Autumn certainly separates the crowd! As the mornings grow darker and the wind sends chilly gusts every which way; some are excited and exhilarated – cheeks glowing, whilst others hunch and grimace, the irritation clear to see.
The change of any season can bring about significant changes to our bodies, depending on ones constitution (Prākṛti). Most people have a favourite and find others more testing.
Whether you love or hate Autumn, there are aspects which will begin to effect even the most hardy of us, at some point during the next few months. Conditions caused by dryness and dehydration, problems with mobility or movement:
- Anxiety can start to creep in – the dark evenings and gloomy mornings can really start to have an impact.
- Insomnia becomes more prevalent as tension, fatigue and restlessness increase.
- Clarity becomes impaired for some – enthusiasm can wane and strength and vigour weaken.
- Creativity can suffer and some may feel a block during the change and peak of the season.
- Skin starts to dry and / or crack.
- Hair dries and can start to fall.
- Ears ache, tinnitus can increase. Ear, Nose & Throat become blocked – and then the colds start!
- Joints become painful and mobility can decrease.
In Āyurvedic terms – these are all signs and symptoms of Vāta doṣa increase or disturbance. Vāta is made up / predominant in Air and Ether elements and these dominate Autumn; dry, windy and cold.
An increase in these external elements will cause increase within the body. If you identify with a lot of these symptoms, you are likely to have a good proportion of Vāta in your own Prākṛti – the good news is that once you identify the causes, you can do SO much to balance this!
SAD – Seasonal Adjustment Disorder was clearly identified in Āyurveda, thousands of years ago – this is not a new phenomenon. As well as understanding the problems being caused by each season (in relation to the elements governing each time period), the Sages of the time also identified various mechanisms to balance these turmoils. With a few tweaks to bring these up to date, the simple, calculated actions still hold true.
So here goes – my simple, but oh so effective ways to re calibrate, balance, and pucker up to enjoy the Richest, Romantic, Russet-Amber, Glowing, Cosy and Colourful season of the whole calendar – and good gosh are we lucky to live in such a beautiful land to enjoy its intense radiance – blink and you will miss it.
- Start the day with a hit of ginger and honey – sunthi (whole dry ginger) is best, if you can get it. If not, go for fresh or a good quality dry ginger powder. Add it to a spoon of raw (dark amber) honey and this should keep your ENT passages clear.
- Warming drinks and food. Definitely a time to use warming herbs and spices – add them to teas or warm juices and in abundance to your food.
- Dense, heavy foods containing earth, fire or water element (sweet, sour, salty tastes*). *Post to follow.
- Warming, sweet spices such as cinnamon and star anise will treat all of the senses.
- Add oil to food. Olive, safflower, rapeseed – choose your favourite and drizzle to taste.
- Alcohol is heating to the body – whilst this can cause discomfort in terms of rashes and acidity in summer, it can impart a welcome inner glow during Autumn and Winter – red wine with food can be most pleasant!
Look out for Autumn recipes being posted here over the coming weeks.
- Oil massage and steam will relax and soothe muscles and the nervous system. The effect will calm the mind and the body, restoring vitality and movement. Don’t let this be about money – we can’t all afford to indulge in frequent massages – this does not matter, add an egg cup full of oil (olive works a treat) to your bath, luxuriate in the warm oily water and when you get out, give yourself a deep tissue rub – the effect will be similar and the benefits to your skin and muscles will be noticeable.
- Detoxification of the colon and oil enemas – if fasting during this period, do so ONLY with guidance of a practitioner and ensure that this is done with single (warm) foods or for shorter periods, with correct rejuvenation treatment before and after.
- Yoga and relaxing meditation or breathing exercises can really provide a tonic to the nervous system and will introduce structure and balance when everything starts to feel hectic – Autumn is a great time to enrol in a class or to start a hobby, the evenings will feel warmer if they are shared with friends.
- Connect with nature – some will cringe at this sentiment, but if you take a walk, look up at the colours of the leaves – kick the fallen ones and notice the vibrancy around you – the squirrels jumping around and the insects scurrying, if you feel a connection with the environment, you are likely to feel more grounded, stimulated and less isolated.
You might have guessed: this is written with absolute bias – I LOVE Autumn and hope that you will find some of these coping suggestions useful. xx