Autumn is bringing shorter days and changeable weather, exposing us to qualities that are light, dry, cold, mobile, subtle and rough. Ayurveda explains that when vata dosha dominates, these qualities are present. Ayurveda refers to autumn and early winter as the vata season.
Ayurveda is an ancient science based on elemental principles that pertain to life on earth. Ayurveda recognizes the elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth as the building blocks of the natural world. According to Ayurveda, these five elements pair-up in three combinations to form the primary forces of nature called doshas. Ether and air form vata dosha. Fire and water make up pitta dosha. Water and earth create kapha dosha.
Under the influence of vata’s ether and air contributions, you can feel light, carefree and creative or spacey, scattered, and unstable. The etheric nature of vata creates a sense of space, in which you may feel free or lost. The airy aspect of vata can inspire productivity or promote anxiety. Ayurveda teaches that like increases like. If you are dominantly vata by nature or are consistently influenced by vata, you are more likely to experience the negative effects of excess vata during the vata season.
As the external environment changes during the vata season, your internal environment can experience the same type of changes; dry leaves, dry skin; crackly leaves, crackly joints; shorter days, shorter attention span; colder days, colder extremities, windy days, windy bowels. The qualities of vata dosha are found in the disorders that are common at this time of year. By observing the processes of Mother Nature, you can better understand the processes of your body, mind and spirit.
Applying the Ayurvedic principle that opposite actions create balance, you can maintain balance during the vata season by emphasizing lifestyle and food choices that are grounding, stabilizing, warming, moisturizing and softening. You can stay calm and connected in this whirlwind season with a consistent practice that includes nourishing and protective measures. Ayurveda promotes simple and regular routines as having a deeper effect on balancing vata than an ‘as needed’ approach.