is during this beautiful transition into the fall season. We are shifting from hot and humid weather to cool and dry weather. Common phrases I find myself saying during this time: “Oh my goodness, I’m so cold!” “Where is my chapstick?” “My hands are so dry.” “It’s so windy!”
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is the oldest practiced healthcare system in the world. The word Ayurveda literally translates to “the study of life.” (Ayu: life and Veda: study, science, truth, knowledge, wisdom). Ayurveda teaches us that the universe is composed of five elements: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. We (marvelous humans) are also composed of these five elements. How do these five elements show up in each individual? Through the three dosas (body constitutions): Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata consists of ether and air. The qualities of vata are: dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile. Vata season is late fall/winter. Pitta consists of fire and water. The qualities of pitta are: oily, sharp, intense, spreading, hot, light, odorous. Pitta season is summer and early fall. Kapha consists of water and earth. The qualities of Kapha are: oily, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, stable. Kapha season is spring.
Ayurveda has two laws: Like increases like and opposites bring balance. We are now entering the beautiful Vata season. Fall season in New England is dry, cool, light, and mobile. To balance this energy, we must bring in the opposite qualities, some more Kapha energy! One way to do this is through the foods you consume. A fall meal that would support one during Vata season would be a bit heavy and warm. This is the perfect time for soups, roasted root vegetables, and hot tea. As we continue making our way into winter, think about how a cold smoothie with fruit and a raw salad may not be the best choice to support your body/energy during this rough, cold and dry time.
If you are experiencing a vata imbalance, it could show up with dry/cracking skin, bloating, constipation, insomnia, restlessness, inability to focus, feeling scattered and anxious. A few simple tips to balance Vata are: self massage with warm sesame oil. Sesame oil is warm and heavy, which is the opposite of Vata (cool and light). Remember-opposites bring balance! Strive to set up a routine with consistent eating and sleeping times. Take sense breaks, slow down and pause. Consume a warm meal mindfully and relaxed. Consider avoiding “airy” drinks like carbonated and fizz drinks. Same goes for “drying” beverages, like coffee. Recall that Vata is composed of the ether and air element, and has the qualities of dry, cool, light, and mobile. So bringing in MORE dryness and space will increase Vata and could cause an imbalance.
Support your body, soul, energy and senses by taking the time and care to truly check in with yourself and see where you can make some small shifts to bring you closer to balance. May you enjoy this beautiful shift in the seasons, and in yourself.
For more information on Ayurveda check out The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell.
Meagan Visnaskas, LMT is a licensed massage therapist at the NH Health & Wellness Center. She has been trained in deep tissue, reflexology, cupping, lymphatic drainage massage, thai stretching, somatic massage, Swedish massage, and craniosacral therapy. She is a registered yoga instructor and certified Reiki Master Teacher. She is currently enrolled at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda working towards becoming an Ayurveda Health Counselor. To schedule a session or for more information, call 603-801-2777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.