Seasonal Guide For Autumn
It’s that time of year when you first feel that crisp breeze and know that summer is gone and autumn begins revealing herself. Although every season has its traits – autumn has a particular beauty about it. Noticeable changes of autumn include the leaves changing colors, days getting shorter, and mornings growing chillier and more crisp as summer begins to fade away.
Dry, Light, Cool, Rough, & Windy
The qualities of autumn depict the element of “air” which can easily be understood by the nature of wind. The wind during this time of year becomes more gusty and naturally tends to dry the body [i.e. dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, etc.]. From an Ayurvedic perspective this season is thought to aggravate “vata”. Vata regulates all movement within the body with a special function of communication. Although the principle of vata permeates the entire body, its main sites of the body mostly include the central nervous system, the colon, skeletal system [hair & teeth] and skin. Therefore, as we prepare for autumn season and while keeping the totality of body-mind in perspective it is also important to take these special attributes of vata into consideration.
Central Nervous System:
Vata provides the impulse of communication which travels through the central nervous system. The dry, light, rough, and excess mobile qualities of vata can express themselves influencing the way we feel and perceive the world. Because of this, autumn is more likely to create feelings of anxiety, nervousness and even insomnia. Therefore, you may want to consider more heavy qualities to balance the light and subtle qualities of vata. For example, just the coziness of heavy blankets and bedding provides that added comfort and warmth needed to help promote sound sleep. Another seasonal tip for autumn is enjoying a nice cup of hot milk prior to bed. For an added benefit you may want to consider nutmeg milk or garlic milk at night which also creates a sense of heaviness and grounding quality needed for restful sleep.
Delicious Spiced Milk Perfect For Autumn Season
[Recommend To Have Hot vs. Cold]
20g mixed nuts
2 tbsp Sugar
A pinch of saffron
1/2 spoon cardamom powder
1 tsp chironji nuts
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 cup condensed milk
Additions of condensed milk, saffron and nutmeg, give the spiced milk its required aroma and texture.
The Gastrointestinal Tract:
One of the main sites of vata is the colon. Due to vata’s dry quality this tends to dry the colon resulting in constipation, especially common to autumn season. Therefore, our goal during autumn is to introduce more oily and nourishing foods such as a delicious bowl porridge [of oats] flavored with maple syrup and cinnamon for breakfast, hearty soups for lunch which will add both moisture and warmth to the body. Likewise, to prevent stagnation within the G.I. tract [i.e. constipation] and to help promote downward motion you may also want to consider soaking haritaki overnight in a cup of warm water. The following morning you can rinse the mouth with a few sips of this haritaki tea and then slowly sip the rest of this tea to help stimulate the bowels. Finally, Ayurveda speaks volumes about removing excess vata from the colon and therefore advocates the use of special enemas. These enemas should be performed under the supervision of a qualified ayurvedic professional and only after discussing the risks/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician. Performing an enema using sesame oil is thought to help remove accumalated dry and rough qualities of vata from the colon.
Musculoskeletal System and Skin:
The brisk cold of autumn often increases the seasonal tendency of aching joints and ‘frozen shoulders’. Therefore, to help offset these cold, dry, and rough qualities of vata upon the musculoskeletal system you may want to massage your muscles by rubbing into the skin and muscles warm organic sesame oil. After massaging the body with warm sesame oil next consider a nice warm shower to wash off the oil and further relax and massage the muscles. Another consideration for stiff and aching muscles [and joints] is mahanarayana oil.
Other Seasonal Considerations For Autumn:
– eat warming, soothing, and easily digestible meals
– eat foods which are primarily sweet, sour and salty in taste
– drink warming herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon and cardamom tea
– keep warm and stay out of strong winds
– do regular yoga, meditation, and pranayama breathing exercises