In Ayurveda, there are three seasons, not four. These relate to the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Vata season goes from late Fall to Winter (October to February). Pitta season goes from mid-Summer to early Fall (July to October). Kapha season goes from Spring to early Summer (March to June).
During the transition period from one season to the next, the body and mind can undergo various changes depending on one’s constitution and dosha imbalances. Those with dominant vata dosha or vata imbalances will be more likely to experience vata-type symptoms as we move into the Fall and Winter months. Amongst these are digestive issues, such as gas, bloating and constipation. Digestive discomfort can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it feels like no matter what you eat (or don’t eat), the symptoms persist.
In Ayurveda, everything that happens within the body can be described in terms of the three doshas. Gas, bloating and constipation are classic symptoms of vata aggravation. Vata is made of the elements of air and space and lives in parts of the body such as the colon and bladder. When any of the doshas are aggravated by factors such as improper diet, lifestyle or environmental factors, they can move from their "seat" in the body and bring their qualities to areas where they are not meant to be. The qualities of the air and space elements are cold, dry, hard, rough, light and changing. In the case of gas and bloating, which are air-like in quality, vata moves from the colon to the small intestine and causes these uncomfortable symptoms.
In addition, over aggravation of vata in the colon will cause constipation.
Ayurvedic remedies for bloating, gas, and constipation
According to Ayurveda, like increases like. Vata diets and lifestyle habits will increase the predominance of vata-like symptoms in the body and mind, and those with vata dominance or imbalance will be more likely to experience vata symptoms as well.
Too much cold, dry, raw food is not suitable for those with vata dominance or vata imbalances. Instead, choose warm, cooked food that is easier to digest. Whole grain porridges (quinoa, oats, rice, millet) and stewed apples are a much better choice than cold smoothies for breakfast. Vegetable soups, stews, stir-fries and curries with rice are great for lunch or dinner. This is not to say you can never have smoothies or salads. Ayurveda is about balance. Add warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to smoothies and avoid frozen fruit. Instead, use fresh fruit or refrigerated fruit. Make salad a side dish instead of a main dish and consider topping them with warm grains and vegetables.
In addition, don’t eat too fast or while doing other tasks. Sit to eat in a calm, settled environment, eat slowly and thoroughly chew your food to ensure proper digestion and assimilation of your meal. Avoid drinking cold liquids with your meals and having too much liquid right before, during and right after your meals.
Sip on some CCF tea: Steep 1/2 tsp each of whole cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds and whole fennel seeds in boiling water in a 40oz thermos. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Sip on this tea every half hour throughout the day until about 6pm.
Adding Authentic Chyawanprash™ to your daily routine is another Ayurvedic treatment for gas and a great way to promote proper digestion. This delicious multi-herbal jam helps to kindle agni (the digestive fire) and support regular elimination.
The mental/emotional side of vata
The doshas are not just about our physical bodies. Mentally, vata people have trouble focusing on one thing. They are quick to learn information, but also quick to forget it, and often jump from one thing to the next. When out of balance, vata can also cause anxiety and worry, insomnia and a general sense of not being grounded. This is why establishing a daily routine which includes regular wake, sleep and eating times is extremely supportive for vata dosha.
Regular meditation, adequate sleep, warm oil massages and gentle physical activity are also beneficial. For a delicious morning treat that supports digestion and elimination, try this Ayurveda gas relief stewed apple recipe.
AYURVEDIC STEWED APPLES
• 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
• 3-4 whole cloves
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
• ¼ cup pure, filtered water
• 1 tsp ghee (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until apples are tender.
3. You may follow with a small breakfast if you are still hungry.