Understanding the elements of each season can help you reduce any adverse effects. In Ayurveda it’s important to keep in mind that your predominant dosha increases during the season it governs, so make sure to choose foods and activities that will pacify and not aggravate it.
Leaf-scuttling winds mark the start of vata season, which ayurveda characterizes as light, dry, rough, hard, mobile, irregular, cool—the very qualities we associate with late fall and early winter. The weather turns cold, winds blow, and the earth becomes dry, hard, rough—maybe even a bit icy in certain parts of the country. Vata is the queen of change, so you’ll need to watch out for dry skin, irregular digestion, and unpredictable energy of the season, which can easily leave you depleted, overwhelmed, and distracted by all the excitement. Here’s what you can do:
STAY AWAY FROM RAW, COLD FOODS
Take extra care to keep your internal fire (agni) kindled. Eat warm, moist foods—think stews, soups, and root veggies—and save the salads and cold snacks for summer.
WARM UP WITH HOT DRINKS
Cozy up with a blanket or an outdoor fire and a cup of masala chai. Warm milk laced with ghee and honey is a perfect nighttime magical portion.
STICK TO A ROUTINE
Make sure you do agni sara every day, as well as schedule some alone time, restorative yoga, and meditation practices. Other daily Ayurvedic practices, including abyhanga — oiling the body with warming sesame oil will help you stay steady and feel comforted. It’s all about balancing your prominent dosha, making sure there are no energy blockages.
Kapha season extends from winter days, when the ground freezes solid, to mud-luscious early spring, the sap rises, and the first tentative shoots break through the ground. These conditions disturb kapha dosha’s heavy, dense, wet, gooey, stable, cool qualities. To pacify kapha during the early part of this season:
SWITCH UP YOUR DIET.
Turn to foods that are lighter, drier, pungent, and warming. As soon as they’re available, eat the first bounty of the season—sprouts, berries and other spring greens—which naturally support cleansing and avoid overindulging.
Do things that get you up and out of the house—early. Get up before kapha time (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.), and get in some exercise—bike riding, walking, or other light aerobic activity—before 10 a.m. This schedule will help you fend off seasonal weight gain.
COMMIT TO A ROUTINE.
Daily use of your tongue scraper, neti pot, will help with seasonal allergies and keep kapha from building.
Nature builds heat all through pitta season until, at the start of autumn, the leaves on the trees turn bright orange, yellow, and red, as if they were living flames on each branch. These leaves are lighter in nature, only slightly moist, intense, hot, sharp, and focused on their goal of transformation—just like pitta dosha. We can enjoy the passion of the season without burning up by following this advice.
A daily sip or two of aloe vera juice will douse your internal heat. Summer’s bounty offers plenty of ways to keep cool: cucumbers, mint, water melon, coconut water, and of course mangos.
AVOID THE HEAT OF THE DAY.
Staying out of the sun during pitta time (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) helps keep your mental and emotional energy from overheating.
MAKE TIME TO PRACTICE.
Pitta types can become myopic and intense, so add a cooling breathing practice like sheetali pranayama to balance things out. Doing lateral yoga poses like janu shirshasana (head to knee pose) or utthita parshvakonasana (side angle pose) will dissipate the internal heat, and a rubdown with coconut oil will cool your skin.