How to navigate Autumn/ Winter from an Ayurvedic Perspective

by Joy Golding

Worker wellbeing - Arms up yoga at work
September 23rd marked the Autumnal Equinox, the official shift from Summer (Pitta/Fire) into Autumn( Vata/Air).

Our bodies sense this shift on a deep ancestral level.

Vata season lasts all the way through until late Winter. Ayurveda says, what’s going outside is also what’s going on inside in varying degrees. Vata’s nature is light, cold, rough, dry, scattered and unpredictable, just like Autumn.

Our body/mind also experience these traits. Common complaints include, anxiety, bloating, dryness, cracking joints, feeling spacey. Like increases like in Ayurveda. Therefore, our remedy is just the opposite.

Think warming, grounding, soothing and nourishing. This applies to our yoga practices as well as our way of eating and daily routines.

Modern life has us racing through the next few months, sliding into the holidays with our pants in our teeth. Just the opposite is encouraged. Slowing down, retreat, restore, marinade in your own silence. This is a time for introspection and taking really good care of yourself.

Be mindful in your yoga practice, try not to overdo it. Cultivating a good circadian rhythm by bare eyes to the sunrise (yes before looking at your phone) using Red Light panels on cloudy days to set the body’s hormones right. Eating only during daylight hours, taking our largest meal at midday and wearing some blue blocking eye protection for TV and screens after dark, ensures proper melatonin release for restorative sleep.

Stress and bad sleep hygiene only intensify Vata – 5,000 years ago the Rishi’s and Yogis didn’t have WiFi, just fire and candles, I bet they slept great!

Eating after dark can also be problematic as the body needs to work on detoxing the brain and repairing itself when we sleep, digesting food only makes that job harder and not as efficient.

Usually a light evening meal like soup or stew is very nourishing and easy to digest, try to finish by 5pm, leaving 3-4 hours to digest and have restorative sleep.

If you have an evening yoga practice, a good idea is to have a good size meal at noon, then maybe a nighttime hot drink before bed, tea, hot milk with cinnamon, very soothing for Vata.

I wish you a calm and beautiful Vata season filled with the amazing colours and smells that Autumn and early Winter have to offer.

Big deep breaths Yogis.

Om Shanti