It’s here. The harvests are safely stowed. Hunters scamper through the woods seeking their prizes. The leaves dry and turn into various shades of crimson, hanging on to the last breaths of summer before they flutter down to the ground in a blaze of glory. Yoga studios are mat-to-mat again, teachers blast their students with waves of heat that are welcomed with cold arms and dry hands. The blustery days are met with thick scarves, and perhaps, a little bit of resentment.
The transition of the seasons is upon us. In Northern climates that experience more dramatic environmental changes, the difference glares on our daily lives. As the good yogis we are, we try to meet the change with a light heart and open mind. Let’s face it --- it’s not easy --- fear not! There is an ancient method of understanding to aid us. Yoga’s sister science, ayurveda, offers explanations for our seasonal tendencies, and ways to embrace the flow of our lives. Thank Ganesha.
IN OUR SURROUNDINGS
It is hard to imagine using ayurvedic schools of thought without incorporating yoga. Ayurveda literally translates to “knowledge of life.” Using ayurvedic principles to understand our external environment can create a balance and clarity that makes for a lighter existence. This balance is referred to a sattva; a purity, virtue, and wholesomeness. This state of being can be derived from living with awareness of your energetic constitution, and the energetic state of your environment. This is the essence of ayurveda.
There are three energetic constitutions that weave themselves through every body, year, life span, and comprise the energy that forms matter. In other words, these are the threads that weave the tapestry of existence, the breaths that blow the winds of the world.
Let’s begin with kapha. Characteristics of this energy are wet, cold, and heavy. Elements are earth and water. Foods related to kapha are heavy and viscous. The time of day associated with kapha is between 6 and 10am and pm. Kapha in a lifespan can be correlated to the time between infancy and puberty. In Northern climates, the season that displays kapha characteristics is spring. In more tropical climates, the rainy season can be more closely associated with kapha.
The pitta energy has characteristics of heat, intensity, and transformation. The element associated with this energy is fire. Foods related to pitta are spicy, warm, and astringent. The time of day related to pitta is between 10 and 2am and pm. Pitta energy in the lifespan begins after puberty, and lingers until retirement, or around menopause. In Northern climates, the pitta season is summer. In climates that experience heat and transformation more frequently, the environment can be more greatly affected by the pitta energy.
Lastly, a light, cold, and dry energy. Vata is associated with the elements of air, and ether (space). Foods related to vatta are dry, fresh, and cooling. The time of day associated with vata is between 2 and 6am and pm. Vata energy in the lifespan becomes prevalent post-menopause, or during years of retirement. In Nothern climates, the vata season is late fall through winter.
Maybe you have noticed these energetic influences affect different parts of your external life. Balancing their manifestations in your physical body can foster a more easeful existence.
For some reason, the "seasonal depression" brought about during the shift from a more pitta dominated season into a vata season can be the most stressful and depressing for humans in Northern climates.
It's GOOD to be sensitive to these profound energetic shifts! In fact, use your sensitivity to your advantage. Stay one step ahead of that energy with tools to combat seasonal affectation.
After all, it does happen every year.
I've compiled a guide to transitioning into the vata season for your well-being, it can be found on here, on my blog!
Take good care of that beautiful body you have, so your soul can rest peacefully in its home. Who knows, maybe some self-care and preventative measures will make YOUR vata season the most comfortable, productive one yet.
Cheers, father winter. We welcome you.
This blog entry was taken from my profile on my new favorite yoga webpage, Yogida.
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