Ayurveda is unique because it looks to our true natures (constitutions) and then uses the energies found in the universe to bring harmony and balance. Ayurveda is based on the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) whose energies are understood by ten opposite qualities present in nature which explain the energies that surround us, and make up the three doshas:
Vata: ether/air (cold, dry, light and mobile)
Pitta: fire/water (hot, slightly wet, light and mobile)
Kapha: water/earth (cool, wet, heavy and stable)
The doshas are the biological energies that make up our individual constitutions Prakruti (nature) is established at conception and is our Ayurvedic footprint creating our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual makeups. Imbalances to our natures can occur by changing seasons, what we ingest, and mental and emotional disharmonies, which are known as Vikruti (current state of health).
Like increases like, and Ayurveda uses opposite actions through the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) and their associated therapies to reinstate balance and harmony. Below are some examples of these therapies that are specifically designed for each constitution and/or imbalance.
Sight: Color therapy, visualizations, and going into nature
Hearing: Music, mantras, kirtan, and going into nature
Smell: Food, herbs, spices, essential oils and aromatherapy, and nature
Taste: Food, culinary and medicinal herbs, spices, beverages, etc.
Touch: Abhyanga (massage), nasya treatment, shirodhara, yoga, pranayama, and meditations
The Vata dosha comprises the ether and air elements (cool, dry, light, and unstable). It governs all biological activities related to breathing, talking, nerve impulses, circulation, food assimilation, and elimination. Psychologically it governs communication, creativity, and quickness of thought. Defined as “that which moves things,” it is referred to as the “king of the doshas” because it controls overall life force, and the Pitta and Kapha doshas cannot move without it.
The Vata dosha and fall season share the same qualities (cold, dry, light, and mobile). This dosha can experience imbalances during this time of year, including cooler body temperatures, increased dryness of the skin and hair, and possible gas, bloating, and constipation. Additionally, during this active fall and holiday season, the Vata dosha can experience increased anxiety, mental and/or emotional instability, or even stress with increased holiday activities and travel.
During the fall-early winter season, introduce opposite qualities that bring balance, including the warmth of environment, clothing, and colors. Stay well hydrated, which will assist with dryness and possible irregularity, and moisturize the body with massage oil.
Create stability with grounding yoga, pranayama, and meditation practice. Eat warming foods, spices, and herbs that are moist, heavy, and stable in nature.
It is advisable to meet with your Ayurvedic practitioner seasonally to determine which practices and therapies most benefit your constitution and individual health concerns in the coming months.