Autumn wellbeing: an Ayurvedic guide
Each season brings some common and predictable patterns that can affect our health. For example, as we move from summer into autumn we may see the ‘winter blues’ starting to creep in and an irregularity in digestion as a result of the seasonal change in diet. Understanding why these patterns occur can help us to develop strategies against these seasonal tendencies and therefore maintain maximum wellbeing.
As the days become gradually cooler and shorter, we can begin to feel the countdown to the darker months of the year. Autumn is the season for preparation; getting your body ready for the winter months ahead. It is also a season of change, the transition from the hot heat of the summer to the cool dark of the winter.
Ayurveda in autumn
During autumn, the air element is predominant with more light, dry and cool weather alongside the erratic winds of change. As the vata constitution is regulated by the air element, this is the dosha that requires the most attention during the autumnal change. The stark change in weather and cooler, drier environment can cause levels of moisture in the body to reduce and also affect how well we digest our food. Similarly the winds of change can make us feel more on edge or erratic, and often our nervous system can become aggravated, making us feel anxious.
Key conditions that often occur in autumn are those such as arthritis, which are influenced by the mix of excess vata and toxins or ama circulating in the body as a result of an inefficient digestion. Anxiety and more erratic behaviours can also often surface.
The change of the season is always a good time for a seasonal detoxification or cleanse, but if you’re not feeling up for a full detox, try some of the tips below.
Try incorporating some of these top tips into your daily routine to balance the cool, dry autumn environment:
- Rise at 7am when the world is still and calm
- Massage yourself with warm sesame oil or Pukka Active 35 Oil to offset the tendency for dryness, cracking joints and stiff muscles - follow with a warm shower
- Try some alternate nostril breathing to eliminate vata toxins that may be restricting your nervous system and circulation
- Yoga poses perfect for autumn are all inverted postures where the head moves below the waist, such as head and shoulder stands. Also try slow Sun Salutations
- Enjoy a cup of herbal tea that will leave you feeling balanced but also energised. Try Three Tulsi, Turmeric Gold, Three Licorice or Licorice and Cinnamon
- Try a teaspoon of Golden Preserve in the mornings to keep energy and immunity intact
- If you are feeling the effects of the winds of change and are feeling a little out of sorts, or are not sleeping as well, try Wholistic Ashwagandha or Night Time supplements. If you notice that your monthly cycle also seems a little irregular try Wholistic Shatavari or Womankind supplements to establish a sense of balance
- The autumn diet should consist of warm foods with a sweet, mildly spicy, sour and salty flavour to increase moisture and help you feel nourished and grounded. Start the day with a small bowl of oats, rice or quinoa flavoured with maple syrup, honey or cinnamon. For lunch and supper choose nourishing foods such as steamed vegetables, soup or kicharee. Avoid too much raw salads, cold drinks, ice, beans, fermented foods and yeast as they cause excess wind and may destabilise the digestion. If you notice that your digestion is slightly out of balance try a cup of After Dinner tea, or the Wholistic Triphala or After Dinner supplements
- At the end of the day, enjoy a delicious cup of simmered milk with a pinch or nutmeg, saffron or cardamom and settle in for an early night.
The most important point is to allow your body and mind time to adjust to its new environment - give it time and support it. Ensure that you receive adequate periods of rest and sleep, have a good nutritious diet, take regular appropriate exercise and try to maintain a positive state of mind. By working towards this, you will start to re-charge your body and really feel ready and stocked up for winter.
Looking to find out your dosha? Take our dosha quiz here.