This blog also appeared on yoganonymous on oct 6, 2011.
Ayurveda strives to create a balance within the human body and the climate it’s in.
Disharmony brings disequilibrium, and if gone unchecked it can result in disease. The ancient science of Ayurveda (translated: the science of plants), offers us guidelines, and food choices that will help maintain an environment of balance within our bodies, so that we are able to go about our business of living, fully supported by our inner system. Unlike summer months when the climate has more Agni (fire) one can enjoy an array of raw foods (salads etc) without exerting the system too much, autumn however is a time when Agni in the climate has begun cooling off. Hence the body naturally gravitates toward cooked foods, desiring more soups and cooking with the earthier fall root vegetables. The climate supports what the body needs, therefore what the earth grows naturally in any given season is what we ideally should be consuming to maintain and enhance the harmony within. Autumn is referred to as a Vata season, which means the presence of air and space is more noticeable in and around us. Ayurveda believes that ‘like increases like,’ so if the weather is dryer, and windier, we should be consuming foods that balance the dryness and the wind around us, so that it’s kept in check within us.
In order to calm the vata within the body, we should start with a grounding breakfast of oatmeal, grains or quinoa. Cooking with ghee or clarified butter, is advisable during these months. Fall harvest such as sweet potatoes, squashes, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens cooked in delicious stews, or as main course, all support the body and the health during this season. Nature offers the best medicine through the earth. All we need to do is return to our origins.
Oiling is highly recommended during fall months. The air is dry and cool, the skin in need of moisture quickly absorbs oils, and that aids to fight the dryness within the body and on the dermis. Some people prefer to oil half an hour before a bath or shower, and some who have drier skins or Vata doshas’ (Air/space body constitution) themselves choose to lightly rub oil into their skin, after a warm shower. Sesame and almond oils are recommended for this season.
Ayurveda also believes that colors contribute greatly to balance in the body. Everything in the universe is energetic and gives off a vibration, colors too. Since autumn is a cooler season, one balances this climate by turning to warmer, richer colors, like golden, yellow, orange and red. All the colors that fall is famous for! Nature wears her oranges to balance the coolness around, and in that offers us a useful suggestion.
Unlike summer months, when sounds of rivers and streams are soothing, in the autumn we should try to enjoy more grounding, earthy, calming tunes.
Opt for aromas that are sweet, heavy and warm during this season whether you use incense or aromatherapy, or a diffuser. Scents such as basil, cinnamon, citrus, cloves frankincense, lavender, pine, sage and vanilla keep the rising vata within the body in balance. Photo credit: Tree
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