Balancing Vata: Self-care practices for Fall


“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

The magical season of Fall is fast approaching and that means it’s time for a change of pace. For many Fall is viewed as a time to get back to work and school or to buckle down and finish the last few months of the year with a bang. However, in the world of Ayurveda we are entering Vata season, a time to refocus, free energy, and declutter in all areas of life.

Scott Blossom of Yoga Journal describes the ancient healing system, “Ayurveda, which translates as “knowledge of life,” dates back 5,000 years to the ancient Sanskrit texts, the Vedas. It’s a system of healing that examines physical constitution, emotional nature, and spiritual outlook in the context of the universe. According to the philosophy, universal life force manifests as three different energies, or doshas, known as vata, pitta, and kapha.”

Take a moment to consider the characteristics of Autumn. Trees let go of attachments (leafs) in order to draw nourishment inward. Sap slowly begins to move from branches towards the roots. Root vegetables are thriving and providing a rich selection of the foods our body’s need in this season. Wild creatures are raising their young and storing up for Winter. Everything in nature is in order or “falling” in to place.

Autumn is about finding balance and empowering the body’s natural detoxing abilities. Rather than stripping down the body, focus should be placed on creating an internal and external environment for optimal health. This can be done with the addition of herbs, healing arts, stress management techniques, and slight changes in diet and lifestyle practices. Here’s how…

Detox and Adjust: Begin with a 7-14 day detox and use this time to time to set a new tone for the rest of the season. Focus on detoxing the lungs and large intestine which are the origin of skin and respiratory problems (conditions common in Fall) when imbalanced or overloaded. Keep the body well-oiled as Vata season can have a drying effect. Apply extra virgin coconut oil to the skin and orifices (anus, lips, vagina, and nasal passages) frequently and practice oil pulling daily. Start each day with a tablespoon of warm ghee or coconut oil as well.

Consume a lot of nutrient dense, well-cooked soups, stews, curries, and vegetable bakes. These types of foods are easy on the digestive system and allow the body to direct energy towards eliminating toxins and rejuvenating. The goal is to significantly reduce intake of mucous promoting foods such as processed sugar, flour, dairy, and alcohol.

Increase these foods: Rice, Warm Cereals, Honey, Ghee (Clarified Butter), Beets, Carrots, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, Soups, Stews, Sprouted Cashews or Almonds, Warm Spiced Apples, Hot Teas, and Olive Oil. Anything that “warms” the body’s energy.

Decrease these foods: Cold Cereals and Foods, Iced Drinks, Corn, Caffeine, Raw Salads, and Raw Vegetables. Anything that “cools” the body’s energy.

Sip these teas: Various combinations of Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Licorice, Coriander, Chamomile, and Clove or Vata tea.

Increase these herbs and spices: Ginger, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cinnamon, Triphala, Ashwagandha, Neem, or other adaptogenic herbs. Take herbs and teas as instructed by the manufacturer or a holistic health care provider.

More Energy In, Less Energy Out. Consider sources of toxic energy in life and arrange for a decrease wherever possible. Remember that this is the time to free up energy, thus all expenditure should be intentional rather than forced or accidental. According to Svastha Health, establishing a routine that allows for more rest and relaxation can be helpful during Vata season. “Routine is rhythm and that rhythm is what our internal clocks (e.g. circadian rhythms) will set to. With routine to anchor your mind and body, there is greater harmony amongst the millions of processes taking place inside your miraculous self. This synchrony helps prevent against imbalance.”

What it means to preserve energy will vary for each individual. For some, that may consist of weekly meal prepping to free time for meditation before work. Others might commit to leaving work on time everyday. In some cases, it means a silent retreat or vacation. Every effort is a step in the right direction.

Ground and Center. Remember those New Year’s resolutions? Now is the time to reevaluate desires and let go of the pressure to do it all by being sincere with self. Instead of being busy and overwhelmed trying to do everything, be concentrated and effective doing a few things well.

Take at least 30 minutes each day to sit in silence, meditate, and be thankful. Strive to get home earlier in the evening and get more rest, even if it’s only an extra hour each night. Make space for participation in healing arts such as yoga, massage, reiki, reflexology, music circles, or any practice that appeals to personal needs, passion, and growth. Commit to a social media or television hiatus to make time for loved ones, healing practices, and clearing mental fog. Electronics vibrate at very high frequencies (mostly negative) and our bodies work hard to absorb, interpret, or deflect that energy even if we are not “paying attention.”

Increase these activities: Journaling, introspection, time spent with loved ones, time spent in nature, sleeping or resting, deep breathing, and meditation.

Here’s a final thought, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brownn

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Bri Jackson
Bri Jackson is a New York based certified trainer, yoga instructor, and wellness blogger. She is passionate about bringing simple clean eating, fitness, and inspiration to others. Connect with Bri on Instagram @Brittgotfit_ and her personal blog