Here in Australia, autumn means we step outside with a lighter layer, we see more prints and warmer tones in our wardrobes. For me, autumn also means consistent southerly winds which is great for the surf! But this time of year also brings shorter days, changeable weather, winds, and cool, dry air. Because of this, the air element is dominant during this season which in Ayurveda brings a dominating level of vata.
In Ayurveda there are three, not four seasons. So we look at autumn as winter’s younger sister; The warm-up season (or warm down!) to an early winter.
Our internal landscape reflects mother nature’s shifts in season. Our physiology literally senses the weather pattern that the world around us takes as we orbit the sun each year, which is why it’s important to adopt a seasonal routine to align ourselves with the dynamic rhythms of the natural world. How you care for yourself during the autumn will determine your body’s ability to maintain health through the winter. Ground yourself by supporting the sensitive vata dosha with Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom. Now is time to keep warm and nourish yourself in order to protect your vitality in preparation for the cooler months ahead.
Yes – this if your official permission to catch some extra shut-eye! Start by waking a little later than you did in the summer, by about half an hour. As the mornings are darker in the autumn, we naturally shift into waking between 6.30 and 7.30am whereas in summer naturally we want to be up between 5.30 and 6am. Remember, it’s about mimicking nature externally, internally and as much as we can in the modern world.
Sip ginger tea
Fresh ginger root is commonly used to balance out vata, which is a bonus because ginger tea in the mornings is a great way to stimulate and wake up the digestive system first thing. If you don’t have fresh ginger root, opt for an organic ground ginger, let it steep in hot water and cool naturally to drinking temperature.
Eat a warm breakfast
In summer I tend to favor fruits, icy cold dairy-free smoothies and acai bowls for brekkie. Alas, it is time to say goodbye to these delicious morning rituals for now. (Although, you can still have these around lunch when the sun is highest in the sky and the stomach’s digestive fire is at its highest!). Stick to seasonal foods that are cooked, warm, moist, sweet and soft. Try rolled oats with cinnamon and fresh figs! YUM!!!
During autumn, try to schedule your yoga practice at the same time every day and for the same length of time. The seasonal vata in the air can create a lot of feelings of imbalance, so honoring a routine will help combat this. Try detoxing twisting posts, side stretches, back bends, and also sun salutations to create heat in the body.
Anything that further exasperates vata including:
- Light, dry, rough foods that are vata-provoking such as refrigerated salads
- Cold drinks
- Skipping meals, irregular eating or fasting
- Snacking too much between meals
- Exposure to cold drafts and wind (keep the body temp warm at all times!)
- Over stimulation. For example: too much television or too much coffee
- Absence of routine
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