Dear Beautiful Yogi,
Wow, fall is really in the air. In the Bay Area, the days have been nice and warm, but the nights and mornings are COLD! There’s no more denying that winter is on its way and we are in the midst of vata season. Vata season in Ayurvedic terminology is the time of year when vata dosha (elements of air and space) dominate.
Vata is all about movement and change. Think about the weather this time of year. The winds pick up (hello Bay Area power outages). One day might be warm, the next kinda cold. It could rain, but mostly it’s extremely dry from the summer. Vata is all things light, dry, changeable, cold, quick, unstable…you get the picture.
So, as we go from long, warm, bright summer days into the cold, dry and windy season, what can we do to support our bodies, minds and immune systems?
There are three things I have already started to do:
- Hot water with ghee first thing in the morning. Just like we want to moisturize the skin on the outside, we also want to lubricate and moisturize our insides. Ghee is one of the good fats and is highly revered in both yoga and Ayurveda for its nutrition, healing qualities and digestive support. Taking ghee first thing in hot water before consuming anything else, sends this oil right through the digestive track. It wards off constipation and adds a healthy fat to your system right away. Here is a wonderful article on the benefits of ghee: Ghee Health Benefits I add about a teaspoonful of ghee to 4-8 oz of hot water and sip. You can also add a teaspoon full of ghee to your hot morning beverage.
- Start eating soups! Here is another way to combat the dryness of the season and support your digestion. Homemade soups (or healthy store-bought ones) are a great source of nutrition, warm you on the inside and are usually easy to digest. I love to make a big pot, eat on it for a few days and if there is still some left over, I freeze it for a future date when I need a quick and healthy meal. Favorites are veggie soup with beans and pasta, potato leek, butternut squash, Hungarian mushroom and spiced lentils.
- Daily oiling (abhyanga). Our skin is our biggest organ and what we put on it goes inside of us. Ayurveda teaches daily oiling as a means of self-care and personal routine. I might not be as diligent other times of the year but in the fall, I cannot skip a day. It’s so dry I have to apply oil everyday. I use a simple sesame oil from Banyan Botanicals which I order in bulk: Sesame Oil, because it’s a warmer oil than coconut. Coconut oil is better during the summer. I always apply at night after a shower so it can sink in overnight (warning, it will stain your clothes so be careful what you wear). When I am really feeling dry, I apply it in morning too. Cover your whole body with a light massage action from the ground up and even include your face. You will notice a big difference in your skin.
These three simple additions to your daily routine will make you feel good and also support your immunity as we head into cold and flu season.