Aligning with Autumn: An Ayurvedic Guide
Seasonal changes affect our physical and mental health. We’ve all experienced the impact temperature, rain, and daylight hours can have on our energy level and mood. Here are some easy ayurveda self-care tips to help align our daily routines with the qualities of fall, helping us to stay centered and healthy this season.
#1 Eat Nourishing Foods
During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to help us stay warm and grounded. Take advantage of the season’s bounty of root vegetables. Enjoy roasted or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra nourishment. Spices also help to warm the body and increase circulation.
#2 Slow Down Your Yoga Practice
Take a cue from nature, when her pace slows down in the amount of daylight hours and the waning of plant life, slow down the pace in your own life. On the mat, favor grounding yoga poses like Supported Reclining Twist (Salamba Bharadvajasana) and Supported Straddle Pose (Salamba Upavistha Konasana). They benefit the nervous system, prevent adrenal fatigue, and support liver detoxification.
#3 Massage Yourself
An Ayurvedic self-care practice called abhyanga (a full-body oil massage, which you can administer yourself) is said to reduce anxiety, stress by soothing the nervous system. Before your morning shower or bath, warm your favorite massage oil (for example, almond, sesame, coconut, etc.) and give yourself a self-loving rubdown. Ideally, you would do a little at-home yoga too, perhaps some sun salutations, and get the body warm and moving for about 20 minutes. In addition to the benefits of detoxification, you will have thanked your muscles for their hard work, improved your circulation, and calmed your nervous system.
#4 Scrape Your Tongue
This is easy and takes less than a minute. Purchase a quality tongue scraper to use before or after you brush your teeth. Tongue scraping is believed to aid in digestion, improve oral health, and aid in the cleansing of the immune system.
#5 Try a Neti Pot
Nasal cleansing has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda. However, many contemporary doctors are also recommending this simple at-home therapy, that uses a saltwater solution that passes through your sinuses. As the saltwater solution drains, it eliminates the congestion stuck inside.
#6 Get More Sleep
Science backs up this Ayurvedic adage. In 2009, researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that people who get less than an average of seven hours of sleep nightly were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who regularly got eight or more hours of sleep.
#7 Follow A Routine
For optimal health, it is best to wake, eat, and sleep on a similar schedule every day. We are creatures of habits, after all, and function best when we abide by them. Actively and consciously following a daily routine is particularly important when balancing the mobile, erratic nature of fall.
Most important of all:
Pay attention to the signs that are expressed in your body and mind. As you learn to ride the waves of nature instead of going against them, you’ll find yourself with more energy and at greater ease.
And adopting this qualitative approach will keep you healthy no matter the season.
Sachi Doctor is an Ayurveda practitioner, health educator, and founder of Elemental Alchemy which offers one-on-one consultations and group programs for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.