A post by instructor Shelby Crowell
You might notice that through the winter the qualities of Vata effects you, making you more prone to anxiety, dry skin, insomnia and constipation. You might develop a craving for warm, soothing foods, and find you need more lotion for your dry hands. Ok! So now that we know how the changes of the seasons can effect our physical and mental wellbeing, we prepare ourselves for the change. Don’t be nervous, the change might be good for you, especially if you have a Pitta or Kapha consitution (go http://doshaquiz.chopra.com to find out your dosha), but for Vatas like me, the change in season may bring you out of balance.
Things of the Vata season are cold, dry, windy and rough. To bring vata into balance we focus on things that are warm, moist and consistent. The Vata quality is very airy and can make you want to change your mind all the time, so really try to be as regular as possible with your daily routine, especially eating and sleeping.
Emotionally, the winter can be a time where anxiety sneaks up on us. With all the holiday parties, visiting family and presents to buy, the holiday season can paradoxically become a difficult time to relax and enjoy the fruits of out labor. I’ve personally found that pranayama is extremely effective to combat stress. Practice Nadi Shodhanna (instructions here http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2487) and when you feel panic popping up: take 10 slow belly breaths through the nose. Use calming essential oils like lavendor on pressure points to keep the nerves at bay... and meditate! One great meditation during the winter months is to inhale and silently say “soo” and with an exhale say “huumm”. So hum means “I am the divine”, the mantra is grounding and helps to synch us up with the rhythms and harmonies of nature.
Constipation can also become a problem during the Vata season. The Vata diet is soothing and improves digestion, which includes eating a lot of healthy carbs like whole wheat pasta and squash, cooked veggies and fruits and lots of dairy and healthy oils. You can also give yourself a little stomach massage, clockwise with warm oil.
In terms of exercise, keep your routine regular and consistent. Running increases Vatta, so take it easy on the morning jogs, but walking and Yoga are excellent ways to stimulate the digestive system and calm the mind.
The Fall and Winter is a wonderful time; we have brisk fall breezes, nights cuddled up with blankets, we get to enjoy the company of friends and family and relish Holiday treats. Every season has its own unique energetic trademark that effects our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; once we know how to balance ourselves out we can better take advantage of everything this time has to offer!