Thank God for old friends at this time of year. They are THERE for the mid-morning-drive-up-toddler-dump and the long, loud sob sesh. First, they nod (in unison), trying not to look alarmed as you mutter/scream incoherently. Then, they let you play with their dogs. Finally, a ping-pong match and Talking Heads.
It’s vata time, and I have fallen off. I was doing so well!
Every now and then I fall apart a little and I have to hold my arms tightly around myself so I don’t spill any of me on you.
-Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)
I love movies that are all: “…change is in the air…” – cut to a storm kicking up, a tavern on a dark night, mead. When the wind blusters in, vata dosha comes along for the ride. Not quite the “dark passenger” that Dexter goes around with (enjoys?), but, to borrow a term coined by the Great Jenny Lawson (above), vata can render you “a bit stabby”.
I‘m SO deep in the swirling muck. And, per my already highly vata self, my muck is traveling VERY QUICKLY.
My “shit” is literally flinging everywhere.
Fasten your seat-belt, it’s Vata Time! Vata is the dosha associated with fall and early winter. Each season, one of the doshas is dominant, and risks becoming imbalanced. Being in vata season means that this is the time of the year when we can get over-vata-ed (like the hot summer can make us get over-pitta-ed). No matter what your constitution, or doshic make-up, is, vata is ’bout to get ALL riled up.
Vata is that all-over-the-place friend. So fun, but a BIT destructive
Vata, king dosha, provides our own internal weather pattern. Our very own, personalized, stormy, changeable climate. This will manifest as all kinds of fun things!
My vata likes me to be a Human Doing (NO BEING!): get those gifts bought/wrapped, take those kids to all the things, work those jobs, schedule the 8000 appointments, feverishly text everyone so they feel included, entertain all the peeps – NO PROBLEM!
Maybe we run around all day doing tasks that ultimately mean nothing (sound and fury). I have done plenty of that. Or, perhaps we channel the shit outta that tornado and do amazing things all day, but face consequences vis-á-vis fatigue, illness, ADD, OCD – pick your flavor.
Whatever compulsive behavior is your thing (I have several), vata will bring it right up. We get scattered, gusty, flighty, off-kilter. We fall back on doing the same ‘ol things that didn’t work before.
Next phase: unbalanced and ill. The return of bad habits. Cyclone of destruction.
Imbalanced vata in our bodies causes fatigue and minor illnesses, for sure. Sometimes emotions need to come out, to be spun down like a centrifuge, but after the spinning comes the rest.
Add the rest or pay.
Vata is a Monster Truck Rally
The shorter days and chillier nights are when almost ALL of us experience some sort of vata imbalance. It’s why there are so many great ensemble Holiday movies. There is inevitable drama at this time of year. And part of that is Miss Vata, whirling her way in. So even if you aren’t particularly vata, watch out.
Please recall the Auyurvedic principle that LIKE increases LIKE. Hyper vata flies us off the handle and we get RILL BUSY. The more we run around – Holiday shopping! Decor! Memories to be made! Pictures to post! – the more WILD we get!
And not the fearless kind of wild, don’t be fooled, because vata is SCARED! Increase vata, increase fear. Fear is turbo-charged anxiety, so if you think, “ahh, I’m just anxious”, well…getting there. Mind racing? Forgetful? Constipated? Cold hands and feet? Sleep troubles? Talking a lot? Gassy?
There you are.
Take care of her (darling vata) and bring her into alignment
Vata time is the time for slowing down and going within. It’s all Lewellyn’s Witches Datebook illustrations around here: animals burrowing into the earth; depictions of them inside their cozy hidey-hole home, knitting.
Vata time is the time for really diving into a routine that includes lots of self-care.
Drawing ourselves inward will help us find balance. Quiet activities like drawing, coloring, napping, tea-drinking, spacing out, playing your instrument, listening to mellow music, watching old-timey stuff with children (aka not overly intense media), cuddling in bed, staying very warm.
Don’t get me wrong, vata is a good time.
All is not lost. Vata season is amazing. It’s windy, moody, ever darker…basically it’s Ireland. So go grab a cable-knit sweater and enjoy the cozy evenings, the first fires, the hot cocoa. Autumn and early winter gives us a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with ourselves.
Operation: Get Through the Holidays In One Piece (it’s a nail biter!)
It’s time to step it up with a daily routine.
Prescribe yourself a daily routine. Stay warm, hot tea, cover the throat (I’m starting to need a scarf anyway, Nora Ephron). Use a space heater at your job until your co-workers yell at you to turn it the eff off. Alienate everyone by cranking the heat in the car.
How do we keep Vata Happy?
Eat warm, cooked vegetables with some good ‘ol carbs. Fresh veggies and fresh spices, if possible. Oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary make for Italian sumptuousness. Turmeric, cumin, ginger, and cayenne spice for Indian. You know.
Food is so much synergy. Food and herbs are medication in Ayurveda. Many herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-fungal properties. These are supplements that also fill the belly! Our meals become medicine that support the immune system, keeping COVID, colds and the flu at bay. And keeping our minds from spinning all the way out there.
Vata Specific Practices
- abhyanga (oil self-massage)
- yin yoga (or Kundalini – get some Ana and Ravi into your life and you can’t go wrong)
- moist heat – bath, sauna, tropical vacation, plain shower, cozy blankie, hats, scarves
- hot, fresh, veggie-laden food and kitchari (give the raw stuff a rest)
- comedy, romance
- cuddles with people or animals
We are our own best nurturers
If we consider the Ayurvedic principle that opposites balance each other, vata season (dry, light, erratic) will be less aggravating if we fill it with warmth, oiliness (more oil in cooking, abyhanga), loving relationships, and a sense of stability, routine, and grounded-ness.
Note to Self: Do not look outside for support. Sure, get a babysitter, see your doctor, talk it through with your best friend – but ultimately YOU have to care for YOU. Only YOU can give yourself a daily routine. Treat YOU gently and lovingly.