The western fall season is characterized by an increase in the following vata (air element based) qualities: It becomes more cold, mobile (think windy, moving, changing, erratic), dry, rough, light (as in the opposite of heavy), subtle, and clear.
In Ayurveda, the way we cultivate balance is by applying the opposite to an aggravated quality. So if someone is hot, we cool them down. If someone is cold, we warm them up. If there’s too much mobility, we cultivate stability. If something is dry, we add oil. This is what we are going to do for the qualities of the fall season – apply the opposite quality.
Each dosha goes through a cycle of accumulation, aggravation and normalization over the course of the season changes. Here are the specifics for Vata Dosha:
v Accumulation occurs during the summer as the heat of summer dehydrates (increases dryness).
v Aggravation happens when the cold quality increases in the fall and through the winter. The combination of the cold and dry gunas together are the most aggravating for Vata dosha according to Dr. Lad.
v Normalization occurs as the hot and moist (oily and liquid) qualities increase in the spring.
Each season influences the environment, bodily cells, organs, tissues and doshas in a unique way. This creates subtle shifts in the emotions and the mind as well. Therefore the seasonal changes catalyze shifts in our qualities on all levels, because we too are nature. According to Ayurveda, one of the three causative factors of dis-ease season change. Have you ever noticed how many people get sick at the season changes? Being able to transition from season to season well is important for our health and well-being.
It is important to remember that each geographic location has its own seasonal patterns. What happens in Canada is different than what happens in another area like China, India, or Australia.
Just as people can have an imbalance in their constitution (dosha prakriti), so can seasons. When you hear the term “unseasonable weather”, it is referring to seasonal imbalances.
This means that we need to pay attention, day by day (moment by moment), to the qualities that are manifesting and adjust our routines accordingly.
During the vata season we must be particularly mindful of the tissues governed by vata dosha. They will have a tendency to show us imbalance first. These include:
· Colon (main site)
· Brain and nervous system
· Urinary Bladder
Vata imbalances manifest in the following way:
· Gas & Bloating
· Colds & Flus
· Joint Pain
One of the classic Ayurvedic texts called the Ashtanga Hridayam describes it this way:
“Vata, when increased (more than its normal) produces emaciation, black dis-coloration, desire for hot things, tremors, distention of the abdomen, constipation, loss of strength, sleep and sensory functions, irrelevant speech, giddiness and timidity.”
For this week, your homework is to check in regularly and see if you notice any of the Vata/Fall qualities within yourself – do you get cold? Are you mobile? Is your skin dry? Is there roughness in you? Are you feeling subtle, light, or clear?
Then tune in next week as I begin to dive into the things we can do to manage the season change, and how we can bring balance into our system through lifestyle, routine, and diet.