By Sarajean Rudman
As we shift into crisp, cool weather, there’s a palpable change in energy. In Ayurveda, autumn and early winter are governed by the vata dosha, comprised of air and ether. The vata season is characterized by dryness, mobility, lightness, and coolness. If our lifestyle mirrors these qualities, we risk depleting our ojas—our “fluid of life.” But if we introduce the opposing qualities, we can enhance our ojas. Think nourishing, warm, grounding practices that prepare you for the depths of winter. Here are some simple tips to support balance during vata season.
- Choose grounding foods such as sweet potatoes; moist, warming grains and soups; organic oils and ghee; and natural, high-quality sweeteners (i.e., maple syrup or raw honey).
- Integrate warming and carminative (gas-relieving) spices (such as cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper, cardamom, and basil) into your cooking.
- Avoid dry, raw, and undercooked foods.
- Practice waking up at sunrise and going to bed at the same time every night, maintaining eight hours of restful sleep.
- Do self-massage daily with warm sesame oil, paying extra attention to the feet.
- Eat meals at the same time daily: ideally, breakfast between 7:00 and 8:30 am, lunch between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and dinner between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. Make lunch your biggest meal and dinner your smallest.
- Avoid overstimulation. Take time daily for reflection and stillness.
Sarajean Rudman is the Kripalu School of Ayurveda Intern.