Ayurvedic self care for the Fall season

Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net and artist James Barker

Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net and artist James Barker

Fall is a season of transition. The leaves on the trees turn colors, shrivel and blow away in the winds of change. Weather is unpredictable, swaying from warm and sunny, to cold and windy, blowing in storms of rain and even snow. In this time of transition and instability, our immune system is in a weakened state and can easily fall prey to sickness. By understanding some of the fundamental qualities of nature, we can empower ourselves to sail through the winds of change, like a bird migrating with the seasons.
In Ayurveda, Fall is dominated by the Vata dosha and the qualities of dry, cold, rough, light, and changeability. In order to remain in balance we must counteract these qualities with moist, warm, oily, heavy and consistency.The Fall season is a critical time for self-care.The way you nurture yourself  in Fall will determine how you fare in the flu season and throughout the winter. Outlined below are some key diet and lifestyle recommendations intended to keep you in balance into the winter.

  • Focus on warm, moist, oily, well-spiced foods such as:
    • Breakfast- hot cereal or stewed fruit with warming spices and ghee(cinnamon, clove, crystalized ginger, nutmeg, cardamom)
    • Lunch/ Dinner – favor soups, stews, curries, mung dhal kitchari, tortillas, basmati rice, root vegetables, yams, chard, squash, ghee, sesame oil,  cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, ginger, cumin
    • Dessert– puddings, tapioca, halva, kheer
  • AVOID raw food(sweet fruits OK), salads,cold drinks, ice and ice cream
  • Support your health by drinking Trinity Tea! Good for fighting off viruses, balancing all of the doshas and is anti-inflammatory for aches and pains!
    • 1 T fresh grated ginger
    • 1 T fresh grated tumeric (1/2 t. if using powder)
    • 2 T dried Tulsi leaves (if using fresh, add to taste)
      • bring 5 cups of water to a boil, add ingredients and simmer for 3-5 minutes, strain and drink
  • External oiling is also very helpful during Fall. Warm sesame oil is the ideal oil for Vata. Massage body from head to toe daily and follow your self-massage with a hot bath or shower.
    • For body aches or a cold, add 1/3 C ginger powder and 1/3 C baking soda to a hot bath. Soak and then rest under a pile of covers!
  • The two most common Vata imbalances is insomnia and constipation. If you have either of these symptoms, your vata is certainly out of balance
    • To induce sound, natural sleep: drink a cup of warm raw cow’s milk with warming spices before bed. Rub warm sesame oil into the soles of the feet at bedtime and put on a pair of socks(to not get your sheets oily!)
    • To aid constipation: drink a cup of warm raw cow’s milk with warming spices and at least 1 t. ghee. Another option is before bed, take 1 t. triphala powder, steeped in boiled water until cool enough to drink. This formula gently eliminates toxins from the colon and tones the large intestine for proper elimination.
  • Fall is the perfect junction of seasons to do Panchakarma, a traditional Ayurvedic cleanse. During this cleanse, the toxic accumulation of the 3 doshas is purged from the body. This is done utilizing Abhyanga massage, herbal steam, oil baths, shirodhara, herbal oil enemas, castor oil treatment, cleansing kitchari diet etc. (The full description is available under Panchakarma on my website) This is ideally done with a skilled Ayurvedic Panchakarma Therapist or a simple home panchakarma cleanse can also be arranged. Contact Ameya Duprey for details.

By utlilizing these simple self-care stratagies and understanding the fundamental qualities from which they come, you empower yourself to create and maintain a state of balance, immunity and vitality for yourself this Fall season and beyond!

 

 

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© 2012 Ameya Duprey