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With autumn come the winds of change and predominantly, cooler, dryer air. These qualities in nature have a tendency to aggravate “vata”, which begins to accumulate at the end of summer. “Vata” is the dosha associated with the qualities of dryness, coldness and roughness in the body. Vata regulates the nervous system, the levels of moisture in the body, how relaxed we feel, and how well we digest food. These can easily become unsettled in autumn. If our digestion runs below optimum, harmful toxins can increase. To balance vata, we should minimize exposure to cold winds, dryness, and erratic behaviour.
Here are some suggestions to help you through the season of change:
- Rise early when the world is still and calm, and brush your teeth with a nourishing herbal toothpaste that includes gum strengtheners like liquorice and mint.
- An unusual way to balance vata is to hold some warm sesame oil in your mouth for three minutes (use 50 ml). Although it sounds strange, it nourishes the mouth, strengthens the teeth, stops bleeding and prevents receding gums.
- Massage yourself with warm sesame oil. This simple practice offsets the seasonal tendency of dryness, cracking joints and stiff muscles. After a warm shower, place a small drop of oil in your nostrils and ears to offset the damaging effects of the elements.
- Your autumnal diet should comprise of warm foods that are sweet, mildly spicy, sour, and salty to increase moisture, and to feel nourished and grounded.
- Begin the day with a small bowl of oats, rice or quinoa porridge, which can be flavoured with maple syrup or honey and cinnamon for the best digestion.
[quote_center]‘Om Shanti’ And Enjoy The Changing Colours.[/quote_center]
- For lunch and/or dinner, choose nourishing foods such as steamed vegetables or soup. Avoid too much raw salad, beans, fermented foods and yeast in the autumn as they cause wind and may destabilize your digestion.
- Start your yoga practice with some Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana). This breathing practice purifies the channels of toxins that accumulate from tension and constriction of the channels. We all know deep breathing helps us to relax, but it also releases the subtle channels that can easily become constricted and tight.
- Do yoga poses that regulate vata. This especially includes all inverted postures where the head is below the waist, all twisting poses, slow sun salutations, and a long deep relaxation in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for proper grounding.
- Perform a seasonal cleanse to prepare for the winter ahead. Together with the cleanse, take organic Triphala at night to ensure you have a complete cleansing every morning. Triphala is the most famous Ayurvedic remedy, and is a combination of three fruits that very gently detoxify the body and rejuvenate the digestive system. Take it for two weeks.
- At the end of your busy day make yourself a delicious cup of organic milk, simmered with a pinch of nutmeg or cardamom, and settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!