FIVE TIPS TO KEEP IN BALANCE IN AUTUMN
Ayurvedic medicine, at its core, is about balance. It looks like this: start by knowing your constitution, your baseline of wellbeing. Ayurveda uses your unique combination of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) to define your constitution, your core nature. This is called your Prakriti.
Then, your work, the fun, is to know where you are, at any particular time, in relation to your core constitution- recognizing that if you are not experiencing your baseline of wellbeing (THRIVING) then your Prakriti is in some degree in a state of imbalance (known as your Vikriti). Then, the mission is bringing yourself back into balance.
Many things, actually everything, can either support or disrupt this state of balance. The things you ‘feed’ yourself, including your diet, your relationships, your thoughts, the weather, physical environment etc all affect your core baseline.
Ayurveda teaches that when the seasons change, it’s an opportunity to look at how the changes in your environment are either supporting or disrupting your core constitution -defined by Ayurveda as your Prakriti.
Ayurveda teaches that the autumn is dominated by the air element. Its characteristics are dry, windy, changeable and cool- which are also the characteristics of the Vata dosha, making the autumn a season dominated by Vata. If you have a predominant Vata dosha, you will feel the effects of this change quite strongly at this time.
Important to note here, the great imbalance of the 21st century is the Vata imbalance -especially the Vata imbalance of the MIND which looks like anxiety, insomnia, peak-and crash energy cycles, multi-tasking exhaustion, changeable and unreliable moods, lack of focus, mental-looping, and poor short-term memory-to name a few.
Basic to Ayurveda is ‘like increases like’, so for example, eating dry foods when the body is predominantly dry will only increase this dryness-quite obvious. Mostly, this happens instinctively and is supported by the foods that grow in each season- tapping into natures innate intelligence. In a perfect world, what you’re eating should be growing all around you.
So in order to find balance in the body throughout the season of autumn, we must keep the Vata dosha in balance which is extremely helpful.
Five quick tips for keeping Vata in balance throughout the Autumn
Counter the new cool air and it affects on your body with far-infrared saunas, steam rooms, hot water bottles-great on lower back/kidneys, hot baths, extra black pepper and cayenne on food, hot liquids, hot spicy cooked food (no-to-low raw).
Madhura Rasa, or the sweet taste can be useful to pacify Vata imbalances of the mind. Madhura rasa gives us comfort. Madhura rasa also bringing peace and serenity to the unsettled heart: not surprising we love it so much. So no, not refined sugar ‘the silent killer’ but natural sweetness, honey or maple syrup in teas or on porridge or stewed autumn fruits. Don’t deny yourself the sweet taste.
GOOD FATS (‘unctuousness’)
Counter the dry in the air with a lubricated body and mind with internal and external good fats. Taking hot- oily baths, take extra time to apply non-refined pure plant oils to the skin, allowing the body to drink up this fat. Add extra fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil etc.. to your diet, at least some extra every day.
Counter the changeable nature of autumn with simply making a practice of sitting still and focusing the mind on one steady point. Yin yoga, restorative yoga, yoga nidra or simply sitting and listen to a guided meditation all work, look for opportunities to find stillness every day.
Counter the changeable nature of autumn with daily routines. This can be as simple or as intricate as you like, but the idea is not to change it. Find something that works, and stick with it. A morning practice of body oiling with warmed oil, drinking some sweet tea and a 5-minute meditation is a beautiful daily practice to remain grounded and steady throughout the changeable season of fall.
Many of these practices will help you straight through unilt spring, keeping you balanced even in the coldest, dryest months so it’s helpful to start to find your way into winter-wellness practices that work for you now, as the nights draw in.