Autumn has arrived. Trees are turning colors, daylight is waning, and the nights are becoming cooler. Summer’s sun and heat are surrendering to the cool, soft embrace of fall weather. If you have decided to join us for the simple, healing, Ayurvedic cleanse you know that there are 4 stages. This post should help you make sure stage one is either complete or on its way to completion!
Autumn from An Ayurvedic Perspective
In Ayurveda, each season is associated with a dosha, with autumn being linked to vata dosha. The qualities of fall weather and vata dosha are dry, mobile, subtle, and cool. Plants and leaves dry up and turn color. The sun’s light is more subtle. Temperatures become cooler.
In the body, excess vata manifests as dry skin, cracking joints, irregular digestion/elimination, and stiff muscles. In the mind, brisk winds and shorter days create feelings of restlessness and spaciness. It is important to understand the qualities of Vata Dosha and try to balance them with the opposites in food, lifestyle and by using some herbs if you are up for the cleanse!
Vata is cold, dry, rough, light and moves fast so we counter balance this by choosing warm, stable, grounding practices. Stage one of our cleanse is to introduce as many of these grounding practices and food into our diet as possible.
Here are five easy, effective, and enjoyable Ayurvedic self-care tips to create optimal health, vitality, and creativity in your life this fall.These practices are not only limited to the time of a cleanse but hopefully will become a part of your regular regimen!
Five Fabulous Fall Self-Care Tips
1. For our seasonal cleanse. As summer turns to fall, it’s important to remove excess heat from the body and mind, and prepare your immune system for winter. Observe nature and notice how trees naturally shed their leaves. Autumn is the perfect time to shed habits and foods that no longer nourish your body and mind. For this first stage of the cleanse, see if you can take out all canned, boxed, frozen, processed or left over food and cook your meals fresh on a daily basis. Avoid any cold drinks or cold foods and focus on using the following Ayurvedic spices with Ghee at each meal time. Your pantry should now be filled with root veggies (seasonal veggies such as squash and pumpkin are great), greens such as spinach, for legumes stick to Mung dhal beans or sprouted mung dhal beans as this kind of legum takes the excess gassiness of Vata away and creates a full protein meal combined with basmati rice and ghee. Mix some organic ginger powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cloves in a mason jar, this will be your "Vata spice jar" and will be used to make all your food. Find my Kitchari recipe here.
2. Grounding Yoga Poses. Take a cue from nature, where her pace slows down in the amount of daylight hours and by the waning of plant life. Slow down the pace in your life. Start with your yoga practice. Favor grounding yoga Asanas and classes like Moksha Yoga, Yin yoga or Restorative Yoga. They benefit the nervous system, prevent adrenal fatigue, and support the liver’s function of detoxing.
3. Abhyangha Warm Oil Massage. The Ayurvedic fountain of youth is Abhyangha – warm oil massage. Abhyangha pacifies the dry, subtle, and cool qualities of fall. It nourishes the body, calms the mind, relieves dry skin, improves circulation, and maintains the skin’s youthful glow. Look for a demonstration post from me on this blog.
4. Start your day with hot water and lemon to get rid of any excess Ama or toxins that your body collects throughout the night and try to stick to the Ayurvedic clock as much as possible! Waking up with the sun and going to bed sometime in Kapha time 6pm-10pm.
5- Cardamom, Ginger & Fennel Tea, to have in between the meals. Why Make You Feel Great?; Cardamom, ginger and fennel improve circulation, digestion and burn off morning mucous. This light and refreshing appetizer is great between meals to reset your palate. It makes an excellent fall tonic. Get the recipe here.