Did you know imbalances and illness can arise when you do not change with the seasons? Ayurveda has diet and lifestyle practices that will prepare you for an easy transition into the fall season to keep you healthy and balanced.
Ayurveda is an extensive health practice that originates from India. It is over 5000 years old and is still practiced in India today. In the last 30 years it has spread to other parts of the world as well, including North-America and Europe.
Most people naturally change some of their lifestyle and diet habits over the change of a season, but most are not aware of this. If we learn, or better yet remember, how to look at the changes of the season, we can easily know how to adapt our diet and lifestyle to stay healthy and in balance.
The qualities (gunas) of fall season are dry, cold, mobile and rough. We can balance them by applying the opposite qualities of oily, warm, stable and smooth.
How to Look at the Seasons
When we talk about seasons we simply look at the weather; the temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation. (Snow, rain etc) These things have an influence on nature as well on us as humans. Twice a year we go through a transition of temperature increase or decrease. Mid January the temperature starts to increase again after six months of decrease. Mid July it reverses. This make February and August the most challenging months to stay healthy.
When we look at the weather changes moving into fall we notice that the temperatures drop. In early fall temperatures fluctuate, mornings and evenings are colder, but mid-day can still be beach weather. The wind starts to pick up as well as rain. Leaves are starting to fall and brown and we are moving towards winter hibernation time. This means we are experiencing more coldness, dryness, mobility and roughness due to the wind and cold weather. So these are the qualities we need to work with (cold, dry, mobile, rough).
In late summer/ early fall certain imbalances can arise. The accumulated heat from the summer can make you irritable, you can see a rash on your skin or your eczema can flare up. Digestive issues like loose stools can arise or heart burn and allergies. You can feel depleted and burned out. Your Pitta (fire) might be a bit too high.
If you tend to run more cold, you can notice that you are starting to reach for a sweater in the morning, your skin might become more dry and you can experience constipation, gas and bloating. Maybe your anxiety is spiking or you feel more worried about things. You can also feel tired and depleted. Your Vata might need some love.
If you know your dosha is Kapha, you will feel great at this time of year. The cooling breezes and drier weather suit you just fine.
What To Do!
If you identify more with the Pitta imbalances and feel hot and irritable at the moment, you need to cool down! Here's a few ways to do that.
Take time to rest, slow down in your day and cut some things out of your schedule. The summer activities might have left you feeling depleted and burned out. You deserve some rest and relaxation! Take an online yoga class, go for a walk in the forrest, do some loving self-care in your me-time and just simply chill out. Work on removing stressors from your life and lower the standard for yourself a bit.
Drink more water! Possibly you ran out of electrolytes from sweating and not replenishing enough. Start upping your water intake slightly and add a piece of lime for refreshment and taste. Aloe vera juice is great to add to your water (1 tbsp max) to cool you down.
Cooling & Bitter Foods
Add some cooling foods to your diet like cucumber, coconut, mint, pomegranate, cilantro to cool your digestive system and your liver. Your liver is likely running hot and needs some cooling down. Bitter foods are cooling and support the liver and gallbladder in their detoxing process. Add some bitter greens like kale, chard, salad greens, green herbs to your meals to support these organs and cool you down.
If you identify more with the Vata imbalances, here are some tips.
Did you know being cold can increase constipation and anxiety? Make sure you put on that sweater in the morning and evenings to stay warm and comfortable. Add some warming teas to your diet like fresh ginger.
Just like the Pitta's you might be depleted in electrolytes. Add a pinch of mineral salt and a splash of lemon to your water to increase your electrolyte levels. Switch out your coffee for a ginger tea, maybe a chicken soup already? If you crave it, go for it!
In Ayurveda oiling the body is a revered practice. It is called abhyanga and this is a self-oil massage. Oil on your skin is insulating, so it will keep you warm. It is a layer of protection from the outside world and can act as a soother for anxiety and worry. It is nourishing for dry skin and brings a soft, loving and calming quality to the mind. Also you can ingest oils like olive oil, sesame oil and ghee. (clarified butter, lactose free) This will oleate you from the inside and helps with constipation and nutrient absorption and assimilation.
Bringing routine to your meal times and sleep times can create incredible health benefits.Your body loves routine, it thrives on routine. Bringing regularity in your meal times will improve your digestion and lower your anxiety. By regulating your sleep times you will improve your quality of sleep and your energy levels.
The above tips will help you to regain or maintain balance throughout the month of September. Of course things like reducing screen time, lowering coffee, alcohol and drug intake, regulating emotions are things to work on year round.
Learning about Ayurveda is a journey; it takes time! Take the time reading about it, go to see an Ayurvedic Counsellor and mostly become familiar with yourself.
Do you want to know more about how to adapt to the fall season? Watch this webinar.
The Weekly Meals menu of September is created in line with the September seasonal weather to support your health.
*Always consult your physician when making changes to your diet and lifestyle.