Ayurvedic Recommendations for the Seasonal Transition to Fall/Winter
We all deal with a lot of transitions and changes throughout our lives and have felt the effects of instability or imbalance because of it. One of the most common-ground transitions is that of the seasons. Luckily, thanks to yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda, we have some tips and tricks to help your body adjust to the change in temperature, schedules, and overall vibe.
The Ayurvedic Doshas are three different types of energy bodies and physiological makeups that can be translated to people, the seasons, time of day, and time of life. Ayurveda is a beautiful rabbit hole of information that is very specific to each individual, so I will make this a very broad offering based on the seasonal Dosha, Vata.
Vata Season (Mid Fall-Mid Winter) is associated with Air & Ether/Wind
This time of year can be dry, windy and, in a general sense, very busy, frantic, and full of change (AHHHHH). No need to freak out, I have a tool belt of tips for you to apply to help ease your anxiety. To help transition into Fall/Winter, we can use grounding and balancing practices to help encourage ourselves to stay rooted and present.
1. Pranayama (Breathwork)
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Brings balance to both sides of the brain.
Begin in a comfortable seat, rest your left hand or fingertips on the ground beside you and bring your right hand into Vishnu Mudra (peace fingers rest to palm/thumb to right nostril, ring finger to left nostril).
Begin by inhaling through the left nostril, seal the left nostril, and exhale from the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril, seal the right, and exhale from the left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, seal the left, and exhale from the right nostril and continue to repeat for at least 20 rounds of breath.
2. Asana (Yoga Poses)
Earth Salutations (similar to Sun Salutations but kneeling variations and seated folds in place of standing ones) or any grounding flows are good. Think of balanced classes with a mix of a lower body-focused rooted flow and low to the ground yin/restorative postures. Bringing our awareness to our “roots” can encourage our frantic minds to come back down to earth. If you can’t sneak in a class or practice, go stand barefoot in the yard and breathe for a few minutes for the same effect.
3. Nourishing Foods
Oil-Tossed, heavily-spiced, and roasted squash and root vegetables are the way to your Vata heart this season. Bust out that crock pot and indulge all your soup, stews, and chili cravings. Well-cooked foods are gentle on your digestive system. Try drinking hot herbal teas with warming spices (think decaf chai) throughout the day to help encourage warmth and moisture within your system. Try to moderate your intake of dry and airy snack foods such as bread, popcorn, and pretzels or raw veggies.
With the hectic schedules and anxiety ridden holidays in full swing, now is the time to practice routine to help ground all that flighty energy. Practices of a short, seated meditation and oil swishing or pulling in the morning can encourage some “me-time” to reconnect with a steady self before diving into the external craziness. At night, a warm oil foot massage by yourself or your sweetie can encourage that grounding, rooting, and balanced feeling to return before you dip into slumber.
While every single one of these practices may not fit in or work for you, you may find that you can incorporate a few that can help to ease some seasonal distress. The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself, get rest, and try to find some grounding within despite all of the frantic outer circumstances.