Have you noticed how when the rhythm of the music shifts, you automatically begin to shift the way you dance so that you continue to feel ‘in time’ with the music. In the same way, the transition between seasons also requires a shift in rhythm.
As the weather begins to cool we are now well into Autumn, shifting from the upbeat, intensity of Summer to a gentler, lighter rhythm in preparation for the slower, heavier beat of Winter. As that first hint of coolness in the air is felt the effect of the long, hot summer may also begin to show itself in feelings of fatigue, dryer skin, hair loss and maybe some skin flare-ups. That’s why Autumn is also a good time for a gentle cleanse to remove the excess heat and prepare the body for eating more to ward off the external cold of winter.
The Ayurveda approach to a cleanse can be as simple as eating more light, easy to digest food for a few days and drinking the following cleansing tea to stimulate the digestive fire and clear the gastrointestinal tract of toxins. Make it fresh each day and add a couple of tablespoons to hot water and drink as a tea throughout the day.
Our daily routines may also slip a bit in summer, it’s harder to get to bed early when the sun is still up and there are so many things to do that regularity and routine slip away. So it’s time to reconnect with some simple daily sadhanas (practices) to balance the light, dry, cold, mobile and empty qualities of Vata, the predominate energy during Autumn. This is best depicted by the leaves, as you watch them they dry out, lighten and catch a ride on the wind, it’s helpful to appreciate that the same energy is at play in our BodyMind. Unlike the trees we can balance this energy with some warming, moistening and grounding food and practices such as:
- Eat more grounding, moistening, warming foods at regular times. This means more cooked food, stewed fruit instead of raw and roast veggies instead of salads. Maybe a bowl of yummy whole sprouted mung soup.
- As the weather cools down begin to dress more warmly and avoid cold drafts.
- Allow yourself plenty of rest—an afternoon Yoga Nidra is ideal.
- Perform 10-15 minutes of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodana) each day.
- Minimise stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, TV/computer time), fasting, excess travel (particularly air travel), and loud noise.
- A cup of warm spiced (pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger) milk before bed.
- In particular, Autumn or Vata season is the time to look after our ears, gums and skin.
- Massage one drop of warm Black Seed sesame oil in each ear.
- Self-massage daily with warm oil in an upward circular motion for 20-30 minutes before bathing.
- If you are feeling ungrounded, massage some warm oil on the crown of your head and soles of your feet – particularly before bed.
- For gums hold a mouthful of warm black seed sesame oil or coconut oil – or blend of the 2 – in your mouth for 5-20 minutes then spit it out.
- 1 tspn each coriander, cumin & fennel seeds.
- 3-4 slices fresh ginger
- 1 small handful raisins
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 2 cups water
Simmer until the liquid reduces to 1 cup and strain. Drink throughout the day as a tea adding 2-3 tablespoons to a cup of hot water.
Enjoy dancing with Autumn.
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