Fall and winter are Vata season. In Ayurveda, Vata is the airy type which is aggravated in cold and windy weather. In this time of the year, we should nourish and ground ourselves to not get out of balance so quickly. Excess Vata can make us feel ungrounded, anxious, spaced out and nervous. When the seasons change we should also change our daily habits and adjust them to the new conditions. The weather is getting colder and it´s getting dark earlier so we should also go more inwards and spend time reflecting and nourishing ourselves with everything that is warm and comforting. To many people this is natural and we do it anyways as it is simply too uncomfortable to spend the days outside when it is raining and cold.
However, there are many who follow their daily routine throughout the year without adjustments. But what we consider to be healthy, does not always have to be healthy for everyone. When it comes to food and exercise for example, there are certain healthy habits which might be amazing for one person but not so great for the other one.
Thinking ice cold smoothie first thing in the morning, not good for anyone as your body needs something warm first to wake up your digestive fire. I can understand, why people in tropic climates would need something cooling, but if you live in Europe during winter, why would you drink anything ice cold? Your body needs to put so much effort into digesting it, which will not be really helpful for proper assimilation of the nutrients. If you are sensitive, that could be one reason why you feel so imbalanced sometimes and we don´t want that. So here are a few things how you can keep your balance in the colder seasons:
Stay warm and hydrated
When it´s already cold outside, you need warmth inside. Start your day with hot water and add some lemon, ginger, herbs and honey if you like. This is a gentle wake-up call for your body and your digestion. If you are a coffee junky, by all means, you should drink it but maybut you can just postpone it a bit and have some hydration first? Don´t want to bitch about coffee here, but we all know that it is a diuretic and will not replenish your body like good old water will do. Add some lemon and you can already cross off some vitamin c and antioxidants from your to do list.
Eat the heat
Same goes for food: I know that we were always taught that salad and smoothies are oh so healthy and we should have them all the time. But especially raw leafy greens are super hard to digest and most people in industrial countries simply do not have the healthy gut to break it down properly. Ever wondered why you feel bloated after that huge salad with raw veggies?
Furthermore, it is so cold and dry. Two qualities we do not want because it will aggravate Vata and feelings like anxiety and nervousness. Go for warming soups, stews and cooked meals and add root vegetables as they are super grounding. Eat a small salad on the side and if you have to have a smoothie, please do not add frozen fruit and ice cubes but real, fresh fruit and drink it room temperature. Maybe you could try a hot porridge with fruit in the morning sometime?
For some types of people, excessive sports will push them too hard and can have an ungrounding effect. Figure out what your body needs! If you can handle it, go for it, but if you are more on the sensitive side, think about doing something that will not put a strain on your body and health. Try gentle ways to move like dancing, yoga, pilates and walking. Grab your coat and get out in nature, maybe you have a forest nearby, the sea or at least a park if you´re living in the city. Spending some time in the fresh air will help you clear your mind and soothe you.
There is a wide range of Vata balancing asanas to calm you. If you are suffering from anxiety, nervousness and insomnia, Yin Yoga is definitely always a good start. To calm down an overactive nervous system, forward bends and shavasana are your number one postures. Standing postures, hip openers, supine asanas and inversions are also fine to balance Vata. Definitely avoid excess twists, backbends, arm balances and core work as they increase it. Read more about Yoga and the doshas here or book a 1 on 1 session with me.
Breathwork and Meditation
If you can´t go outside, go inside. If you´re feeling spaced out and anxious, your mind is constantly racing and won´t let you sleep at night. Know that feeling? Same here. Now what you really want to do is calming your overactive mind and control your thoughts, otherwise they control you.
Being in that condition is not really the right time to start meditation because it will be super hard and you will be even more frustrated.Try pranayama breathwork instead. There are easy calming practices like Nadi Shodana and Brahmari for beginners which help you to relax and wind down. If you want to know more about pranayama read more hereor get in contact to book your session with me here.
Fighting the blues
Uhg, we are back at the dark time of the year. Literally. Don´t go there, spiraling down in negative thoughts, feeling sad and depressed. Pamper yourself, you deserve it! Take a hot bath in sea or epsom salt and scrub the old skin away. Have a beauty spa day or go to a sauna to boost your immune system. Use the time to stay at home more and read a great book or cuddle up and watch a movie or pick up the phone and talk to a friend of family member. It is scientifically proven that when you clean your house you also clean your head. Try it, works wonders for me! Besides, it is so much nicer staying in when you feel comfortable in your apartment.
Honestly, nothing beats a good routine. Yeah, I know, might sound boring at first, but a proper daily routine is super helpful with staying grounded. We are not talking about doing everything the same each day. It can be small things to integrate into your day like picking up a morning habit like 20 mins of pranayama. Want to eat healthier? Try eating a small salad with every meal or one fruit for breakfast. Watching Netflix till you fall asleep on the couch? Read a few pages of a good book every night to help you fall asleep better or do some gentle yoga before bed. I´m a routine junky so if you need some inspiration read more here.
These are my go-to methods to stay grounded or go back to this state if I´m not. Our body want´s to maintain the state that it is in and will be drawn to things to maintain that state. If you are balanced and happy, it is easy to make good choices. When you´re nervous and anxious your body tends to gravitate towards things that will aggravate it even more. You need to be aware of that and push gently into the other direction towards peace of mind and balance.
Let me know in the comments below how you are coping with Vata season and what methods you use to stay grounded. <3