Autumn care through Ayurveda
Welcome to Autumn (Fall) season, the Vata season
Autumn (Fall) season represents a major transition of mother earth from warm season to cold season. Hence Ayurvedic wisdom recommends being mindful about this change. Fall season brings a predominance of air element and prana, the vital breath, the subtle essence of life, is abundant in the atmosphere.
Autumn is dry, rough, windy, erratic, cool, subtle, and clear. These are all qualities shared by vata dosha, and since “like increases like”, autumn is considered as a Vata season. This same principle illustrates why taking a few simple steps to balance Vata this fall can be beneficial to protect health.
Ayurvedic philosophy based upon the 3 energies called doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. These 3 doshas when in balanced state promotes Health & Wellness and when they are in imbalance they start the disease process. Every person has a unique combination of these doshas called ‘Prakruti’ which means your natural unique constitution. Also in nature the 3 doshas have a yearly cycle, which we experience as the seasons. In Ayurveda, climatic changes affect the status of doshas in the human body. According to Ayurvedic Calendar there are 3 seasons, Vata season, Pitta Season & Kapha season. Within each season the most prevalent dosha, in Fall season Vata dosha, accumulates to some degree within each individual. These accumulations bring about certain types of imbalances that one experiences such as dryness, indigestion in the forms of gases, bloating and increased anxiety levels on mental level. Simple lifestyle adjustments and awareness can help pacify Vata dosha in body thus further prevents progression of imbalance.
Diet and Nutrition-
As the season changes we need to make a few simple changes to our eating and dietary cycle. We often make the mistake of eating the same foods year round without realizing that with the changing seasons, our diets must also change. This is particularly important in Autumn season.
Ayurvedic Nutritional Tips for Autumn/Vata season -
Since Autumn season brings cold and dry elements, start eating warmer or steamed foods to balance and nourish these effects.
Favor the tastes of sweet, sour and salty this season, but always use in moderation. These foods enhance the energy in the body and immune system.
Avoid foods like cold foods, salads, raw foods, soda, ice cream & choose warmer, heavier, cooked foods in proper proportion.
Cooking with ghee (clarified butter) is also advisable during these months, because ghee is guru (heavy) and in a season of high winds it serves as an anchoring substance in dishes.
Eat three meals a day.
Drink calming herbal teas such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon.
Drink 6-7 glasses of room temperature or warm water daily.
Favor vegetables such as cooked asparagus, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, green chilies, mustard greens, chickpeas, and zucchini, rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata.
Add spices to your meals such as ginger, fennel, cumin and coriander.
Most dairy products is fine except hard cheeses, plain yogurt and ice cream. Warm milk with a pinch of cardamom is recommended.
Choose fruits such as sweet apples, avocados, grapes, mangoes and strawberries.
The most important tip is to maintain meal time routine.
Establish a routine. Start with a couple of things that you can do at the same time every day.
Go to bed at around the same time every night, ideally around 22.00 hours. Sleep is an essential part of life.
Enjoy hot baths with relaxing and nourishing oils.
Take gentle yoga classes to connect with your breath and body.
Autumn is a junction of two seasons – summer and winter. And at a seasonal junction, Ayurveda highly recommends a cleanse of the body, mind and emotions.
Abhyanga or oiling is highly recommended during fall months when the air is dry and cool.
It tunes the nervous system and has the ability to unblock tense areas of the physical body and conscious body that have previously been closed off. It will help counterbalance the increased activity, calm anxieties, nourish dry skin, and it promotes the flow of life force energy.
Add a few drops of Rose essential oil and/or Jasmine essential oil to a base oil of Organic Sesame oil/Almond oil. Using your palms, gently massage the whole body with warm oil in clockwise strokes. This routine can be done before shower or before bedtime.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, rub some oil on the soles of the feet and into the scalp.
It is one of the Panchakarma mentioned in Ayurveda. It is a process by which medicated oil or ghee (clarified butter) is administered through the nostrils. This practice (nasya) will pacify the vata dosha, improve vision, and reduce snoring. It’s also good for sinus congestion, dry eyes, neck stiffness, headaches, migraines, even spondyloarthritis.
You can do Nasya up to twice daily (on an empty stomach and at least one hour before or after showering). Here’s how: Lie on your back, face up, with a pillow under your shoulders and your head tilted back so your nostrils are facing the ceiling. Put 3–5 drops of medicated nasal oil or warm ghee (clarified butter) in each nostril. Rest with your head in this position for one minute.
Yoga and Breathing exercises-
Good yoga positions for autumn season are as follows:
Half spinal twist
Breathing exercises: Alternate nostril breathing for approximately fifteen minutes.
Autumn Home Cleansing methods-
Autumn is a very good time to perform a small cleansing cure at home. A one week detox program at home will prepare you for the winter ahead.Cleansing helps to strengthen the digestion and cellular metabolism, increase immunity, eliminate toxins, lose weight & improve mood and energy.
Start your home detox by drinking an Ayurvedic based ginger and lemon tea every day till approx 16.00 hours in the afternoon.
Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day.
Take Triphala powder every night before bedtime. Triphala is a good herbal combination for all three Doshas. It is rejuvenating and strengthening for Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This also helps to cleanse the colon and hence works towards detoxification.
Prepare khichdi (kitchari) and have this as often as possible. Kichadi is a dish usually made with basmati rice, moong dal, vegetables and spices. It is a Dosha balancing, complete protein and meets all nutritional needs while being light and easily digested.
Drink plenty of vegetable soup during this period.
Avoid cold, heavy, stale foods.
Concentrate on light, warm slightly spicy and nourishing foods.
Daily Routine -
Ayurvedic Oil Pulling is the best daily routine for autumn season. This technique helps to get rid of any dryness from the body, nourishes the tissues and systems and stimulates the immune system