In the northern hemisphere, where it is Autumn, it is the season when Vata dominates. (If you are in the southern hemisphere, enjoying the warming of spring, look for the tag Kapha here on my site to learn more about Spring’s seasonal tendencies and how to work with them to maintain balance.)
Vata means “wind, air, to flow, to move or to command.” Vata is the underlying force that governs all movement in the body including circulation, muscular movement, joints, nerves, thoughts and digestion. When Vata is healthy and balanced we have good energy, mental alertness, emotional intelligence, creativity, and attuned senses that enables us to listen, engage, connect and inspire.
But when Vata dominates in the climate or season it can cause imbalances marked by less energy, reduced immune function, memory loss, restlessness, a scattered, frazzled mind, dry skin, stiff joints, and sleep disturbances. If this “Vata imbalance” is not managed, it can lead to mental, physical, and chronic disorders. In fact, Ayurveda considers that some degree of Vata vitiation is involved in all disease.
So we need to keep our Vata in check. Which is great, because keeping Vata in check means doing the things most of us love – sinking in to warm, loving, restful, delicious, nurturing daily rituals. It’s like a doctor’s prescription to take a break and indulge (mindfully)!
Since I find this is what most of us need in this day and age, every day and at any age, my blog is full of crazy love, big hug, Vata-balancing, Ojas-building, full body embracing nourishment ~ and these are my favorite four for this season.
Rice is so nutritive. It is also easy on digestion and pairs with everything. It can be a breakfast porridge, a hearty lunch with a well-spiced dal, and, at the end of the day, it’s great with vegetable broth for an easy, no fuss dinner. This Cardamom Rice Pudding is one of those luscious, break-the-rules and eat-it-anytime, comfort foods. It is ideal for Vata, and really for anyone, always.
Spices are the supreme secret to sumptuous Autumn wellness. They may be tiny, but they are flavor and nutrient-packed food engines. You can add your favorite spice to everything – food, tea, coffee, drinking water, warm baths, a daily steam, body oil – really, go all out. Spices are nature’s way of saying “I’ve got your back.” You can relax and let go. Really, you can.
Thanks to Ayurveda, the allergies mentioned in this blog post on Curried Sweet Potato Soup are under control. But whether or not you have food allergies, this is a highly digestible, highly nutritious, highly lovable, simple one-bowl, easy clean up meal. It’s worth it even just for that gorgeous jewel of a color, no?
For the past four years, the Deep Sleep Tonic has remained constantly, as in eternally and never not, at the top of the list of the most favorite posts here on my blog. That might be telling us something about our current condition – do we all need more sleep? And since rest is in order, let’s simplify the recipe: Take one cup of fresh, whole milk (or rice or almond milk) and blend it with two dates, a dollop of ghee, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom. Once it is thoroughly blended, warm it gently just until it begins to boil. Enjoy an hour before bedtime.
As the legendary Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, tells us, “Vata Dosha is the life. It is the strength. It is the sustainer of the body. It holds the body and life together. Vata is all-pervasive, and Vata is the controller of everything in the universe.” So you see, you have a supreme purpose in indulging yourself mindfully and lovingly. You help uphold the universe when you nourish yourself well. Doctor’s orders!
What are your favorite wellness rituals, and how do you stay warm in winter?
Please share so we can all stay warm and well. If you do, please include #myfoodlovestory so I can find it and share too.
Thank you ~ and always Namaste!