Autumn is the period of the year when Vata is predominant not only in the atmosphere and environment but also in our bodies. The weather is generally light, dry, cold, windy, rough and empty. Autumn is a time of pacifying the Vata Dosha. One should try and reduce symptoms like dryness, constipation, wind, loss of sleep, irregular lifestyle etc.
Ama and Agni:
Ama is the undigested metabolic food residue in the body which circulates as toxin.
Agni is the digestive fire which when strong ensure good health and balance. When the Agni is strong ama is never formed.
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.
▼ Start your home detox be drinking an Ayurvedic based ginger and lemon tea every day till 4pm in the afternoon.
▼ Drink plenty of warm water through out the day.
▼ Take Triphala every night before bedtime
▼ Prepare kitchari and have this as often as possible.
▼ Drink plenty of vegetable soup during this period.
▼ Avoid cold, heavy, stale foods.
▼ Concentrate on light, warm slightly spicy and nourishing foods.
▼ This is a very good time to perform Bastis (either at home or you can go to an Ayurvedic practitioner)
Ayurvedic guidelines for Autumn:
Herbs and herbal remedies:
▼ Ashwagandha: this helps balance the Vata during autumn season. It is very good at calming the nervous system and also strengthening it. This herb also helps to enhance stability and strength during Yoga practice
▼ Triphala: this 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.
▼ Ginger: Ginger helps to strengthen the digestive fire. It best taken before each meal.
Diet and nutrition:
▼ Follow a Vata pacifying diet.
▼ Generally one should avoid cold, dry, rough and light foods.
▼ One should concentrate on warm and nourishing foods.
▼ Avoid cold salads especially towards evening.
▼ One must aim at eating warm freshly cooked foods in autumn.
▼ Avoid black tea and coffee towards evening as they increase Vata in body.
▼ Avoid cold drinks, ice creams, beans, fermented foods etc as all them cause an increase of Vata in the body.
▼ Concentrate on sweet, sour and salty foods.
▼ Herbal teas which contain ginger, fennel, cinnamon etc are best for this season.
▼ Warm thick soups are best.
▼ Include Ghee in your diet for this season.
▼ Fasting is generally not recommended during autumn.
▼ Suggested foods are basmati rice, chappatis, soups, mung dal, kitchari, steamed vegetables, warming spices like cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, and cinnamon.
▼ Warm milk at bedtime is ideal especially when warming spices like ginger, cardamom and nutmeg are added to it.
▼ To ensure a good nights sleep one may also take Jaiphal or Nutmeg capsules before going to sleep.
▼ As we go towards winter, many of us suffer from common colds and sore throats, taking Chyawanprash helps to strengthen the immunity and it also acts as a very good anti oxidant.
Ayurvedic Massage and bodywork therapy:
▼ Autumn is the best time to receive massages.
▼ Vata is the Dosha that requires maximum oil therapy.
▼ The best oil to use is pure cold pressed sesame oil.
▼ Every morning give yourself a massage with warm sesame oil and then go in for a shower.
▼ Concentrate on Marma points relating to your Dosha.
▼ One can also use Dosha oils for specific Dosha types. These oils are usually sesame seed oil based.
▼ This is the best time of all kinds of Ayurvedic oil therapies like Shirodhara, Shirobhyanga, Ayurvedic foot massage, a whole body massage, Ayurvedic face massage.
▼ Good yoga positions for autumn season are as follows:
- Forward bend
- Backward Bend
- Half spinal twist
- Sun salutations
- Shoulder stand
▼ Breathing exercises are alternate nostril breathing for approximately fifteen minutes.
Daily lifestyle and routine:
▼ If you can wake up early in the morning preferable before sunrise. This is the best time to do some meditation.
▼ Gargle your mouth with some warm, sesame oil. Try and hold it in your mouth for at least 2 minutes. This process helps to strengthen and nourish the mouth and teeth. It also helps to draw out all toxins from the digestive tract.
▼ After brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth with some warm Triphala water.
▼ Eat three almonds that have been soaked overnight in water and peeled.
▼ Apply some sesame oil or Dosha oil to your body and massage. This helps to alleviate Vata symptoms like joint pains, bone pains, dryness of skin and generally nourishes the skin.
▼ Also apply some oil to your ears and nose.
▼ Regulate your mealtimes. Don’t skip any meals including breakfast.
▼ Try to go to bed as early as possible.
▼ Give your self a quick foot massage before going to bed.