AYURVEDA: AUTUMN into early WINTER

September 20, 2015

I have had a keen interest in Ayurveda for many years and have been fortunate enough to stay in Ayurvedic retreats centers in India - which is certainly a treat!   Ayurveda influences the yoga content I practice & teach – making my yoga ‘seasonal’ – helping to balance the energies of the season.  Ayurveda means the “science of life”.  A sister science to the art of Yoga, both rooted in ancient Indian traditions that work in a life enhancing way with a healthy philosophy for life. 

 

The basic view of Ayurveda is that all life comprises three energy-elements:

 

Air = Vata

Fire = Pitta

Water = Kapha

 

The Season of Autumn:

According to AYURVEDA, Autumn is a time when the Air element VATA is predominant; there is more lightness, dryness and coolness in nature and in us.   There are the ‘winds of change’ and with more windy, cold and dry weather in Autumn into early Winter, Vata is naturally aggravated.  As Vata regulates the nervous system, levels of moisture in the body, how relaxed we feel and how well we digest food, all these can easily become disturbed - imbalanced.   This energy will affect everyone but especially those who have a Vata dominant dosha as they can easily get out of balance during this time.   

 

Illness is defined as an imbalance of these elements and wellness is defined as a balance of them.  Ayurveda is invaluable to help you work out your personal constitution (dosha) and using the principles that apply to your dosha, find a healthy balance to life.  These can be using lifestyle changes to establish daily routines, proper diet, sleeping, seasonal living, internal cleansing, yoga & meditation.  I like principles & practices that you can apply to yourself – a self-help regime – it develops self-confidence & reliance upon yourself.

 

Keeping the Balance:  Routine, regularity & discipline is an essential part of balancing the VATA energies.  So keeping to a routine with sleep, food, yoga and rest - will help to keep the Vata energies balanced – and enhance your well-being.

 

In summary to help stay in balance during tha VATA season:

 

1.    Rise early when the world is still calm and brush teeth with nourishing powder such as Liquorice, Haritaki or Mint.

 

2.    Daily 5-10 min morning self-massage with warm Sesame oil, Ashwagandha oil or Mahanarayan oil.  Wash off in a warm shower. This offsets seasonal tendencies to dryness, joint cracking, stiff muscle pain and poor circulation.

 

3.    Pacify Vata by starting your yoga practice with alternate nostril breathing and adopting a slow-steady approach to yogasana, especially useful are wind relieving poses, all inverted poses where the head moves below the waist, all twists, seated forward bends, slow sun salutation with several slow breaths in each pose and lots of Savasana (relaxation) for proper grounding, nurturing and rest.

 

4.    Be regular with a Mindfulness meditation practice that brings calm, focus and soothes the mind and emotions.

 

5.  Wrap up well when out and about, ensure your mid-drift is covered – basically keep kidneys warm.

 

6.    Diet to consist of warm, sweet, mildly spicy, sour and salty foods.  Soups, casseroles, ghee, hemp seed oil and kicharee are nourishing.

 

7.    Add Ayurvedic Herbals (when needed)  like Chywanaprash in morning to boost energy levels; Ashwaganda am & pm which is calming & strengthening to the nervous system; Triphala at night for bowel cleansing.

 

8.   Get at least 7-8 hours sleep, in bed by 10pm, rub soles of feet with warm sesame oil, drink warm milk with pinch of nutmeg & cardamom.

 

9.    Autumn is a common time to perform a seasonal cleanse to prepare for the winter ahead when excess Kapha arises.

 

For more information about Ayurveda and the VATA dosha, visit:

http://www.pukkaherbs.com/pukka-planet/stories/wellbeing/vata/

 

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