An Ayurvedic approach to Autumn and Winter Doshas
According to Ayurveda, there are three primary doshas, or energies. Just as each person has a dosha that predominates, each season is also dominated by one of the three doshas.
The vata dosha is most prevalent during autumn and Kapha during winter.
Vata governs movement in the body, as well as activating the nervous system and the processes of elimination. The qualities of vata are cold, dry, rough, light, changeable, irregular and moving. Vata is composed of the elements of air and space. Because of vata’s association with the nervous system, its state is often reflected in our mental health.
Kapha governs the structure of the body. It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew. The primary function of Kapha is protection. Winter is the season when the elements naturally withdraw. It is organically a time to draw inward and turn away from external influences: a time of rest and rejuvenation. It is also the time when the earth and water elements express their tamasic (inert) qualities.
This expression of tamas in nature is required for the storing of energy that will later manifest as new life in spring. For human beings this means a time of intro-spection, which assists in the development of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
However, of tamas (stillness) increases too much, feelings of lethargy or depression may arise.
Our Winter practice, especially if you are feeling the effects of winter too strongly ... we can balance ourselves by introducing more heat and lightness to our asana practice, emphasizing vinyasa, balances, and backbends. We welcome the return of longer days by imbuing your Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) with mindfulness.
We can slow down this familiar vinyasa to incorporate chakra awareness and mindfulness.
Though this is a season of darkness, when the earth appears to sleep, underneath the surface nature is gathering energy for the regeneration of spring. Take a cue from nature and make winter an opportunity to dive deeply into your practice. Explore your inner realms. Making peace with your shadows—including the long-buried impressions known as samskaras—is a good way to clear the slate for a new year.
Hope you like the poses below ~ great for a 15-20 min practice ... enjoy
With the abundance of vata energy circulating during the fall season, our bodies and minds can become overwhelmed and out of balance. During this time of year, you may feel unsettled, ungrounded and unstable. But while we cannot change the seasonal weather shifts, we can maintain internal balance by adjusting our lifestyles to counter the predominant vata energy in nature. We do this by incorporating yoga poses, food and lifestyle choices that naturally hold the opposite qualities of the vata dosha.
This is a great article and gives you the opportunity to find out which dosha you might be!! If your dosha is predominantly Vata (take our dosha quiz to find out), you may feel the effects of fall even more acutely. Grounding, earthy, and calming poses, which make up the foundation of this practice, are ideal to help you feel centered. Earth energy helps to balance excess wind/air energy. It’s better to move more slowly in your practice, spending a little extra time in each pose. Flowing too quickly or in a hurried or forced way can aggravate Vata, which is prone to overexertion and fatigue. Don’t rush! Enjoy and relish every transition mindfully for a Vata-pacifying practice.
Asanas that engage the lower back and thighs are major regions of Vata dosha. Asanas such as Tree Pose and Mountain Pose root your feet into the earth, having a stabilizing effect. Warrior I and II poses are excellent to help ground you, whilst also building strength.
Standing or seated forward bends, such as Paschimottanasana, that compress the pelvis are healing, as are twists that wring out the digestive tract. Knees-to-Chest Pose works on the lower intestines and can also calm down Vata energy. Finishing with a long Savasana of at least 15 minutes is also highly pacifying for Vata types.