A Guide to Vata Season

A Guide to Vata Season

Summer is on its way out the door and as the daylight begins to dwindle, we welcome the transition into fall, the season governed by Vata. Vata is the dosha ruled by air and space, and Vata season begins during fall and lasts until mid-winter. This season can bring along dry, cold, and flighty qualities that may create imbalances for those who already have Vata as a prominent part of their constitution.

All of us, regardless of our dosha, will experience symptoms of Vata imbalance to a certain degree. Keeping our doshas balanced through diet and nutrition, lifestyle changes, and herbs is essential in promoting well-being and preventing disease, during vata season and every season. Read on to learn more about how to keep Vata at bay and stay balanced all season long.

Vata Qualities

The vata dosha is governed by the elements of air and space. Some of its qualities, or gunas, include light, dry, sharp, mobile, and cold. The cooler days and rapid changes in our environment are all due to the energies Vata brings this time of year. The accumulation of air and space during this season makes it easy to feel flighty, anxious, and ungrounded.

Signs of Imbalance

A Vata imbalance is directly related to an excess amount of air and space in our system. When these elements become predominant in the body, they can create disruptions emotionally, physically and even lead to disease in the long term. This is why it’s important to become aware of the signs of Vata imbalances so you can stay on top of them. Some symptoms of vata imbalances include:

  • Spacy, racing mind
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Dry skin
  • Joint pain and cracking

Balancing Excess Vata

During the fall and early winter months, it’s important to balance an accumulation of Vata by incorporating its opposite qualities. So, in order to balance an excess of the light, dry, sharp, mobile, and cold qualities of vata, we’ll need to lean into warm, moist, heavy, and slow in all areas of our lives. Warmth, serenity, nourishment, and a stable routine should be prioritized during vata season to keep your mind and body healthy and balanced. Avoid packing your schedule full, running from place to place, eating quickly and eating things that are cold and dry, like iced beverages and snacks like chips and crackers.

Shift Your Daily Routines and Practices

Vata has a very quick and sharp nature, so favor movement that’s slow and intentional, and where you can be fully present. When Vata acts up, it’s natural to feel like your thoughts are quick and flighty and that it's difficult to rest and stay still. Luckily, the practices of yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda provide ways for us to sync our bodies to the cycles of nature, balance any excess doshas, and experience the wisdom each season has to offer. Here are some ways to shift your lifestyle and daily routines to balance Vata.

  • Mindful movement. Practicing slow, gentle yoga, mindful walking, and intentional stretching are great ways to move vata energy.
  • Meditation. Incorporating meditation every day for at least five minutes, while intentionally focusing on slowing your breath, is an excellent way to calm excess vata.
  • Daily routines. Slow down your daily rituals and routines during this time—no rushing through your mornings and evenings to get on with your day. Create a daily schedule where you do your routines at the same time for a sense of security and consistency.
  • Seek comfort. Prioritize creating a warm, relaxing, and safe space to retreat and ground down this fall. Clean up your space and add blankets, beeswax candles and warm colors to create a cozy atmosphere where you can unwind.

Adjust Your Diet

Diet and nutrition are integral parts of Ayurvedic medicine. The food that you eat and herbs and spices you incorporate in your life are essential when it comes to balancing your doshas. Choosing foods, spices, and herbs with opposite qualities of the dosha you are balancing is an important part of pacifying a dosha imbalance. During the fall, choosing foods, herbs and spices that are warming, moist, and heavy can help to balance excess vata.

Make it a point to eat warm, moist, and well-spiced foods during this time. Some foods with moist qualities are nuts, seeds, ghee, and oils. Favor drinking hot water, hot tea, and warm soups when you can. Some other balancing foods for Vata include:

  • Sweet potato
  • Root vegetables
  • Banana
  • Papaya
  • Meats
  • Broth
  • Dates
When it comes to spices, prioritize warming and robust flavor profiles like cinnamon, ginger, pepper, clove and turmeric. These spices all have heating qualities, which help stimulate our digestive fire, allowing for easier digestion and elimination as well as pacifying the excess cold that a vata imbalance can cause.