In Ayurveda, “Ritucharya” is the practice of staying healthy and balanced according to the season. In Sanskrit, “Ritu” means season and “Charya” means regimen.
The seasons play an important role in the dominance of the doshas. Simply put, late winter and early spring are Kapha dominant periods, while late summer is the peak of Pitta dosha. Autumn is therefore Vata's climax.
By incorporating the daily routine of Ayurveda's Ritucharya, you can prevent the doshas from going out of control. With the weather outside changing quickly, it is now the perfect time to take action and start managing Vata dosha!
What does this seasonal change mean for us?
Each change of season has an effect on the doshas that operate within us. Because Vata dosha governs the principle of change and movement, Vata will accumulate at every change of season.
As described in the previous article about Vata, this dosha is related to the elements of Ether (Space) and Air (Wind) and has the following qualities: mobile, dry, cold, light, subtle, rough and is responsible for change, enthusiasm, creativity. Vata dosha brings lightness, and it is a great moment to meditate and create a connection with the universal consciousness, the more subtle realms.
However, if Vata accumulates too quickly, this can result in all kinds of complaints such as dryness of skin, insomnia, weight loss, constipation, tremors, anxiety, loneliness, feeling lost, and eventually physical or mental disease. To prevent this we use Vata’s opposite qualities.
Ayurvedic Tips to Keep You Balanced This Vata Season
Start your day with about 750ml of warm (boiled) water. This will cleanse the GI tract, replenish the bodily tissues, and help you to stay warm.
Eat seasonal, warm, and cooked foods like pumpkin, beets, carrots, grains, rice, heavier proteins, soups, casseroles, and use plenty of oil or ghee.
Use spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove, cumin, coriander, fennel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, nutmeg, dill, bay leaves, chilli, cardamom, turmeric, liquorice, black pepper, saffron, and rose.
Because Vata and its elements are related to the bitter and astringent tastes, it has a depleting effect. So, it is important to nourish yourself with sweet, salty, and sour tastes that are building the body.
With the cooler weather outside, it is important to stay warm, so make sure to wear thicker clothes and blankets. Be sweet to yourself and others, for example by giving some extra love and sharing things. Also, you could watch a romantic movie and listen to soft, slow music. Since the nights are getting longer, it is also good to sleep a little longer. A very typical Ayurvedic tip is Abhyanga, daily application of warm oil to the body. Use sesame oil because of its warming and heavy qualities that pacify Vata.
Protect yourself from the wind, too much screen time, loud sounds, and stress. And because of the increase of the Ether element, we are prone to feelings of anxiety, loneliness or feeling lost. Anchor yourself with a daily routine, find a purpose to hold on to, and connect to people who you care about.
Your Yoga Practice
When practising yoga, it is better to go for slower styles, like Yin. But if you want to keep doing your Astanga, or more intensive practice, try to do it slower, focus on grounding, soft, regular and fluid movement. And take an extra-long Savasana. Asanas that are balancing are Balasana, forward folds and balancing postures.
Take a Moment of Reflection
Last but not least, Vata is the end of the cycle of the three doshas - the perfect time for self-reflection. Ask yourself: what practices are beneficial to me, and what would I like to leave behind?
In Ayurveda, it is very important to experiment with what feels good to you, as every person is different. Hopefully, these tips will help you deal with the challenges of autumn, and keep you warm, connected and Juicy!
This blog was written by a student in our Ayurveda Practitioner Studies degree programme. If you are interested in becoming an Ayurveda Practitioner or want to deepen your professional knowledge, skills, and experience in the field of Ayurveda - see our website here.