As we transition into fall, changes occur not just around us in nature but also in our bodies physically and mentally. Fall is a time of death, decay, and eventually, rebirth, and our bodies go through similar transitions with the season. We tend to feel more tired, wanting to retreat to our dark rooms and beds for rest. We tend to crave heavier foods and nutrients to get us through the cold winter months. And we tend to seek warmth and safety within ourselves and in our environment. So how can the ancient medicine of Ayurveda help us with this beautiful transition into fall?
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a system of healing derived from ancient India. It is said to be the oldest healing system in the world. Ayuh means life and, Veda means knowledge. It is a medicinal science and, its purpose is to maintain the quality and longevity of life. It consists of a daily regimen that has evolved from practical, philosophical, and spiritual illumination. Ayurveda explains that everyone has their unique constitution, mind, and consciousness that is the foundation of our health and happiness. There is no concept of specialization. Ayurveda treats the whole person, not just the organ or system involved.
How is Ayurveda helpful to our health?
Ayurveda is helpful to understand because it shows a different perspective. It is composed of 5 elements that make up all of existence, including human life. The five elements are; water, space, air, fire, and earth. Through a test or Ayurvedic consultation, you can learn how much of each element, you have within your body. These elements are paired into three constitutions, called doshas. The word doshas mean “fault” or “impurity.” Air and space is the Vata dosha. Water and fire are Pitta. Lastly, water and earth is the Kapha dosha. When you find out which dosha you are, you can introduce the opposing elements into your life. For example, if you are primarily the Vata dosha, you would want to reduce air + space by eliminating crunchy/dry chips from your diet and adding the opposite element like earth. So you would add more moist and wet foods like avocado and ghee into your diet to ground.
How can we invite Ayurveda into our daily lives?
There are many practices that you can incorporate into your daily life. For example, an oil treatment called abhyanga. Every morning, massage your face with a medicinal oil to wake yourself up, reduce any sleepy/puffy swelling, and bring moisture into all of your facial orifices like nostrils and eyes. Buy a tongue scraper to remove excess toxins from the tongue each day and night. Lastly, Ayurveda recommends living in unison with the sun and the moon; to wake when the sun rises and begin bedtime when the sun is setting. You will feel so much better if you live in conjunction with nature’s rhythms.
What do you recommend for people as they transition into fall?
Fall is a time of heightened Vata dosha. This means we may experience more dry skin, anxiety, insomnia, bloating, gas, spasms, etc. It is best if we begin incorporating more warming and wet into our lifestyle. Examples of this could be reducing cold and dry foods and adding more warm/hot foods with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Many people tend to get antsy and overwhelmed during the fall. Make a point to meditate often and take periods of silence throughout the day away from the screen to stay present and calm.