The wisdom of warm soup

Do you ever want to stay snuggled in your warm bed or hunkered down by a fire on cold, rainy days? Do bright, sunny days inspire you to get outside? Of course the weather and our environment affect how we feel and act. According to ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system often described as yoga’s sister science, we can balance how changes such as those in the weather affect us.

In many places in the northern hemisphere, temperatures are dropping, wind is picking up, and things (like the leaves of trees) are drying out. These qualities—cold, airy, dry—are associated with vata, one of the three ayurvedic doshas, or constitutional types. The doshas divide the natural world’s qualities into three categories: vata, pitta, and kapha. The ayurvedic system can help us to understand how we are out of balance and what to do to move toward balance. If we’re feeling too much vata—too much movement (of any kind), cold, dryness—slowing down, warming up, and adding moisture may be useful. 

Although we often think of yoga as an individual practice that applies just to ourselves, ayurveda can open that view to see how our environment contributes to how we feel—and how we are deeply connected to the world around us. Western medicine understands that our support systems—friends and family, the ability to get where we need to go, the availability of quality food, access to clean water and air—affect our health. Ayurveda provides a lens that allows us to see how even more subtle environmental factors influence our health and well-being.

IAYT-certified yoga therapist Sarah Elaine Nelson offers specific practices for nurturing balance during the shift from summer to fall and winter for those in the northern hemisphere. Search IAYT’s database to find a certified yoga therapist to work with in balancing your mind, body, and spirit through the seasons.