Ayurveda and Autumn
Each season allows us the opportunity for change, a time of transitioning …
In the Fall, Nature begins to let go, to move inward and to slow down. Ayurveda encourages us to do the same by emphasizing living in accordance with Nature to maintain balance in body, mind and spirit.
Fall is considered Vata season because its qualities are cold, dry, light, clear and mobile – the same qualities as Vata dosha, one of three principle body constitutions. Vata regulates all movement in the body: nerve impulses, circulation, digestion and even breathing.
Following the Ayurvedic principle that like attracts like, it is important to manage Vata in the body during this time to keep imbalances from manifesting physically and emotionally.
When Vata is balanced in the body, its qualities include feeling happy, joyful, energetic and creative. However, when imbalanced, Vata can cause insomnia, fear, anxiety, dry skin, constipation, arthritis, stiffness and cracking joints.
During the junction of the seasons called Vitu Sandhi, we are more prone to imbalance and illness, making these next few weeks an especially important time to take care of ourselves.
Ayurveda offers us seasonal routines for self-care that are simple and effective. Try incorporating a few of these practices into your daily routine:
- Wake up early each day, before 6 a.m. if possible, to enjoy the quiet stillness of the morning before beginning your day
- Practice yoga and meditation regularly
- Practice alternate nostril breathing, a great pranayama practice to calm the mind
- Enjoy a warm, nourishing breakfast, oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Stay warm and keep covered to protect from cold and windy weather
- Eat regular meals, avoid skipping meals and too much snacking between meals. This can weaken the agni (digestive fire)
- Enjoy a Vata pacifying diet of grounding, warm, cooked meals – soups, cooked vegetables and grains
- Some of the best foods for Vata include: bananas, avocado, dates, lemons, carrots, beets, okra, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, mung beans, quinoa, rice, nuts, ghee, sesame oil
- Drink warm water and herbal teas throughout the day
- Do abyhanga (self massage) with warm sesame oil to keep the joints happy and promote a good night’s sleep
- Drink warm milk or nut milk spiced with ginger, cardamom and nutmeg in the evening
- Get enough sleep and be careful not to push yourself to the point of exhaustion (physically or mentally)
- Go to bed early, before 10 p.m. when possible
Some of these suggestions are ways we naturally move towards as the weather begins to cool and we begin to settle in and slow down. Ayurveda is a very common sense approach in this way. Regularity and routine are especially important for grounding Vata dosha. These practices focus on rest, relaxation and rejuvenation to nourish the whole self. By making conscious and mindful choices each day, we are taking responsibility for our own health and healing.
Wishing you all a wonderful Fall season,