Ayurveda is based upon the premise that we are only healthy and happy when our mind, body and spirit, which are closely related to and affected by nature, are balanced. As such, Ayurveda considers a seasonal routine an important cornerstone to health, year-round. As seasons change, our bodies change, often bringing the potential for seasonal imbalances that can cause physical and emotional issues. Keep in mind that the seasons vary greatly depending upon where you live. Balancing the nature of your local climate with your lifestyle choices can greatly offset the chances for seasonal imbalances.
Notice your local climate as the seasons change. In the fall, is it windy, dry and cold? Or do you live in an area that receives tons of snow and is wet and cold? Maybe you live on an island where it gets warmer and moister. Depending upon your Prakruti (Dosha at birth) and Vikruti (current Doshic state), these conditions in the different areas can affect you in various way to bring you out of balance, which can result in eventual weight gain, colds and illness, depression, etc.
Beginning to observe your environment from a qualitative perspective empowers you to respond to both daily and seasonal fluctuations in your local climate. The truth is that many of us already naturally adopt seasonal habits, without even being conscious of doing so, because it just feels good or is traditional. For instance, summer is a time when we generally eat lighter, enjoying salads and melons, perfect antidotes to the hot, dry climate. Come fall, we enjoy cinnamon, pumpkin, and hearty soups to balance out the light, dry and erratic nature of the season. Think about it…have you ever craved a certain stew or soup when it is cold and windy outside?
By making diet and lifestyle choices — like your type of exercise, massages, fragrances, etc. — that counter the unbalancing effects of each season, you can better maintain your inner sense of equilibrium throughout the year. If you know your Dosha (your natural constitution), you can address these imbalances with pin-point accuracy. You can take a dosha quiz here. While it isn’t as complete as having an ayurvedic consultation, it will give you a good idea of your natural constitution and help you to remain in balance as the seasons change.
(Speaking of massages, if you live in the greater Sacramento area, check out Serenity Spa for its Abhyanga Massage, an Ayurvedic massage that uses oils specific to your dosha. I’ve had one and it was heavenly. There are locations in both Roseville and Folsom. You can find me at the Folsom location every Monday evening at 5:30 teaching yin yoga and every Tuesday morning at 9:00am teaching soul flow yoga. The yoga studio is lovely.)
I’ll be posting several small blog posts about the upcoming Vata season, which lasts from fall to early winter.
About the Author
Rochelle Barcellona is an animal-loving, family-and-friends-embracing, yoga-meditation-and-ayurveda-teaching, happy red-headed yogi who owns Nourish Mind Body & Spirit in Northern California. You may learn more about Rochelle here. Rochelle may be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and 916-353-5200.
(Photo of Rochelle courtesy of Bella Barcellona Photography.)