If You Feel Out of Balance…
Did you know it can be connected to the change of seasons; particularly this time of year when we are going from summer (Pitta season) to fall (Vata season). The imbalance may show as restless sleep, constipation, irritability and impatience, heightened or nontypical anxiety, weakened immune system, and/or difficulty maintaining a comfortable body temperature, (and I thought that was just menopause 😂 ). In Ayurveda, there are 6 periods of Ritu Sandhi, which translates as the junction in between seasons. This change that is happening the week leading up to and after the Autumn Equinox can be particularly uncomfortable as we say goodly to the waning light of summer and blow into Vata season with a chill in the air.
Dosha Type and The Seasons
In Ayurveda, seasonal cycles are not something outside of us. They highly influence our constitution. The changing elements in our external environment shape our temporary state (Vikriti). We are all born in perfect balance of a combination of the essential elements of fire, water, earth, air and space. This winning combination is our Dosha or constitution (Prakriti). Vikriti is the transitional aspect of Dosha which is responsible for relative health or imbalance. Your preeminent Dosha type can be any combination of Pitta (fire), Vata (air) and/or Kapha (earth). Regardless of the balanced nature of your constitution, Vata aggravation is highly suspect of causing internal turbulence during the clash of the summer and fall seasons. The good news is our self care practices like yoga, meditation and self massage (abyhyanga), and our lifestyle routines such as what we eat (time to cleanse!) and when we go to bed can help to make the passage from the sticky heat of Pitta to the dry cooling current of vata more comfortable.
Unlock Your Intuitive Seasonal Transition Translator!
What is your most beloved season? Are your desires and habits more compatible with spring, summer, fall or winter? Most of us have our favorite season. Depending on what it is, this seasonal transition to fall is either a letting go of something you don’t want to end (summer) or a moving toward a more pleasant situation (winter). The first step toward homeostasis is to recognize and adapt. What needs to be discontinued? How can you replace and embrace? It may be as simple as switching from iced drinks to hot ones; or salads to warm, cooked root vegetables. Have a sudden hankering for a warm bath or the feel of flannel sheets on your skin? Are you fighting the desire to go to bed at 9 pm? Where did your sweater collection go? Break out the layers and settle down into your new routine!
The Soothing Structure of Kapha
In the summer months, our schedules themselves take a holiday. We stay up later with the light, have additional opportunities to socialize and be outside, travel more, and generally live “busy”. The fire of Pitta is pleasantly fueled! Knock, knock…it’s Vata blowing down the door. This spacious wind energy is best tamed by anticipatory actions and organized repetition. Get back on your schedule! Excessive Pitta “summer left overs” in the constitution during this change can leave a burning imbalance like the lingering of eating too many jalapeño peppers 🌶; (which it is worth noting that hot foods need monitoring in this time). We can subdue both the Pitta and Vata aggravation of the season by bringing in more water and earth energy. Kapha is the slow and steady exhale that will drift you through this transition with grace. In a yoga practice, this translates to less postures with slower movements, deeper breathing, and allowing yourself to luxuriate on the ground. If you are more inclined to strenuous exercise, add a mindful saunter through the deeply rooted trees into your schedule.
The beautiful thing about an Ayurvedic approach to mind and body health is that it is forgiving and realistic. There is no such thing as stopping and starting, failing or not doing enough to do any good. Even small changes to your regular routine can streamline this seasonal passage. As the Vata energy of wind and space surrounds us through early winter, change is literally in the air.
Happy Autumnal Equinox & passage to Vata season, Megan
Access this post as it was published in “Focus on Health & Wellbeing“: https://mag.focusonhwb.org/tis-the-season-of-ritu-sandhi-in-ayurveda/