The weather has finally become cooler, and we are officially entering Vata season in the DMV. According to Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) Vata’s qualities are light, dry, clear, mobile and cold. Notice how the trees mimic these traits by becoming dry, crunchy and quickly moving through the clear, crisp sky. Because we are part of nature’s cycle, you may notice that you are feeling those qualities in your mind and body as well. Vata can quickly move out of balance during this time of year, especially for those of us in the Vata time of our lives (around 50 and older.) Here are a few tips to help the mind and body to settle down, warm up, and relax!
1. Indulge in afternoon tea. Herbal teas made with cinnamon, chicory root, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger will help you to feel warm and focused. And add extra sweetness with a little honey after the tea has steeped and cooled slightly. Honey when cooked or heated is considered poison in Ayurveda, but the sweet taste helps to balance Vata.
2. Avoid crunchy, dry snacks, especially in the afternoon. Sorry, popcorn lovers and chip enthusiasts, now is the time to avoid anything that has the same qualities of the season. Especially during the Vata time of the day between 2pm-6pm. You may notice increased gas, bloating and indigestion if you indulge in dry crunch. Eat an apple instead. Apples are the perfect seasonal snack to help you stay grounded and digesting well.
3. Add some Ujayi Pranayama. Ujayi, or victorious breath, is when you constrict the throat slightly to make sound as you breath. Some say it sounds like the ocean, others liken it to Darth Vadar. Either way, it will help you keep a steady, rhythmic breath that is slightly warming, and very relaxing.
4. Soothe the skin and the mind with oil massage. I’ve tried all the lotions and dry skin treatments in the past, and nothing works like organic oil for keeping the skin hydrated. Dry skin only gets worse during the dry time of the year, so prep now for a better season. I recommend the Daily Massage Oil from Banyan Botanicals for daily or every other day massage. You needn’t use too much to get the benefits of these soothing practice. You can find more info about oil massage on Banyan’s Website.
5. Stick to a schedule. Because of the irregular and mobile qualities of Vata, it’s best to add structure to your daily schedule during this time of year. You’ll feel your best if you wake, eat, exercise, and sleep at the same time each day. Doing so will give Vata the support and predictability it craves.