The season of autumn in Ayurveda is connected to the Vata Dosha, consisting of the elements of AIR and ETHER. You may notice the leaves are falling, the days are getting cooler, the wind is picking up. Everything is changing, moving.
The main attributes of Vata Dosha are mobile, dry, rough, light, cool, subtle and clear. I personally find that autumn is when everything happens at once, children starting a new year in school, all courses or workshops that I am interested in seem to be scheduled for this time. Changes in the environment are sudden, everything moves at lighting speed.
Photo credit: Divine Wellbeing
How can we balance this energy in nature in our lives for optimum health? By focusing on the opposing qualities. Calming the cold wind down, directing our energy inwards, warming up and grounding. In our Yoga practice we create fluidity by gently flowing sequences. We turn inward by the help of forward bends and hip openers. We focus on meditation as Vata's energy is connected to the mind directly. Focus on connecting the breath to the movement becomes ever more our aim. We may incorporate Mantras in our practice as one of the most effective ways to calm the mind. In our diet we turn to warmer, heavier foods, soups and stews, herbal teas. Trying to avoid coffee, crisps, popcorn - any kind of food that you look at and think it has cold, light, revving up energy - is a good idea.
One of the easiest way to calm the movement down is by balancing the elements of AIR and ETHER through the senses. Each of our 5 senses are connected to an element:
Earth = Smell
Water = Taste
Fire = Sight/vision
Air = Touch
Ether = Sound
Balancing the AIR element through it's corresponding sense of Touch could be any of the following or let your imagination run wild: massaging ourselves gently with oil (or going for an Ayurvedic massage if you have the opportunity, Jenn is brilliant at Welton Beauty Therapy), a warm bath with essential oils, practising the Touch Meditation regularly that I will teach in class soon, wrapping up in soft comfortable fabrics.
Balancing the ETHER element through it's corresponding sense of Sound could mean listening to soothing music, practising silence (and I don't mean being on your electronic device surfing the net or checking Facebook in silence...), massaging the ears with oil, listening to our internal monologues and making sure they are loving and peaceful, reffering from gossip, having a little bit of control over all the noise that is coming our way from TV and Radio, chanting Mantras to connect to the most subtle sound there is.
We will do plenty of these to balance the Vata Dosha during the Fall in our classes!
If you would like to know more about Vata read a short summary on the website:
or this wonderful article from Yoga International going into detail on the subject:
Photo credit: YogaInternational