Transitioning into Fall Vata Season

September 5, 2013

“It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet.”
– Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

Transitioning into Fall Vata Season

Here in the Northeastern US where I live, fall is in the air. Well, sort of. It’s ever so subtle, but you can sense it. Apples have arrived at the farmer’s market and there’s a palpable excitement. The days have still been very hot, but cooler nights are in the forecast and the wind is beginning to blow.

Even though the official date of the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is September 22nd, it’s time to prepare for the seasonal shift. Ayurveda would say that it’s critical to our health.

The junctures between the seasons are the perfect time to cleanse the body of any excesses which might have built up, both in the body and the mind.

Failure to do this is an invitation for a disease to set in if the body and mind are in a weakened state.

During the summer months of Pitta Season, excess heat is likely to have accumulated and might be expressing itself in any or all of the following ways:

  • Skin problems such as rash, eczema, hives, psoriasis or dermatitis
  • Feeling of heat trapped in the body, hot flashes
  • Burning or itching sensations
  • Digestive issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, burping, nausea, loose stools or diarrhea, intense hunger
  • Yellow coating on the tongue
  • Bleeding gums or canker sores
  • Excessive sweating (pungent-smelling)
  • Excessive thirst
  • Feelings of anger, jealousy, criticism, impatience

None of these symptoms, as harmless as they may seem, should be taken lightly.

They are red flags of an imbalance that, left untreated, can lead to more serious problems.

Pay attention. You do not want to enter Vata Season with these imbalances. The energy of Vata will only exacerbate them. Vata moves everything (air is the predominant element) and can drive imbalances deeper into the tissues and channels of the body.

If any of this relates to you, follow these Pitta-pacifying suggestions and then consider doing an Ayurvedic cleanse.

It’s imperative that you clear out this excess heat before doing any cleanse or detox programs.

Check out this easy Fall Cleanse Guide based on your constitutional type. Some of us need very gentle cleansing while others can be a little more rigorous.

Fall cleanse guide for Ayurvedic constitutions by Banyan Botanicals, Barbara Sinclair Holistic Health

What to expect during Vata Season (Fall/Early Winter)

The principle elements of Vata dosha are air and ether (space).The attributes of Vata dosha are dry, mobile, cold, light, rough, clear and subtle. All of these attributes are heightened during Vata Season. Any movement in the body or mind is driven by Vata energy.

There are so many wonderful things about Vata Dosha

Vata-types, when balanced, are creative, joyful, forgiving and flexible. They thrive on change and love to discover and experience new things. It’s no coincidence that school starts back up in the fall, people get excited about new projects, and creativity is in full bloom.

But when the wind begins to blow and the air becomes cold and dry, Vata, the dosha of movement, can easily become unbalanced. I am already feeling it myself. Fall has always been my favorite season, but it also has derailed me many times. Armed with the knowledge of Ayurveda, I can now face these challenges head-on.

Here are a few signs that your Vata dosha might be increased and needs balancing

  • Bothered by cold and wind
  • Feelings of heightened anxiety, nervousness, and fear
  • Excess worrying
  • Sleep is interrupted and light
  • Excess stimulation is bothersome–i.e. crowds and loud noises
  • Intestinal gas, constipation
  • Dryness–skin, hair, stools, eyes, etc.
  • Feeling disorganized and overwhelmed
  • Can’t sit still
  • Fatigue following bursts of energy (this is typical of Vata energy)

Like increases like in Ayurveda, so think opposite to bring your Vata back into balance by

  • Dressing warmly and keeping a scarf around your neck, especially if windy. The back of the neck is very vulnerable to wind
  • Eating  warm, gently cooked seasonal foods. Root vegetables are especially grounding for Vata’s.
  • Avoiding cold drinks. Opt instead for warm beverages like spiced herbal teas, warm spiced milk, or warm lemon water with honey
  • Eating enough healthy fats and oils (especially ghee)
  • Avoiding over-exercising, which can aggravate already high-energy Vata. Gentle yoga, t’ai chi, and qigong are excellent choices
  • Taking quiet walks in nature is grounding for airy Vatas
  • Meditation and pranayama (breathing practice) can help soothe Vata anxiety and fear
  • Daily self-massage with warm grounding oils like sesame or almond oil is extremely calming to the nervous system Try this Vata body oil
  • Keeping a regular routine with regards to sleeping, eating, working, etc. is imperative for Vatas, who love variety and can easily lose focus. An ideal bedtime is between 9:30–10:00pm
  • Nurturing yourself as much as possible on a daily basis!

While it’s tempting to eat bushels of apples (both apples and pomegranates are great for pulling excess heat out of the body), don’t overdue raw fruits and vegetables at this time as it may create too much dampness in the body if your digestion is not strong.

Small amounts, and gently cooked, are especially pacifying for Vata. If you eat local, seasonal whole foods and follow the food guidelines for your constitution, you’ll be on the right track.

Time to say goodbye to Pitta Season and welcome Vata Season. Ready or not, here it comes!

Much love,

Discover Your Ayurvedic Constitution

  1. This is incredibly informative, thank you. I am a Yoga teacher on the East Coast. I am incredibly interested in learning about and passing along this ancient knowledge to my students. Where did you study?

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