As the sun gets lower in the sky and we bid goodbye to summer, it’s a good time to recognize the cycles in nature and how they can affect us. According to ayurveda, where there is harmony with our environment there is health; where there is disharmony there is disease. Therefore, the key to managing the change of seasons lies in understanding what is happening in our bodies and what we can do to create balance with the changing environment.
In nature, as in the mind and body, there are three biological forces that govern the physical universe. These forces are known as dosha. Each dosha is made up of elements that are expressed by the qualities of those elements. In this fall season, the crisp, dry and cooler qualities of the environment are governed by vata, which is the dosha made up of air and ether. In our bodies, vata governs circulation, inspiration, expression, assimilation and elimination. If vata rises in the body, just as it does in nature this time of year, the body can get dry and systems can get slowed down as they dry out. Symptoms such as cold hands and feet, dry skin, stiff joints and fatigue can be common ailments. In the mind, the increased movement of vata brings on an aimlessness and lack of focus, creating conditions of anxiety, restlessness and worry.
Our body wisdom balances the increase of vata by craving warm soups, stews and wearing heavier clothing. We can help assuage the dryness by doing a daily self-massage with warm sesame oil, which will lubricate the skin and nourish body tissue. Using more oil internally will also help combat dryness internally, like adding ghee or oil to cooked food.
For the mind, eating at approximately the same times each day and going to sleep and waking up at the same times will help ground the mind to feel more stable amidst all this change. Reducing stimulation like cell phones and computer use before bed will help the mind and body wind down for a restful and restorative sleep. A daily meditation practice of controlled breathing will also quiet the restlessness that comes with increased vata.
Understanding our relationship to nature is the basis of ayurveda. With this knowledge, each person can begin to create a lifestyle that adjusts to the changes in nature and creates harmony within.
Source: EverVeda, located at 140 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay. For more information, call 516-721-4216 or visit EverVeda.com.