Ayurveda 101: It’s Vata Season
Often referred to as the sister science of yoga, the direct translation of the Sanskrit word ayurveda is “knowledge of life.” Originating in India over 3,000 years ago – one of the oldest systems of holistic medicine still in practice today – ayurveda is based on the idea that illness in the body is caused by stress or imbalance in a person’s consciousness. At a basic level, ayurveda encourages a lifestyle and diet that is in harmony with the seasons to find balance in the mind and body.
What Is Vata Dosha?
Ayurveda follows the notion that the world is composed of five elements: space, water, earth, fire, and air. These elements combine into three doshas, which describe a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Each individual can be characterized by different combination of doshas – kapha, pitta, or vata – and is encouraged to keep their optimal balance through certain lifestyle practices.
Fall is considered vata season, where regardless of our individual doshas, it’s important to direct your energy toward grounding and warmth to counteract autumn’s characteristic dryness, as the season is governed by the elements of air and space.
Staying Balanced Through Vata Season
How do you stay warm and remain calm at a time that feels a little “up in the air?” Try a combination of breathwork, grounding yoga, and seasonal eating:
Breathwork doesn’t have to be a complicated practice, nor does it require extensive training. There are a number of different breathwork methods you can try, each with a unique purpose. Breathing to ground, though, is quite simple. Try this:
- Lay on your back in a position that feels comfortable.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your heart.
- Take a full, deep inhale through your nose, counting up slowly to four, observing how your body physically rises.
- Exhale slowly back out through your nose, counting down from four and noticing the sensation of your belly and chest falling.
- Pause at the bottom of the exhale, noticing the surface you’re laying on as a grounding force for your body, before you begin your next inhale.
- Repeat at least five more breath cycles.
A Grounding Pose
We went into detail on several poses that help you stay grounded in a previous blog, but there’s one we’d like to add during vata season: child’s pose.
Child’s pose can be modified and supported to suit your anatomy. Generally beginning with your big toes touching and your knees wide, sink your sitting bones back toward your heels and walk your arms forward so that you may rest your forearms and head comfortably down. You can bring your knees in closer, drape your torso on a pillow, or prop your tail up higher using a yoga block or another pillow if this helps you feel more comfortable. Stay here, breathing steadily and focusing on the connection between your body and the ground for as long as feels comfortable.
Nurture Your Body
A guiding principle in ayurveda is to eat seasonally. In the fall, this means foods that are rich, hearty, and warming (think soups and stews). Foods that are cooked, not raw, and provide good fats and oils are high on the recommended list for vata season.
Stay away from raw, bitter, or drying foods – ’tis the season to enjoy all things sweet, sour, or salty!
Everything You Need to Stay Grounded This Season
Support your grounding, warming yoga practice through vata season with gear from our online store. From mats and props to apparel, discover our collections and find all the necessities to support your seasonal practice.