The fall winds are kicking up and the temperature is dropping. Not only does this affect your wardrobe choices, but it also changes your mood. Take a moment to close your eyes and think about how you felt as you were walking down the street feeling the cold and experiencing the wind. Some people are immediately distressed, some invigorated, and others are unphased. Some of us are keenly aware of how the change in season affects us. Some of us may have SAD, seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.More about SAD, click here
While doing my certification with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition For more about INN click here, I learned about Ayurveda. Simply stated, Ayurveda is the sister science to Yoga.
Webster’s definition of Ayurveda
If you know about Yoga and have a practice, that statement might connect for you. However, to be more clear, Ayurveda is a practice of keeping the physical body in balance through diet.
Ayurveda sees food, plants, herbs as medicine. Where Yoga seeks to create and maintain balance through movement, Ayurveda is considered the “medicine”, using food and herbs to support and balance the body.
One of the key tools that Ayurvedic practitioners use is the assessment of the doshas.
Before the explanation of the doshas, try taking this assessment. Be as honest as you can be, and it should reveal your general dosha.
Most of these quizzes on the internet are connected to a product that is being sold. I have picked the test I think is most thorough and least commercial. Give it a try!
For now, don’t get caught up with what appears to be your dosha. Doshas are not fixed. So, this is why it is suggested to take the quiz a few times a year. In the fall you might feel more scattered, less focused. In the summer you might feel more lazy. In the winter you might feel more aggravated. You might feel the total opposite of those. No matter what your reaction to the changes of the seasons, insight into your dosha can point you in the right direction to balancing. If you are the type who feels a little “lost in space” in the fall, you can try eating and drinking foods that will bring you “back to earth”. In the current marketplace, we can eat foods that once were out-of-season, like raspberries, pretty much anytime. If you are willing to pay, raspberries are available all year long. However, in North America, raspberries are normally only available mid-summer. Eating with the seasons follows a pattern that reflects the changes in nature. For example, in the winter we tend to eat more root vegetables like sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. In the summer, more juicy fruits like peaches and nectarines. Ayurveda follows the path of nature so we live in more harmony with the seasons and therefore in our bodies. If we are in balance with our dosha, we may feel more in balance with nature.
I am intentionally not giving much detail about the definition of each of the three doshas. I find that people often look at the doshas as if one were favorable over another. What is more significant is creating balance between the doshas. If you are a fiery spirit, you might benefit from balancing with something that will cool those fires. If you are an earth bound type, perhaps something to lift you up a little. One dosha isn’t better than another. In addition, we have a dominant dosha, but we are often a mix of all three. So, as you are learning about the doshas, make it a fun experiment!
Here are two of my favorite resources for ideas of what to eat in the seasons:
Come to my Yoga classes this fall to learn more about how your Yoga practice can also help to bring more balance to your dosha!