Throughout the year each of the three Ayurvedic doshas—Vata, Pitta, Kapha—becomes more prominent in the environment. Late fall to early winter is known as Vata season in Ayurveda. This time of year shares many qualities that distinguish Vata: cold, dry, rough, mobile.
Ayurveda honors change—internally within ourselves and externally within in our environment. A change of season calls for shifts in our wellness routines in order to maintain balance and alignment with nature. Vata season is a time to hunker down and restore. The following elements are ways to honor what the colder days call for us—and ultimately, to help maintain mind-body balance and alignment with nature.
1. Eat Warming Foods
Because the air tends to be colder and drier, it is essential to transition into eating warmer healthy foods and drinks. Lean toward oily, moist, and smooth foods. Think comforting, nourishing stews and soups. Add healthy fats and oils to dishes, such as avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, whole milk, nuts, seeds, berries, melons, summer squash, zucchini, and yogurt. Green grapes, oranges, and pineapple are also beneficial during Vata season, but in smaller quantities
On the flip side, taper off from cold and frozen foods, including chilled beverages. Also avoid dry foods, like popcorn, crackers, and grains. And limit stimulates, like coffee.
2. Honor Rest
Anxiety and stress come easily during Vata season, so it is important to take care of oneself (even in high-pressure moments). Honor an earlier bed time and meditate to calm nerves. (In general, Vata people tend to have trouble sleeping.) Also try rubbing feet with sesame oil (or a wellness oil) to help promote better rest.
3. Listen To Your Skin
Vata season is usually dry, which calls for additional support to help skin stay hydrated and nourished. (In general, Vata skin tends to be dry, darker, and cool to the touch with a tendency for roughness.) Keep the body and skin hydrated from within by drinking plenty of water. Nourish from the outside with gentle cleansers that won’t strip, aloe-and rosewater-based toners, and nurturing oils that maintain an effective moisture barrier. Rose oil is excellent at hydrating and nurturing dry or maturing skin, while Frankincense essential oil works at the cellular level to promote cellular regeneration necessary for battling fine lines. Pomegranate oil, rich in fatty acids, restores firmness and elasticity.