Autumn is a time of rest.  The sun heads south and days get shorter.  In the countryside you are aware of nature settling, as growth ceases and leaves decay.  It is a beautiful time.

In our concrete jungles we are not so aware of this.  For too many people autumn is a busy time, after the relaxation of the summer.  School restarts.  New projects are begun, and night classes distract from the dark evenings.

Yet this is the time of the year when we have least energy.  The sun that energises all on this planet and is now in decline.  So this is the natural time to rest, be easy and to replenish, after a busy spring and summer.  Hibernate.  People seem to associate hibernation with winter.  But the sun is increasing from the 21st of December on, and so strength is growing.  Be busier after Christmas and take life easy until then.

Vata increases in nature in September, October, November and December. Vata is the process of movement of mind and body and is responsible for all movements of mind, circulation, nerve impulses, food in the gut and everything else.  It is light, quick, moving, cold, dry, rough and irregular.  These qualities increase in us in the autumn.  So we must ensure we get the opposite qualities to keep balanced.

Otherwise vata goes out of balance, causing increasing discomfort as the months pass.  This is why many people do not like this time of the year.  Vata imbalance can give rise to such complaints as anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, aches and pains, constipation, arthritis and many others.

To keep your balance, take more rest.  Go to bed earlier.  Take more restful meals.  Enjoy a day of rest each week.  Do Transcendental Meditation.  Enjoy relaxing with yoga.  Take hot, nourishing meals with sweet, sour and salty tastes predominating.  Do regular oil massages.

Christmas was traditionally a time to rest, be with family, be warm and comfortable, to eat substantial nourishing and satisfying foods.  All of this settles vata, at the end of the vata season.  So be determined to enjoy Christmas in the traditional way.  Be very careful not to get hectic with shopping and late night partying.  Because at this time of the year you have less stamina and can more easily be disturbed by fatigue.  Start your Christmas shopping very early and enjoy doing it gradually.

The most sublime aspect of vata is called prana.  Prana is balanced by being settled in mind and also by pranyama breathing exercises.  This is the time of the year to emphasise pranyama and yoga.

What also settles prana and vata is being out in nature.  So when nature is in the full of her glory with the changing leaves this autumn, get out and enjoy her beauty.