How to Maintain Balance During Seasonal Transitions
Humans aren’t the only parts of the universe with different doshas—nature has different mind-body types, too.
The seasons reflect all three doshas—Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. Vata is a mind-body type consisting of air and space, Kapha is a cold, wet, and heavy mind-body type that is composed of earth and water, and Pitta is made up of fire and water.
You are a part of Nature and as a result, are affected by her doshas. You can learn to take better care of yourself and feel balanced as you move through the seasons when you understand doshas and how they can affect you from within and from external sources.
Greater health and well-being can be achieved by staying in harmony with the change in seasons and understanding what dosha is dominant.
For instance, the transition from winter to spring is considered a Kapha season because it is wet, even though it is getting warming. As summer approaches and the temperatures rise, the Pitta—and its strong fire element—begins.
During Kapha season, those who are of the Vata dosha would benefit from eating more warm foods and incorporating sweet tastes, which help create mass and keep Vatas grounded. Kaphas should focus on lighter, crispier foods to bring some lightness back into their bodies. Pittas feel more in balance when they integrate astringent and bitter tastes into their meals.
Exercise is important for all people, and the type of activity you choose can have a more balancing effect on each dosha. People with a dominant Kapha dosha need to stay committed to, or even increase, exercise during the wetter months. Energizing activities such as running, spin classes, flow yoga, and other enlivening routines are best.
Activity is also highly recommended in order to balance the water component of the Pitta dosha. However, Pittas would be best served engaging in energetic exercises that do not entail too much competition, which can cause their fire element to become imbalanced.
Vatas can enjoy activities like yoga, tai chi, or long nature walks when weather permits, to help them stay grounded.
All mind-body types benefit from meditation. During the winter and spring months, stay committed to your meditation practice.
Vatas will find this practice stabilizing, especially when he or she focuses on feeling centered.
Kaphas can add some energizing pranayama, or breathing techniques, to the start and end of their meditation routines. Those with a predominantly Pitta dosha will feel balanced from meditation’s calming effects.
The Role of Temperature
Temperature affects each mind-body type differently. Thanks to Pitta’s natural fire, those who are Pitta dosha can find themselves feeling warm, even in winter. Heat can aggravate this dosha, so it’s important for Pittas to go outside into the cold weather once in a while. Conversely, Kaphas and Vatas both should do what they can to stay warm.
Changes in weather and the seasons can affect your mood. For instance, short, gray, and damp days can sometimes make people feel sad or depressed. Those with a Kapha dosha are particularly sensitive to cloudy and colder weather. Kaphas should try to wear bright colors and surround themselves with uplifting shades. Vatas can find greater balance from muted, grounding colors; and those who are Pitta dosha do well with earth tones in both clothing and living spaces.
Find balance as you transition between seasons by following these tips:
- Give yourself a daily Ayurvedic self-massage, also known as an abhyanga
- Engage in a detoxifying one-day cleanse to prepare for the new season ahead. The cleanse need not be a complete fast. Instead, consume all food in liquid form to help gently detoxify the body.
- As the end of spring nears, begin to incorporate a more Pitta-balancing diet into your daily routine. Reduce spicy, sour, and salty foods are all ways Pittas can find balance, and every dosha can adopt this healthy eating style.
Each season is rich and full of unique gifts. Fall presents us with beautiful colors and crisp clean air. Winter feels as though the world around us is asleep, yet it is simply preparing for the beautiful show of the lushness of spring. And summer offers us longer days, and more time to relax with family and friends.
As you embrace the beauty of Nature’s bounty, reflect on your own connection to Nature and move in harmony with her rhythms as the seasons change.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.