As the weather cools, the Fall season brings with it dryness, winds, bone-chilling mornings, but also anxiety, insomnia, cold hands and feet, dry skin, and inability to concentrate.  The study of Ayurveda names it the Vata season.  We all have at least a little of Vata in our constitutions, and some of us have way too much of it.  Vata is dry, cold, and light.  It is the wind element in the body, governs movement, inspiration (and if you get too much of it - lunacy), joints and their mobility.  It tends to accumulate in the colon, causing gas, constipation, dryness, and irregularity.

  • Stick to the Vata-pacifying diet: avoid dry, cold, rough foods, instead go for moist, nourishing, warm foods such as soup or stew.  No raw salads, but plenty of cooked vegetables. 
  • stick to a regular routine - go to bed on time and avoid watching TV late into the night
  • include oil massage into your daily regimen, by rubbing high quality oil, such as sesame or almond, into hands, feet, knees and elbows and other joints in circular movements.  Use downward and outward strokes along the bones.  This will also help to detoxify the body, as the oil draws toxins out - after massaging, take a bath or shower.  Skin is the largest organ in the body, so use organic oils made for skin.

- for face, I make my own concoction of oils - I mix equal amounts of rose hip, oat, olive, sea buckthorn, and tamanu oils, shake the bottle (they separate), and apply a few drops to face and hands. What a wonder!  You need just a drop for your entire face, so even if it is a bit pricey, it lasts for a long time. I keep leftovers in the fridge to extend shelf life, and mix just a small amount at a time to use, enough for about a month. I also use oil to cleanse my face. Yes! It makes a wonderful, gentle yet deep cleanser, as oil dissolves make-up and your own toxins built up in the pores, yet doesn't strip your skin of moisture.

It is even appropriate for oily skin, as it is soothing, anti-bacterial, and doesn't encourage the pores to produce more oil, as some oil-free cleansers do by stripping the skin.

There are great oil cleansers on the market these days, so you can choose something in your price point. Just make sure that you massage the cleanser into your dry face, then rinse off.

  • add good quality, virgin and unfiltered oils to your food.  Don't be afraid of the calories - your body needs this good oil to function well and a little can go a long way.  The reason we crave oily foods is because oil is needed.  Often we keep giving it the wrong kinds of oil and fat from processed and deep fried foods or animal fat.  But good quality oil will keep you satiated and you may even begin to lose weight as you introduce these healthy oils into your diet.  Go for different kinds of oil - flax seed and coconut are some of my favorite to add to soup.  Virgin olive oils is always a staple, but the body needs variety.  Sunflower, Walnut, pumpkin seed oil - delicious and full of antioxidants. 
  • try oil pulling - take a tablespoon of oil in your mouth first thing in the morning and swish it around your teeth.  Bacteria in your mouth will be drawn to the oil.  Wait 20 minutes (you can spit the oil out and just leave a thin film on your teeth for 20 minutes), and then brush the teeth.  You can also swallow the oil, so your body knows what kind of bacteria it is dealing with.  Plus, whatever you swallow first thing in the morning is what your body is going to use to start the day, so make it something nourishing, instead of coffee.
  • try using Jojoba oil on your hair and scalp (sold at Trader Joe's).  Warm up the small bottle in some hot water in the sink, then apply to the hair, massage into scalp and let sit for 10 minutes.  When you wash it out, your hair will be transformed!  Silky, thick, lustrous, absolutely non-greasy, it looks and feels amazing.
  • In your Yoga practice gravitate towards grounding poses - all standing poses are good.  Focus on rooting down through your feet.  Allow yourself a longer Sivasana.  
  • connect with Nature by going outside and enjoying the bright foliage!  Have fun in the leaves with your kids and dogs.  Sit on the porch and watch the sun go down with good friends.  That's an order!

For more advice on Vata-pacifying regime, watch my video on health from the outside:

And about health on the inside: