I am intrigued by the wisdom of living seasonally. Taking cues from the shifts in nature, in daylight and temperature and foods that are fresh and available. Living in harmony with the rhythms of nature goes a long way towards making us feel well. Instead of fighting the cold or the heat, the dampness or the wind, we can learn to adapt our schedules and our practices so that we don’t feel stressed and out of sync, particularly when considering our own unique “nature.”
The ancient holistic lifestyle science of Ayurveda describes the doshas, three different constitutional types that each of us has in variable prominence and which are rooted in the energies of nature.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations and permutations of these five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation. In the physical body, vata is the subtle energy of movement, pitta the energy of digestion and metabolism, and kapha the energy that forms the body’s structure.
The Ayurvedic Institute
Living seasonally begins by recognizing our own unique nature, becoming aware of our tendencies so we can see where and when we suffer excess or imbalance. The active mind and body of vata fuels creativity but can burn out without rest. The strength of the pitta leader may build powerful organizations but can lead to inflammation and anger if not tempered. The groundedness of kapha can provide security but also lead to sluggishness or a tendency to get stuck, moving little in thinking or action. (For insight into your unique dosha, check out the links below.)
We each possess vata, pitta, and kapha in different measure and the balance can shift due to stress or schedule, time of life, and the seasons of the year.
Each season ushers in a unique set of qualities that can either pacify or aggravate the inner workings of your being. This is why some people relish the heat of the summer while others loathe it, why some can spend an entire winter playing in the snow while others avoid it like the plague. Regardless of who you are, your local climate is a key player in your overall state of balance and well-being.
Melody Mischke, AP
Living seasonally combines an awareness of our unique nature with our willingness to adjust to the natural changes in seasons to find a balance that is right for us. Adapting our food choices, exercise and movement patterns, and sleep schedules to a seasonal change can go a long way to feeling and being well, regardless of the shorter days or the snow outside.
Learning to live seasonally can open a broader awareness in our personal development, as we consider the seasons of our lives and learn to let go of one reality so we can embrace a new pattern of being that resonates with who we are now.
Importantly, living seasonally teaches us that change is constant and that rebirth and refreshment always occur following periods of rest. We might say we want balance in our lives but if we continue to live in an unmitigated state of heightened stimulation, we do not allow ourselves to follow the natural order of things, of movement and repose, of warmth and cool, of building and maintaining.
How can you create your best life in this season, challenging the assumption that fatigue, inactivity, overeating, and crabbiness are necessary? Could this season—wherever you are in the world or in life—be the time you decide to live in accordance with nature and find a new way of being?
Tis’ the season, always. Be well!
Dr. Ramona Wis is the Mimi Rolland Endowed Professor in the Fine Arts, Professor of Music, and Director of Choral Activities at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and the author of The Conductor as Leader: Principles of Leadership Applied to Life on the Podium. Dr. Wis is a 500-hour CYT (Certified Yoga Teacher) with training in yoga history, philosophy, meditation, energetics, pranayama (breath work), anatomy, Sanskrit, and the teaching, sequencing, and adaptations of asana (posture-based) practice. Reach her at: