Ayurveda and Autumn

fallWell my fellow yogis, summer has most definitely come to a close. Some of us are mourning the long days of sunlight and heat, whereas others are relieved by the cooler temperatures and the ability to bundle up and be cozy after sweltering away all summer. As you know by now if you’ve been following my Ayurvedic blog posts, this is due to individuals’ variance in constitution, or their differing doshas. People with more fire energy, or with more pitta in their constitution, may dread the high temperatures of summer, whereas those with a higher amount of vata, or air/ether energy, in their constitution often feel much more comfortable in warmer temperatures.

For a review of the Ayurvedic principles discussed further in this article, you can click here to read the Spring Ayurveda post, where I provide a quick introduction to Ayurveda. If you want a refresher on the summer-specific guides to see where we just came from, click here.

Fall Through the Ayurvedic Lens

Fall is a time of transition for our environment – leaves start to change and fall, and plants and the earth get prepared for the winter ahead, causing our landscape to become more bare. I love the imagery provided by Banyan Botanicals describing this:

“The autumn harbors a certain emptiness that can leave us feeling exposed and a little raw, but it is also filled with possibility—a time when we, too, can strip down to a quiet essence of being and savor the simplicity.”

The energy of this season is crisp, cool, clear, light, dry, windy, and unpredictable. This is vata energy predominating in our environment. Regardless of your dosha, being proactive about bringing balance to that vata energy by ensuring you are warm, nourished, and cultivating a sense of stability and groundedness in your life is especially helpful during this season.

Being aware of signs of vata imbalance is also helpful, so here are some for you to watch out for…

Mental: Anxiety, loneliness, restlessness, insecurity, confusion, interrupted sleep, lack of groundedness

Digestive: Excess gas (bloating, burping), excessive thirst, irregular appetite, weight loss

Other Physical Signs: Dry skin or hair, psoriasis, eczema, poor circulation (cold hands and feet), dizziness, sensitivity to loud noises

 

Ayurvedic Suggestions for Fall

fallleavesVata is pacified by warmth, nourishment, routine, and peacefulness. Along with general vata-pacifying guidelines, here are some Ayurvedic tips for staying grounded and balanced during this blustery season – you may have even noticed yourself switching over from some of your summer routines and eating habits to some of the suggestions listed below already!

1. Eat warming, substantial foods served hot, such as warm grain breakfasts (good examples are oatmeal or cream of wheat), soups and stews, and drink plenty of warm liquids.
2. Include adequate protein and healthy fats and oils in your diet to help with grounding and to help keep your body’s internal moisture levels up in this drying season.
3. Moderate your consumption of raw foods, avoid too many light and crispy foods like crackers, and avoid frozen or cold foods.
4. Complement your food with warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, and cardamom.
5. Ensure you are eating enough to feel nourished, but avoid overeating as that will also disrupt vata.
6. Develop a daily routine with regular sleep and meal times to help maintain balance amidst the erratic energy of the season.
7. Remain warm – bundle up and keep your extremities warm against the chill of the air and wind.
8. Exercise slowly and gently, focusing on strengthening movements and exerting yourself at 50-70% of your capacity.
9. In your yoga practice, warm up slowly and hold poses for longer amounts of time– think of keeping the pace of a Hatha class versus a Flow class. While you can focus your attention on feeling the earth beneath you in any pose, which will help for feeling grounded, some specific poses to practice for grounding and strength are the warriors, tree pose, mountain pose, cat/cow, and child’s pose.
10. Practice alternate nostril breathing, a pranayama technique that Ayurveda denotes as being especially useful in the fall season.

For more on dosha-specific guidelines for fall, visit the full fall seasonal guideline page on Banyan Botanical’s website and scroll down to the subheading: “More Specific Support for Your System.” If you do not yet know your dosha, you can take Banyan Botanical’s quiz online by clicking here to determine your constitution.

Stay warm, yogis!

All information from this article was summarized from https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/.

Photo credits to http://www.pixelstalk.net/fall-desktop-wallpapers-hd/ and http://www.blissbodyandsoul.com/.


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