Written by the Art of Living Foundation
Autumn has arrived. Trees are turning colors, daylight is waning, and the nights are becoming cooler. Summer’s sun and heat are surrendering to the cool, soft embrace of fall weather.
At the change of seasons, we automatically change their thermostats and wardrobes. Yet, many of us do not realize the importance of changing their fitness regimen, self-care routine, and food choices.
Ritucharya: The Seasonal Routine
According to Ayurveda, seasonal and weather changes significantly affect the physical and mental body. Factors like temperature, humidity, wind, rain, and daylight hours, all influence the body’s natural cycles and vital systems. So, we must know how to adapt diet and lifestyle in order to maintain balance in digestion, sleep, immunity, and energy.
As the seasons change, so must our daily routine. This practice is known as a ritucharya. “Ritu” means “season” and “charya” means “routine”. Ritucharya is a seasonal regimen for diet and lifestyle that helps maintain health and well-being.
Autumn from Ayurveda Perspective
In Ayurveda, each season is associated with a dosha, with autumn being linked to vata dosha. The qualities of fall weather and vata dosha are dry, mobile, subtle, and cool. Plants and leaves dry up and turn color. The sun’s light is subtler. Temperatures become cooler.
In the body, excess vata manifests as dry skin, cracking joints, irregular digestion/elimination, and stiff muscles. In the mind, brisk winds and shorter days create feelings of restlessness and spiciness. Suddenly you want to do a bunch of fun projects, and find yourself starting them all, yet finishing none.
Here are five easy, effective, and enjoyable Ayurvedic self-care tips to create optimal health, vitality, and creativity in your life this fall.
Five fabulous fall self-care tips
1. Do a seasonal cleanse. As summer turns to fall, it’s important to remove excess heat from the body and mind, and prepare your immune system for winter. Observe nature and notice how trees naturally shed their leaves. Autumn is the perfect time to shed habits and foods that no longer nourish your body and mind.
2. Grounding Yoga Poses. Take a cue from nature, where her pace slows down in the amount of daylight hours and by the waning of plant life. Slow down the pace in your life. Start doing some gentle yoga practice.
3. Warm Oil Massage. The Ayurvedic fountain of youth is Abhyangha –( warm oil massage). Abhyangha pacifies the dry, subtle, and cool qualities of fall. It nourishes the body, calms the mind, relieves dry skin, improves circulation, and maintains the skin’s youthful glow. Abhyangha self-massage is easy to do before showering. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.
4. A Harvest of Nourishing Foods. During autumn, nature provides the perfect foods to nourish the body and ground the mind. Enjoy the harvest of root vegetables! Roast or sauté carrots, turnips, beets, and parsnips using organic oils like coconut, olive or ghee, for extra support for the nervous system. Use spices to warm the body and stoke circulation. Enjoy kitchari once a week. Kitchari, an easy to digest dish of mung dal, rice, vegetables and spices, gently detoxes and powerfully nourishes the body.
5. Ayurvedic Date Shake. Cooler weather creates a stronger appetite. An Ayurvedic date shake is a fantastic and filling snack. Date shakes are easy to make, boost energy levels, and nourish the bone and muscle tissue. Date with tahini 5 dates, pitted 1 ½ cups cow, almond, or coconut milk 1 tbsp tahini ¼ tsp vanilla ¼ tsp cinnamon Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This shake is perfect for vata types because it warms their delicate body type and calms an overactive mind. Tahini is high in protein and rich in calcium, potassium, Vitamin B and iron. Cinnamon improves circulation, which tends to run low in vata types. And vanilla has a relaxing effect on the mind. Fall in love with Ayurveda this fall season Celebrate fall’s colorful changes by welcoming Ayurveda into your life. Honoring baby steps when implementing change in daily habits is the best strategy to long-term success. So start with integrating 2-3 of the Ayurvedic self-care tips into your daily routine. During Autumn, many trees stop branching out and shed their leaves. With less daylight hours, it’s more effective to receive nourishment from their roots. It’s a great reminder of the sacredness of letting go. Clear your calendar to make room for rest and reflection. Reflect on what you wish to let go of in your life. Root into Ayurvedic self-care and enjoy autumn and a lifetime of health and happiness.