Fall for Vata - Optimize Your Health This AutumnWith vata at the forefront of your constitution, you will need to be especially mindful of calming vata this fall. You will benefit from following as many of the general autumn recommendations as possible. And of all the types, you will need to be the most vigilant about protecting moisture, staying warm, and creating a sense of routine and stability in your life. Foods to Favor Your diet has a powerful impact on your physiology. By choosing nourishing foods that are inherently warming, cooked, piced (but not fiery hot), you can significantly reduce your risk of vata imbalance this fall. Foods that will be especially supportive include ripe bananas, lemons, mangos, oranges, peaches, plums, carrots, olives, onions, brown rice, kidney beans, seitan, miso, urad dal, nut butters, almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, butter, cheese, ghee, eggs, beef, chicken, and fish. Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences If you enjoy meat, now is a great time of year to indulge in it. If you prefer the sweet taste, treat yourself to some moist dessert breads—things like banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, and carrot cake. Or, try some nourishing treats like a date shake or sun balls. You can also promote sound sleep by taking some spiced-milk before bed: boil about a cup of milk, stir in a little maple syrup or natural sugar, and add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a teaspoon of ghee, let cool, and drink. Foods to Minimize Be careful about how many legumes you eat; they are drying and can create wind in the body. If you do enjoy a rare salad, eat it at lunchtime and be sure to garnish it generously with an oily dressing. Minimize your intake of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, and beans, and if you do eat them occasionally, make sure they are well-cooked, well-spiced, and well-oiled, and soak your beans overnight before cooking them. It is best to forego black tea, coffee, and frozen foods. Lifestyle Adjustments Try to make time for a regular self-massage with sesame oil, gentle exercise in the morning or evening, deep breaths throughout the day, and self-reflection or meditation on a daily basis. During yoga, practice a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing, invite fluidity and grace into your asana practice, and be careful not to get chilled. In general, your tendency may be to fill your days with constant activity, to accumulate stress, and to become a bit flighty. Carve out plenty of time to simply relax, even though you may find it difficult to “do nothing.” If you feel your energy waning, try a short afternoon nap. Remember that “less is more” and that multitasking is certain to disperse your energy.
Fall for Vata-Pitta and Pitta-Vata Optimize Your Health This AutumnBecause you’re transitioning from pitta season to vata season, both of your primary doshas will need some attention this fall. You’ll want to center yourself and watch your pace to ensure that neither pitta nor vata get over-stimulated, and you’ll need to offer your tissues some deep nourishment. Foods to Favor While your diet will be aimed at pacifying both vata and pitta, focus on cooling autumn foods in the early fall: avocados, sweet berries, coconut, dates, figs, red grapes, melons, soaked prunes, asparagus, cilantro, cucumber, green beans, okra, parsnips, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, summer squash, zucchini, amaranth, oatmeal, quinoa, basmati rice, wheat, mung beans, tofu, ghee, soaked and peeled almonds, pine nut, and sunflower seeds. Then, as the weather cools, add some heating foods like mango, sweet oranges, cooked carrots, leeks, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, fish. As you make this transition, consider adding cardamom, cinnamon, dill, fresh ginger, parsley, savory, and lemon to your pitta-pacifying standbys of cumin, coriander, fennel, mint, and saffron. Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences Sweet taste calms both vata and pitta, so fall is a good time to indulge your sweet tooth a bit. Nourishing sweets with some substance—warm nut milky puddings, a date shake, or sun balls—will feel better than nutritionally empty, sugary snacks. You could also treat yourself to a cup of hot, spiced-almond milk (with a little nutmeg, cinnamon, ghee, and honey) before bed to promote sound sleep. Foods to Minimize Go easy on foods that aggravate both vata and pitta like cranberries, corn, eggplant, raw onions, radishes, turnips, millet, and wheat. Beyond that, pay attention to your digestion and watch for signs of increasing pitta (acidity, diarrhea, rash, sour-smelling breath) or increasing vata (gas, bloating, constipation, dry skin) and adjust your approach as needed to maintain your sense of equilibrium. Lifestyle Adjustments When it comes down to it, both vata and pitta will benefit from an effort to slow down, ground, and do some self-nurturing this fall. Make a conscious effort to mellow your intensity and resist the impulse to overbook yourself. Be sure to take some down-time to simply lie on the couch, curl up with a good book, take an afternoon nap, or relax with friends. For exercise, emphasize slow, graceful, strengthening activities over fast and furious ones. In your yoga practice, cultivate a strong connection with the earth, bring consciousness to deep, fluid breaths, and be sure to incorporate standing poses, forward folds, twists, restorative postures, some alternate nostril breathing, and a lengthy period of restoration in corpse pose. You may also find it helpful to read both the vata and pitta sections for more hints on supporting these doshas during the fall.
Fall for Vata-Kapha and Kapha-Vata Optimize Your Health This AutumnYou’ll want to focus most of your energy on balancing vata this fall. Keep in mind that your body’s natural defense against excess vata will be to increase kapha, so you’ll want to be especially vigilant about maintaining adequate moisture, staying warm, and grounding your energy. With kapha season right around the corner, you’ll need to do this in a way that doesn’t disturb kapha. Foods to Favor In general, you will probably want to eat a vata-pacifying diet, being careful to honor kapha with smaller portions, lots of cooked vegetables, and a flare for elaborate spices. Some especially balancing autumn foods include: apricots, berries, cherries, peaches, soaked prunes, asparagus, beets, cooked beets, chilies, green beans, leeks, mustard greens, okra, cooked onions, rutabagas, honey, amaranth, basmati rice, miso, tur dal, cottage cheese, and sunflower seeds. Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences You can indulge in some heavier, oilier foods as well as some sweets, as long are you are mindful of doing so in a way that’s not detrimental to kapha. If you eat meat, for instance, take a small portion and eat it with lots of steamed vegetables without grain. In the way of sweets, choose lighter options, like a date shake or a rice khir (pudding) made with goat’s milk and honey. Or, you could make some pumpkin ginger bread with lots of warming spices to make it more digestible. Focus on savoring the richness and flavor of these foods so that you don’t overindulge on quantity.
Foods to Minimize You’ll do well to minimize foods that aggravate both vata and kapha—foods like watermelon, wheat pasta, soybeans, and ice cream. Otherwise, your best strategy will be to notice your body’s response to different foods. Watch for signs of lethargy, low energy after meals, and brain fog (increased kapha) or gas, bloating, constipation, and dry skin (increased vata) and adjust your diet accordingly.Lifestyle Adjustments This is a great time of year to develop a refined sense of self perception and to begin to assess for yourself what it is that your system most desires. More than likely, your body will thank you if you slow your pace, create time for self-reflection, mellow your schedule, and breathe deeply. But you’ll need to find ways to continue to honor kapha’s need for a faster-paced, active lifestyle as well. A simple awareness is essential. If you find yourself heading too far in one direction, rein it in and balance with the opposite until you recover your sense of equilibrium. For example, if you engage in a vigorous yoga practice, finish up with some restorative poses and a lengthy period of restoration in corpse pose. Or, if you’re starting to feel heavy or tired, get up and go for a brisk walk. In general, if you can really listen to your innermost needs, you’ll be far less likely to be driven to either extreme of laziness or crazed overexertion. You may also find it helpful to read both the vata and kapha sections for more hints on supporting these doshas during the fall.
Fall for Vata-Pitta-Kapha Optimize Your Health This AutumnYour constitution will be able to draw on the strengths of all three doshas this fall. Prioritize calming vata, give secondary attention to eliminating excess pitta left over from the summer, and at the same time, try to honor the balancing effect that the season has on kapha. Foods to Favor In general, follow a vata-pacifying diet, but protect pitta from excess heat and be careful not to aggravate kapha with overly heavy or oily foods. Tridoshic autumn foods like berries, red grapes, limes, mangoes, soaked dry fruits, asparagus, cooked carrots and beets, green beans, leeks, okra, rutabagas, amaranth, quinoa, freshwater fish, see foods, and pumpkin seeds will be especially favorable. Acceptable Seasonal Indulgences This is a good time of year to indulge in meat (if you eat it) or to satisfy your sweet tooth—in moderation. Sweet breads, puddings, date shakes, and sun balls would all be appropriate sweets to enjoy this fall.
Foods to Minimize The best way to determine which foods to reduce or avoid is to become aware of your eating habits and of the effect that various foods have on you. Be on the lookout for signs of excess vata (gas, bloating, constipation, dry skin), excess pitta (acidity, diarrhea, rash, or sour taste), and excess kapha (lethargy, low energy after meals, brain fog), and adjust your diet as needed to avoid these manifestations of imbalance.Lifestyle Adjustments Focus on staying warm, grounded, and relaxed, and prioritize some kind of daily routine to stabilize your nervous system throughout the autumn months. At the same time, don’t shy away from celebrating the light and mobile nature of the fall, nor the austere simplicity it ushers in. You will likely enjoy the autumn season immensely if you rise early, exercise appropriately, practice yoga in a calming and grounded way, and make time for self-reflection daily. You may also find it helpful to read the vata, pitta, and kapha sections for more hints on how to support all three doshas during the fall and then adapt the advice to your needs—pacifying the dosha that needs the most attention at any given time.