Show Notes – 007: Ayurvedic Fall Self-care Practices
Below is a summary of today’s episode. For a more detailed discussion and personal anecdotes please listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, and subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode!
Why is it beneficial to align our lives with the cycles of nature?
But by understanding the Ayurvedic approach to bringing our bodies and minds into balance during the fall season we can recenter ourselves with a few simple Ayurvedic self-care practices.
The Ayurvedic Seasons
According to Ayurveda, each Dosha is dominated by two of the five elements. The five elements (earth, wind, fire, water, ether) are the building blocks of our bodies and everything that exists on the earth and in the universe.
The elements have certain qualities known as Gunas in Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Indian subcontinent in which the Ayurvedic texts are written. These are the qualities that we take in with our five senses.
That brings us to the Vata season. Starting in late fall and lasting into the early winter, this season is dominated by the elements of air and ether. The qualities of this season in many climates are cooling, dry, light, clear, rough, brittle, windy, and moving
Depending on where you live, the qualities of fall might differ. Here in Ireland, for example, fall is actually quite wet! I want to invite you to get outside and use your five senses to experience the qualities of fall in your climate.
Side note: As I mention in the podcast, according to Ayurveda there are actually 6 seasons. Each of these main three is further divided into 2, but for our purposes, we’ll focus on the main three.
Three Overarching Factors that Influence Our Well-being
- Personal Constitution
Often we have little control over the first two, our environment and our DNA, but we do have a lot of control over our lifestyle. This includes our job, stress levels, relationship, the foods we eat and drink, sleep, etc.
We can use our lifestyle to balance those factors that are out of our control.
The Energetics of Fall
In nature plants and animals are shedding the old, letting go, and dying. We too can tap into this releasing energy.
According to the Ayurvedic texts, fall, in particular, is a time when people can often get thrown off because of the major changes in our environment. So the practices I’m speaking about today help to counterbalance those environmental effects.
What does a Vata imbalance look like?
Physical signs of a Vata imbalance include coldness, dryness, depletion, and exhaustion. It’s easier than ever to burn out at this time.
Mental and emotional signs of a Vata imbalance include feeling spacy, scattered, overwhelmed, or unfocused. Anxiety is very common during this time of year, as is difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and general restlessness.
Fall Self-care Practices
AKA How to align your lifestyle and daily routines with the Vata season
- Consume Vata balancing foods and drinks
- Add seasonal self-care practices to your day
- Dive deeper with self-reflection questions
We bring balance to our mind and body by lean into the qualities (or Gunas in Sanskrit) that complement the qualities in our environment. These include warm, moist, nourishing, heavy, grounding, safe, familiar, still, and structured.
We can lean towards these qualities in our daily micro-decisions.
Balancing Food and Drinks for the Vata Season
Avoid bitter, astringent, and pungent tastes and increase sweet, salty, and sour tastes.
Seasonal veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, other squash, and kale are incredibly balancing. Whatever is growing locally in your area is typically balancing. This is true all year round. Nature has our back!
What foods are in season in your area?
Three Ayurvedic Fall Self-care Practices
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I am simply sharing Ayurvedic practices that have been used for thousands of years to help people align their lifestyles with the fall Vata season.
Abhyanga is a lymphatic self-massage with a myriad of health benefits including softer and more toned skin, improved circulation, better sleep, and increased lubrication of organs, joints, and bones.
Listen to the podcast for a full description of this fall self-care practice, and check out this instructional video here.
During the fall and winter, I like to use a warming base oil such as sesame or avocado, or sunflower oil if you want something a bit lighter.
2) Neti Pot + Nasya Oil
According to Ayurveda nose is a direct route to the brain and the doorway to consciousness. We want to keep it lubricated and clear (especially during the Vata season) in order to clear the sinuses, reduce cold & flu symptoms, alleviate sinus headaches, and reduce allergens.
You can check out this video for detailed instructions.
3) Get some sun!
So aim to get outside for at least 10 mins a day between 10 am to 2 pm without sunglasses or sunscreen so that you’re actually getting the beneficial sun rays in your eyeballs and on your skin. You know your body best, so be sure you don’t get burned!
Journal Prompts for Fall Self-care
According to Ayurveda, fall is a time of great clarity and creative energy.
Lastly, let’s take your fall self-care practices a step deeper in order to tap into the transformational energetics of fall to fuel your personal growth with some self-reflection questions.
- What am I ready to let go of or let die?
- What part of me never dies, but has remained constant through the seasons of life?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to deplete myself less?
- How can I nourish myself more?
Use this time to clear out, let go, and release anything that is no longer serving you. It’s time to make space for everything to come in the new year and all that will be birthed in spring!
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Featured image: Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash