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Ayurveda for Autumn

by Dr Deepa Apté(more info)

listed in ayurveda, originally published in issue 249 - October 2018

According to Ayurveda, seasons are divided based on Doshas:

  • Summer is a typical Pitta or fire (hot and dry) related season;
  • Autumn is a typical Vata or air (dry, cold, light) related season;
  • Spring is a combination of Kapha  or water/earth (humid, damp, cold) and Pitta or fire (hot and dry);
  • And lastly, winter is a combination of Vata or air (dry, cold, light) and Kapha or water/earth (cold, humid, damp).

The Autumn Period

Autumn is the period of the year when Vata is predominant not only in the atmosphere and environment but also in our bodies. The weather is generally light, dry, cold, windy, rough and empty. During this time of the year, one will start experiencing more dryness, coldness, lightness which may translate into changes in sleep patterns, body aches and pains especially aggravation of imbalances like arthritis. This is also the season when breathing ailments like asthma may become more aggravated. One may also experience dry light stools leading to constipation. During autumn season the main aim is to alleviate dryness, coldness and lightness from the body.

Autumn is also a junction of two seasons – summer and winter.  And at a seasonal junction, Ayurveda highly recommends a cleanse of the body, mind and emotions.

Apte 249 Ayurveda for Autumn

Home Cleanse - One Week De-Tox

Autumn is a very good time to perform a small cleansing cure at home. A one-week de-tox program at home will prepare you for the winter ahead.

  • Start your home de-tox by drinking an Ayurvedic based ginger and lemon tea every day till 4pm in the afternoon;
  • Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day;
  • Take Triphala every night before bedtime. It is a cornerstone herb in Ayurveda that not only helps to balance all the Doshas but also helps to cleanse the bowels and stimulates the digestive fire;
  • Prepare Kitchari  (combination of rice, yellow split mung beans along with spices and herbs like turmeric, cumin, mustard etc) and have this as often as possible. This will help to nourish all the tissues and yet stimulate the digestive fire;
  • Plenty of vegetable soup during this period will help to remove that excess dryness and coldness;
  • Avoid cold, dry, light and raw foods;
  • Concentrate on light, warm slightly spicy and nourishing foods;
  • Regular foot, face or head massages for the week will help to cleanse and nourish various sensory functions and organs.

Following the above home cleanse one could follow various guidelines for Autumn as listed below:

Herbs and Herbal Remedies:

  • Triphala: This is a good herbal combination for all three Doshas. It is rejuvenating and strengthening for Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This also helps to cleanse the colon and hence works towards detoxification;
  • Turmeric: This is a great herb during Autumn time especially for anyone suffering from joint and bone problems as it has very good anti-inflammatory and blood cleansing effects;
  • Tulsi: Also known as Holy Basil, this herb helps to strengthen and stimulate the respiratory system hence preventing any symptoms of Asthma or breathing difficulties during the autumn season;
  • Ashwagandha: It is a very good herb for calming the nervous system and also strengthening it. This herb also helps to enhance stability and strength during Yoga practice.

Diet and Nutrition

  • As autumn is a cold and dry season, one should avoid foods and drinks that may increase this coldness and dryness;
  • One should concentrate on warm and nourishing foods;
  • Avoid cold salads especially towards evening;
  • One must aim at eating warm freshly cooked foods as much as possible;
  • Avoid black tea and coffee towards evening as they increase Vata or restlessness in the body and may lead to sleep disturbances;
  • To ensure a good night’s sleep one could take Chyawanprash in warm milk every night. Chyawanprash (also called as the Ayurvedic jam, made of Indian gooseberries along with other herbs and spices) is known for its anti-oxidant, immune boosting properties;
  • Herbal teas which contain ginger, fennel, cinnamon etc. are best for this season;
  • Warm thick soups are best;
  • Include Ghee or clarified butter in your diet as this is quite high in proteins and helps to nourish the nervous system;
  • Fasting is generally not recommended during autumn as it has quite a dry and light effect.

Ayurvedic Massage and Bodywork Therapy

  • Autumn is the best time to receive massages;
  • Vata is the Dosha that requires maximum oil therapy as it’s quite dry, light and cold;
  • Every morning give yourself a quick five-minute massage with warm sesame oil and then go in for a shower;
  • One can also use Dosha oils for specific Dosha Body Types. These oils are usually sesame seed oil based;
  • This is the best time for all kinds of Ayurvedic oil therapies like Shirodhara, Shirobhyanga, Ayurvedic foot massage, a whole body massage, Ayurvedic face massage.

Yoga

  • Good yoga positions for autumn season are as follows
    • Lotus
    • Forward bend
    • Backward bend
    • Half spinal twist
    • Cobra
    • Cow
    • Camel
    • Sun salutations
    • Shoulder stand
  • Breathing exercises like alternate nostril breathing, cleansing breath exercise and breath of fire help to warm up the body and stimulate the immune system;
  • Sun Salutations are best for this season as they help to warm up the body and help to stimulate the immune system.

Daily Lifestyle and Routine

  • Ayurvedic Oil Pulling is the best daily routine for the autumn season. This technique helps to get rid of any dryness from the body, nourishes the tissues and systems and stimulates the immune system;
  • Upon waking up and on empty stomach, first thing in the morning, take some warmed up sesame seed oil in the mouth. Approximately 2 tablespoons should suffice. Please remember the oil needs to be warm or hot, never cold. Apply the mouthwash action for 30 seconds. Then hold the oil in the mouth for the next 30 seconds. Repeat this technique for approximately 2 minutes. This process helps to strengthen and nourish the mouth and teeth. It also helps to draw out all toxins from the digestive tract. After brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth with some warm Triphala water;
  • Regular walks in the open nature help the body to absorb in the much-needed oxygen and prana. A 15-minute walk every day should help.

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About Dr Deepa Apté

Dr Deepa Apté MBBS (India) is a fully qualified Indian medical doctor (Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Surgery, India), a qualified Yoga teacher and an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner and sits the board of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (www.APA.uk.com ). She lectures widely on Ayurveda and Yoga worldwide and regularly has articles published in the press. After having run successful practices in India and Germany, she now runs her practice from London. She also teaches courses to trained therapists on various treatment techniques in Ayurveda and and is the lead lecturer of the Ayurveda Pura Academy. Dr Apté may be contacted on Tel: 020 8312 8383;  info@ayurvedapura.com     www.AyurvedaPura.com

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