Vata Season: An Ayurvedic Perspective of Autumn and Early Winter


I often experience a spike in bookings and requests at this time of year: Autumn and early Winter.  We are currently immersed in a season governed by Vata.  Vata, in Ayurveda, is a term used to define one of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha.  Each of these doshas are a combination of elements that are the foundations and building blocks of our forms, natures or constitutions.  Vata is the combination of air and ether, and the qualities of this particular dosha are: dryness, lightness, mobility, subtlety, roughness and coldness.  You can feel it in the air, and see it all around you.  The leaves falling off the trees, the changeable weather, and drops in temperature.  We often experience heightened levels of anxiety, uncertainty, sensitivity, insecurity and a sense of being overwhelmed.  Physically we may be experiencing a dryness of the skin, aching and cracking joints, cramps and restless and disturbed sleep.  These are just some of the symptoms of a Vata imbalance.

Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system known as the sister science of yoga.  Its original texts date back 5,000 years, and has been passed down the generations in India and Sri Lanka ever since.  In recent years there has been an awakened fascination and exploration into this science from a western perspective.  Its approach is to determine one’s true unchanging nature (Prakruti) and to manage the ever-changing environment and conditions of our existence that create fluctuations and imbalances (Vikruti) within us.  These imbalances, if unchecked, eventually lead to illness and disorder.  It is an incredibly empowering approach that emphasises the maintenance of optimal health – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.  Ayurveda literally means “life-knowledge”.

Each individual’s prakruti (nature) will be a unique combination of the three doshas.  Put into context, a person who has, by nature, a high proportion of Vata in their constitutional make-up will be more likely to experience an agitation of Vata at this time of year.  Equally, if someone were to have a high level of Pitta (fire and water) in their constitution, then the cooler climate may actually be a welcome and balancing change.  The subtleties and nuances of Ayurveda can take a life-time of study but even the most basic understandings of the qualities of each dosha and the seasonal shifts and changes, can be incredibly supportive and balancing for every person.  Taking into consideration the qualities of Vata, as defined above, there are some very simple day-to-day things that we can do to counterbalance the environmental increase of Vata, such as:

  • Avoid dry, cold and rough foods such as raw salad, crackers, iced drinks, and favour warm, nourishing grounding meals such as stews, and sautéed vegetables with spices such as ginger and cumin. Carry a flask of hot water with you and sip throughout the day.
  • keeping warm, particularly the hands, feet and head. Wear a hat that covers your ears, particularly if it’s windy outside.
  • Slow things down and ensure that you’re factoring in some downtime for yourself. This time of year is certainly prone to perpetuating stress and high demands.  Be vigilant and ensure that personal space and rest is being given as much emphasis and importance, if not more so, than completing the extensive to-do lists.
  • Be tactile. Vata needs touch and warmth.  Hug your loved ones, and take a hot water bottle to bed.
  • Abhyanga (warm oil self-massage) is one of the most effective ways of balancing Vata. Use warm organic sesame oil and massage your feet and hands before bed.  It is a wonderful self-practice that is nurturing, grounding and encourages deep sleep.
  • Go to a yin-based yoga class. The gentle, more intuitive practices encourage an increased awareness of the body, and can help to quieten and still the mind.

So often we can feel off-centre, depleted, or just not quite ourselves.  When this happens, see if you can pause for a moment and just acknowledge the qualities of your environment.  Today, as I write this article, it is cold, grey, with blustering winds (typical Vata day). I ask myself what I can do to create warmth, vibrancy and stillness and these considerations will influence many of my day-to-day choices.  It’s a dance between the outside world and our inner-selves, through which we can discover great peace and harmony.

Laura is an Ayurvedic Massage Therapist and yoga teacher.  Please check out her website for more information:

The Common Ground of the Heart – restorative Autumnal retreat with Ally Stott

heart retreat

To know myself beloved, to call myself beloved on this earth – Scilla Elworthy

Saturday 28th October 10.00 am – 5.00pm

Our humanity joins us together.  We breathe the same air, are nourished by the same earth, are warmed by the same sun and share the common ground of the heart in this matter of being human. This restorative meditation retreat offers an engaged, contemplative space to explore this matter of being human in our uniqueness and our commonality, as part of this great body of earth.

To really meet ourselves as we are requires curiosity, kindness and some discipline.  Through meditation we are not trying to change who we are, we’re entering the garden of ourselves, so that we can know who we are.  From this ground of being we then engage in the world with greater wisdom, clarity and compassion.

Ally Stott is a Craniosacral Therapist & Transpersonal Psychotherapist. For many years she has accompanied people as they have journeyed and inquired into this matter of being human.  She co-correlates Discovering Unity courses in Oxford, and can often be found on her allotment.

The cost of the retreat is £55. To make a booking contact-
Our explorations will happen both inside the hall and outside in our broader nature.


Silvie’s back at Healthy Oxford :)

silvieSilvie is now back in UK offering four treatment modalities: Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Zen Shiatsu, Reiki and Intuitive Healing.

Silvie is an intuitive healer who specialises in helping people to:

  • Relax deeply and let go of tension or stress;
  • Release old physical and/or emotional ‘holding patterns’ from their system;
  • Rebalance their flow of vital energy (a pre-requisite for good health);
  • Gain valuable insights to help them understand themselves better and utilise their own inner resources for healing;
  • Connect with the inner peace and stillness that is always available underneath the ‘mind chatter’;
  • Gain more energy, vitality and a greater sense of wellbeing.

How Silvie works: Silvie’s style is gentle, sensitive and intuitive. Her deep sensitivity enables her to ‘tune into’ the client’s body and energy field, to see blockages on a physical, emotional or energetic level, and clarify where healing and rebalancing is needed. All the treatments help to stimulate / work alongside the body’s own natural healing processes, and support the client with whatever they are ready to release physically, emotionally and/or energetically. Silvie herself is not the ‘healer’, rather she supports the client and their body to connect with their own healing ability.

Who can benefit from treatments?: People come to see Silvie with a variety of conditions, including back / neck / shoulder pain, headaches / migraines, digestive disorders, unresolved emotional issues, hormonal issues, chronic fatigue, stress-related symptoms, TMJ (jaw) issues, injury, whiplash and for general wellbeing.

Please see Silvie’s page or the indvidual treatment listings for more information. For bookings or enquiries, please contact Silvie on or 07584 621085.

Discovering Unity Course with Ally Stott

Healthy Oxford’s Ally Stott is running a seven week course into self-enquiry and the relationship with the self and the world.  Please see below for all the information about the course and contact details to book a place.  What a wonderful opportunity.


Dear Friends

We have just traversed the threshold of Imbolc, the mid point in the wheel of the year between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  In Chinese medicine we have just entered the season of Winter-spring.  Not only are we at a point of transition, we are transition, can you feel this in your body as you read this message?  Your cells breathe – receiving and releasing, the warmth of winter fire softens a cold body, stepping out under
crescent moon and diamond sky expands our sense of who we are, or reminds us that we too are specks of light incarnate as these glorious human bodies.

Our ancestors have sat in circle together around the fire for as long as there have been humans; listening, sharing, opening to the mystery that we are.  In many ways these are not easy times to be alive.  Fear, confusion and ignorance fill the media, our cities and streets. And in many ways these are incredible times to be alive. So many movements of simple love, kindness and creativity are sprouting in every direction.  These are demanding, rigorous times, we are being called, from every direction, to know ourselves.  To meet the fullness of our experience and to really know ourselves.

So if you are hearing this call in the song of your heart, perhaps you would like to join us for the next 7 week Discovering Unity course in Oxford starting in April.
With love

Some exciting Healthy Oxford news!

These are some exciting times. It is with great pleasure that I pass the leadership of Healthy Oxford on to my colleague, friend & inspiration Laura Hancock. For those of you not familiar with Laura’s work, she is an incredible yoga teacher and the font of all knowledge when it comes to Ayurveda, health & wellbeing.

Healthy Oxford started out 7 years ago as a small co-operative, and has gone from strength to strength over the years. It has been a phenomenally rewarding experience to see it grow, with emphasis on building a team of highly qualified practitioners and creating long-term sustainable practices.

Through this journey I have got to know some incredible practitioners and members of the Jericho Community and I thank you all for the support you have shown over the years.

It is great to have an idea and see it fully manifest. I take my hat off to each one of our brilliant practitioners who have dedicated so many years to study and practice in their chosen disciplines to form this diverse and established team of health specialists.

I’m excited to see it continue to thrive and wish Laura the very best in leading the team.

With thanks,

Vicky Wright





The second instalment of the Healthy Oxford practitioner profiles – Joshua Knight!  Such a calm and warm presence, I was fascinated to learn more about his practice in Somatic Experiencing and Seated Acupressure.  His influences and inspirations are varied and profound 🙂

1) The treatments you offer at Healthy Oxford are somatic experiencing and seated acupressure, can you tell us a little more about what these practices are and why you were drawn to them?

SE: A therapy designed to work with trauma, especially acute, ‘shock’ trauma, where there are symptoms of PTSD after a highly stressful or life threatening episode. It can also be effective working with chronic trauma where there are more embedded symptoms, like mental health issues, or syndromes.

SA: A massage treatment designed to relieve stress and increase energy levels for people at work or with busy lives. It’s usually a short, effective, clothes-on massage in a special chair that blends Shiatsu, Thai and other massage forms. Mostly I take this treatment into people’s workplaces, but it can be great as a longer, more in-depth massage as well.

2) Can you talk us through a session to explain what a client experience would be?

SE: It really depends on the person’s needs and their intention in coming to work with me. Usually there is some talking and some more practical, experiential elements in a session. It can be a bit like mindfulness mixed with counselling, and it works on many levels. Awareness is the key component, as it has a healing quality in itself when we apply it to our bodies. Usually sessions don’t involve touch but it can sometimes be a really useful support in the healing process.

SA: This is more predictable! After letting me know their particular needs, the person sits forwards in a chair and receives rhythmic massage to acupressure points on their back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and head. We sometimes do some stretches as well. Part of it is quite stimulating at the end when the person is more relaxed, so they are able to go back to work if necessary!

3) In your experience what conditions or symptoms have your clients found your treatments can support?

SE: Whether or not a person has been diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD, this treatment can help lessen just about any condition, as we focus our attention on what is happening in the here and now in the person’s experience, in both psyche and the body. It’s most effective with acute trauma, where there has been a single event that you feel stuck in, but it can also work very well with more long-standing issues, like chronic fatigue, depression and other mental issues. To be honest, as with any talking therapy, it really depends on whether I’m the right person for the client and whether s/he is able and willing to go into their experience and be a bit patient.  I would recommend this to anyone suffering from anxiety, stress, sleep problems, psycho-somatic problems, addictions, phobias, overwhelm, relationship issues (especially where there is a theme of feeling invaded or overwhelmed by others), empowerment and confidence issues, dissociation or the experience of not being fully present in the body.

SA: This is good for stress in all its manifestations – anxiety, tension in the body, sleep issues, etc. and it’s also good for cases where there is low or blocked energy. It’s ideal for anyone who just wants to feel more relaxed and give themselves a re-charge. Specifically, it’s great for tension in the shoulders, neck, back and arms – especially repetitive strain (RSI) type problems. Modern day life stress always impacts on the body somewhere and it’s usually found in these areas, so we take time to soften and release tension. It can also help with computer over-usage conditions like eyestrain, headaches and ‘brain fog’ as it refreshes the energies fuelling everything in the brain.

4) What do you love about being a holistic therapist? 

In both modalities, it’s probably the contact with people and seeing the difference a session can make. I like to witness someone’s development over time as well, so this is more tangible working with trauma over a period of months – or longer in some cases. I love seeing people’s willingness to walk the edge, to shift out of where they are stuck and to face parts of themselves that have been kept in the dark. I love seeing people being truly who they are, basically. We humans are powerful, loving, sensitive and creative beyond measure! It’s a such a privilege to be able to witness this first hand.

5) Do you have any area of specific interest and where do you see your practice developing?

Hmmm, recently I have started to do some SE work with teenagers, and it has been a great challenge. So I’d welcome more younger people. More adults would also be fine as well! As I said above, I’ve realised my real motivation is to support others healing and self-realisation, so if the medicine is working I get to be a part of this, and this is good enough for me. I learn and develop so much in every session, so I’m very happy with the way things are panning out…

6) Can you share your experience of a particular influence, e.g. teacher or lineage, that has inspired you?  

I feel I am standing on the shoulders of many giants and giantesses… If I was to narrow it down, here goes:

The SE work has been transformational for me personally in so many ways, and I am lucky enough to be passing it on. So Dr Peter Levine, who birthed the modality has to be acknowledged. I have yet to meet him however, so would like to mention Pedro Prado, who trained me. An amazing living embodiment of the SE approach and a Rolfer by background.


Outside of the trauma field, I have an ongoing and extraordinary relationship with the 5rhythms dance/movement practise. Gabrielle Roth who birthed this work has to be mentioned, but again I have not had direct contact with her, so would have to say Oya Moore, a teacher/medicine woman working from her home – The Red Earth Dance Sanctuary – in Spain. She has and continues to have an amazing effect on my life, and my work. She continues to teach me about kindness and courage. A true Warrioress of the light!


Finally, all the non-duality teachers I’ve come into contact with over the years, who plug away tirelessly, even though most of us aren’t able to fully receive what they are saying most of the time! Special mention to Mooji and Adyashanti, two of the ones that resonate with me.


Want to book an appointment?

You can visit Josh’s website:

And contact him by email –; and by phone – 07747 610539



Welcome Sophia!

Nikon DSLR

We’re delighted to welcome Sophia Lathan to the Healthy Oxford Practitioner Team!

Sophia brings 20 years experience as a holistic practitioner, a deep sensitivity, and a gentle nurturing touch to her practice. For more information on her background, you read more on her profile.

She offers sessions in:

Facial Reflexology, with Natural Facelift Massage

“One hour of complete bliss…So relaxing for the face and calming for the whole body – I felt and looked years younger!” – Lizzie May

“I slept for 11 hours – I haven’t slept like that since I was a child! My daughter said “Mum, you look radiant! What have you done?” – Diane Hickey

Ally Stott’s Upcoming Retreats: Wild Mindfulness Retreat

Healthy Oxford’s Ally Stott is involved in two retreats this Summer!

2nd – 3rd July: a therapeutic weekend retreat for women after cancer treatment.  Held in a meditation centre nestled in the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, Ally Stott and Dr Helen Palmer will be exploring pathways to healing and renewal.

Cost is £90 – £140 on a sliding scale depending on income, and booking is essential.  Please contact Helen Palmer – to reserve a place.

Ally Retreat 1