We have entered the fall season in the northern hemisphere and for most, this means that the dry quality increases and the days are becoming colder.
Nature is winding down from the radiant sunshine of summer, shedding its leaves and preparing for the winter season.
The fall and spring equinoxes represent a balanced day and night, or light and dark. Whereas, the summer and winter seasons are the excessive peaks of the dark and the light, with the heat or cold as dominating expressions during these periods.
Traditionally, the best times to cleanse and focus on our personal return to a more balanced life are in the spring and fall. During the transition into fall, Ayurveda believes that cleansing helps to nourish and replenish the body by removing excess summer heat and providing moisture to this dry season. The understanding here is that we don’t take the heat and the dryness of the summer with us into winter, which can cause a variety of aggravations to the tissues, psyche, and overall well-being.
“Because we cannot scrub our inner body, we need to learn a few skills to help cleanse our tissues, organs, and mind. This is the art of Ayurveda.” ~ Sebastian Pole
Here are five Ayurvedic tips to support you during the fall season:
1. Eat Warm Cooked Meals.
This supports healthy digestion, bringing moisture and more bioavailable food to the body. The fall season calls for more soups, squashes, grains, lentils, and green vegetables. Add oil to balance the dryness—ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil, to both the cooking and to garnish.
2. Sip Warm water, ginger tea, or CCF tea (cumin, coriander, fennel seeds in equal parts) throughout the day.
Avoid cold and carbonated drinks. This supports healthy digestion and decreases the Vata Dosha in Ayurveda, which is dominant in fall with its dry, cold, and light qualities.
3. Incorporate Warming Herbs.
When we internally warm the body, it helps to eliminate stored toxins and aggravations, as well as supporting healthy digestion, which is an essential pillar to health in Ayurveda. Try adding ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, brown mustard seeds, or turmeric to your meals.
4. Daily Warm Oil Self Massage.
This supports healthy tissues, moving the lymph, blood, and energy in the body, providing warmth and lubrication. Again, with the Vata Dosha being cold and dry, the oil offers the opposite qualities, helping to support a more balanced nervous system and overall well-being during this season.
5. Sleep Cycles.
How we rest and restore affects our overall health and longevity. When and how much we sleep affects our physiology—the brain, body, tissues, and digestion. Best practice is to sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for eight hours. It is important to sleep during the Pitta Dosha time (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.), allowing this Dosha to assimilate and transform, as well as the Vata time 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., offering a more balanced nervous system that stirs during the Vata hours.
Cleansing is essential in Ayurveda for overall health and well-being. Regardless of where we are on our personal journey toward health, we are all exposed to toxins.
Our natural way to eliminate toxins is through sweat, bowel movements, and urination. All these systems can become blocked and aggravated over time, losing their integrity to rid the body of accumulated toxins. Toxins build up in our body and mind due to poor digestion, incompatible foods, lifestyle choices, stressful thoughts, and unprocessed emotions. This can lead to deeper imbalances in the tissues, psyche, emotions, and possible patterns of disease.
Cleansing helps to purify the tissues and release these stored toxins from our body, mind, and spirit.