An Ayurvedic Guide to Vata Season

Autumn begins, and with it, the time for Vata. The air becomes significantly cooler, and the leaves slowly start falling from the trees. Whenever these transitional conditions begin, Ayurvedic autumn/winter starts. The perfect opportunity to interview Lindsey Rozmes, Curriculum Director, E-RYT 500hr certified Yoga teacher, and NAMA certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor.

Dear Lindsey, when the year slowly comes to an end, according to Ayurveda, the time of Vata begins. Seasonal changes can affect the human organism and also our mental well-being. Do you have any recommendations on how to have a smooth transition into the colder season? 

Ayurveda teaches us that we are part of the nature that surrounds us. We are made up of the same elements — earth, water, fire, air, space. As we shift from season to season, the elements shift too! Vata dosha is comprised of air and space elements. Its characteristics are cold, dry, rough, light, mobile, and irregular. To balance Vata and its qualities, we introduce the opposite qualities –warm, oily, smooth, heavy, stable, and regular! For a smooth transition into the Vata season, you can favor warm cooked meals instead of cold and raw foods. Avoid iced drinks and instead drink warm tea or water. You can slow down your pace and schedule more downtime in your daily routine. Vata season is a time to get grounded and restore rather than to push and deplete.

Ayurveda considers the change from one season to the next as especially challenging for our immune system; Do you have any tips on preventing colds? 

If you want to enhance your immunity, you have to make sure Agni (digestive fire) is strong! You can strengthen your digestive fire by drinking warm ginger tea or having a small piece of fresh ginger before meals. Eat good quality seasonal foods so that your meals are nourishing! Consider cooking with ghee and digestive spices like turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and cumin.  

Do you have any nutrition recommendations for the Vata season? Is there anything we should pay special attention to now that the season is changing? 

Mother nature naturally gives us what we need seasonally. If you go to the farmers market and buy whatever is fresh and local, the chances are high that it will be ayurvedically balancing for you and where you live.  

The Vata balancing tastes are sweet, sour, and salty. Think root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, and pumpkins! Warm grains like rice and oats. A squeeze of citrus. Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom.

To balance the cold, dry, rough, and light qualities of Vata, favor meals that are warm, soft, dense, and a bit oily. 

Do you have a favorite Ayurvedic recipe you would like to share with us? 

One of my favorite Ayurvedic treats is golden milk! It is an anti-inflammatory tonic that is nourishing, building, and rejuvenating. It’s great as a nightcap and for satisfying sweet cravings.

Ingredients: 

1 cup organic whole milk (or dairy alternative of choice) 

1/2 tsp ground turmeric 

1/4 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp ghee 

Pinch of black pepper 

½-1 tsp raw honey (optional) 

Directions: In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just below a boil. Add all the other ingredients, except the honey, and whisk by hand until frothy. Pour into a mug, sweeten with honey (if using), and enjoy warm. 

Do you have an Ayurvedic self-care ritual you follow? 

I do! An Ayurvedic daily self-care routine is called “Dinacharya.” It is a morning practice that consists of miniature daily cleansing practices to help keep the body and mind balanced and at ease. My Dinacharya includes waking at the same time every morning, tongue scraping, a glass of warm water, and meditation.

Is it advisable to adjust our daily routine now that the days get shorter? 

Yes! Ayurveda recommends that we make small shifts or changes to our daily routine from season to season to remain balanced. Each season has different recommendations for diet and lifestyle. Take your sleep seriously; try to get to bed by 10 pm. Invite more “Sattva”  into your life – stay calm, listen to soothing music, try not to overstimulate yourself. 

Is there anything else we can do to balance Vata? 

Yes! One of the most supportive self-care practices for Vata dosha is “abhyanga,” which is self-massage with warm oil. Abhyanga is an excellent practice for quieting the nerves and getting grounded. The warm oil also helps to create a barrier from the disruptive energies surrounding us and settle into a more peaceful state of mind. If oiling up doesn’t sound fun to you, hit a Yin or restorative class – so soothing for Vata!