Tennee | August 14, 2017
The first partial lunar eclipse on August 7th has cracked open the door to Autumn. While Autumn is still technically a few weeks away, I can see and feel the beginnings of the shift. Huckleberries and windy walks on carpets of pine needles are some of the signals of fall in my neck of the woods. My studies with Ayurveda have taught me the importance of tuning into the seasonal shifts as they are pivotal influences that effect our health and wellbeing. Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of healing known today and was founded on principles that involve working with the elements found both in nature and the body. Ayurveda stresses the importance of supporting the doshas (energies) in the body throughout the seasons. The season of Autumn is captured by the elements of Ether and Air. These qualites stimulate the dosha: vata. Vata is similar to the wind: (cold and dry) and quite variable.
The energy of the vata dosha is best supported with warmth, introspection and quiet. This makes fall the perfect time to create rhythms and routines that support more internal activites. It is also ideal to support the body with warming, nourishing foods to help offset imbalances brought about with the wind and the cold.
The tendency to manifest more vata like qualities in the fall can reflect vata like imbalances. These tend to show up as colds and flus, achy joints, dry skin, constipation, nervousness and anxiety.
Ideal foods for Fall
When eating during the fall, a diet that is rich with naturally sweet, salty or sour is best to offset any vata imbalances. Eliminating astringent and bitter flavors are especially good at this time. Traditionally the sweet, salty and sour tastes build the tissues and insulate against the cold. They also moisten tissue to stave off the vata imbalance that brings about a dryness and these tastes stimulate digestion which tends to be weaker with the shift from summer to fall.
Ideal fall foods include:
Soups with root vegetables, bone broths, stewed apples, basmati rice with ghee, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash, nuts and seeds. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, asafoetida and black pepper will kindle the digestive fire to help support digestion.
Ayurvedic herbs to support the body in fall
is one of Ayurveda’s most revered herbs for vata-like anxiety. Also known as the “indian ginsing of ayurveda”, this adaptogenic herb is excellent for its building or tonifying qualities. It is used to lower inflammation, improve sleep quality, relieve stress and improve stamina. While this is an amazing adaptogen, it is not recommended for those with autoimmunity conditions.
This is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation of Bilya, Amla, Brahmi, Pippali, Yashtimadhu and Gokshura. This formula is used as an adaptogenic, digestive, immune stimulant and nutritive tonic. This warming formula is excellent for those that deals with vata like tendencies or “vitiation” and is used as a preventative for the cold and flu season. Chyawanprash is notably revered by children for its sweet and spicy taste.
This is an amazing formula made up of three fruits. Amalaki, aka indian gooseberry, is known for its high vitamin C content. Amalaki is used to support healthy metabolism, digestion and supports healthy cholesterol levels. Haritaki is anti inflammatory and supports healthy elimination. Bibhitaki is a rejuvenator and detoxifier of the blood. Useful for all three doshas, this is a balancing formula to use as support during the fall season.
Other ways to support the body in Autumn include:
- Limit raw cold foods like raw vegetables and salads.
- Minimize caffeine which increases vata and aggravates the nervous system.
- Avoid ice drinks with a meal or afterwards. Ice kills the digestive fire.
- Scrape the tongue in that am and pm to stimulate the removal of amma (waste) from the digestive system.
- Drink a warm milk tonic before bed with a spice mix of cardamon, cinnamon, ginger and ghee to stabilize blood sugar and prepare the body for sleep.
Take time to enjoy this beautiful change of seasons while nurturing your body with nourishing foods and practices. This is a perfect time to give extra thanks to the earth for providing such an exquisite bounty of nourishing food. Cheers!
Wishing you a radiant reality!
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