Ayurveda is a full system of ancient medicine, and is considered to be the sister science of yoga. It teaches us to live in harmony with the cycles of nature — every day, every season, every year of our lives.

The doshas are the three ways each individual’s body is defined according to the elements — combinations of ether, air, fire, water and earth — known as Kapha (water and earth), Pitta (fire and water) and Vata (either and air).

Imbalance in the body, according to what elements are dominant in a person and what elements he or she is currently amidst, can bring disharmony, which can lead to disease, according to Ayurveda.

Autumn is a Vata season, which means air and space are predominantly present — crisp, dry air, brisk winds, crunchy fallen leaves. The conditions outside reflect what is happening within our bodies, so when the weather turns we can consume certain foods to balance the elements of air and space around us. During this season, eat to balance Vata by bringing in more cooked and grounding foods with warming characteristics, and enjoy activities that will balance your whole being.

What To Eat

To avoid aggravating Vata, have a warm and wholesome breakfast, like oatmeal with stewed fruit. Clarified butter, known as ghee, is also the perfect complement to this time of year because it anchors the food together, helping with ease in digestion.

Eat fall harvest foods to stay rooted, including pumpkin, sweet potato, squash, kale, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, cauliflower and cabbage.

What To Do

If you notice your body reflecting the crisp and dry air (if your skin becomes dry, for example), vigorously rub sesame or coconut oil over your skin to bring in a natural, healing warmth. Cover your skin with the oil (even your hair and face if you have time), and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Follow with a bath or shower to cleanse following the oil treatment.

Participate in grounding and nourishing activities, like fall hikes and afternoon tea dates. Embrace wearing and decorating with rich colors like red, orange and yellow, and fill your home with smells of cloves, cinnamon, lavender, vanilla, pine and sage.