With the weather varying between hot, cold, windy, sunny and rainy, autumn can wreak havoc on our energy and our health. Do you trust your immune system to stay healthy during the variable weather patterns of fall season? If you know the ancient science of Ayurveda, then you have the tools you need to stay as vibrant as the color of the leaves in both body and mind.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, fall season is the season of Vata (Air). The qualities of Vata include variability, movement, rough, cold and dry. This manifests in the mind as mood swings, anxiety and heightened stress. In the body you’ll notice that your skin becomes rough and dry. You may also experience variability with your digestion.
To counteract the qualities of Vata during this season we want to invite the opposite qualities of steadiness, softness, warmth and liquid into our diet and lifestyle. When we make small changes to our diet and lifestyle with each season it’s easier to maintain balance, health and vitality. Small, consistent routines are the key to health and wellness and the don’t take a lot of time or cost very much money. They do however require a commitment and discipline. If you’re up for the challenge you can empower yourself to be an active participant in how good you feel on a daily basis and have the energy you desire to enjoy the activities that you love. Here are my top 5 tips for fall season.
Implement and Maintain Routine
This tip counteracts the variability of fall season (the mobile quality). Maintaining a steady routine helps our minds and bodies adapt to the changing weather patterns and the change of season. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – ideally 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. Eat your meals at the same times each day. Consistency with meal times and sleep times go a long way to calming the mind, enhancing mood and boosting energy. If you want more daily routine tips please click here to read my blog on the benefits of daily routine for the winter months.
Because of the variability of the weather it’s important to stay warm. Bring extra layers to work with you or even a change of clothes. It may start off cool in the mornings so wear a scarf that you can then remove as it heats up during the day. Wear socks! Our feet are easy to ignore, especially if we love wearing flip flops. Keeping our feet warm goes a long way to keeping our bodies warm. As paddlers we have a good handle on how to layer and how to stay warm – practice this skill off the water as well. I would rather be too warm and have to remove a layer than be too cold and make my body more susceptible to getting sick.
Eat Warm, Cooked Foods and Warming Spices
Soups, stews and oatmeal with warming spices such as clove, nutmeg and cardamom are perfect meals for fall season. The softness of these kinds of dishes counteracts the rough quality of fall season. If you pay attention to your body, you’ll notice that you start to crave warm foods during the fall. The natural intelligence of our bodies is always moving toward homeostasis (balance). Avoid cold, raw foods and ice drinks.
Yes, that means no salads, but yay for roasted, sauteed and steamed veggies! Scroll to the end of this blog post for my favorite curried quinoa recipe that incorporates all six of the tastes, is warm and easy to digest.
Massage with Medicated Oils
This may sound weird – I get it. When I was first being introduced to Ayurveda I thought oil massage was weird too. Then I gave in and tried it, and my mind was blown! This type of oil massage is called Abhyanga. It doesn’t take long and it goes a long way to counteract the rough, dry and mobile qualities of fall. One of my teachers called it a protective layer for the body. It also helps to calm the mind, helps with better sleep, and your skin will thank you!
I practice daily during the fall, winter and spring. Follow it up with a warm shower to let the oil penetrate your skin. Here is a link to a full article on Abhyanga: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/lifestyle/self-oil-massage
Rest and Relaxation
Get plenty of rest during fall season and carve out time in your day for a nap. Yes, naps are considered good medicine for fall season according to Ayurveda! You don’t have to nap for hours. A good 15 – 20 minute power nap can go a long way.
Create a bedtime routine so that you prepare yourself for a good night sleep. Turn off screens an hour before bed, drink some herbal tea, do some gentle yoga poses and/or read a book that is calming to the mind. Give yourself some extra relaxation time this fall season and you’ll find your emotions more steady and your body more energized.
And/or learn about your unique constitution and the specific foods and lifestyle that will boost your vitality by scheduling an Ayurveda Wellness Consult with me . Click HERE to find out more.
Curried Quinoa Recipe