Just like that, we are well into the Autumn. Hot and intense Summer days have given space to crisp Autumn days and I find myself enjoying them like I have never before. Golden dust sprinkled over the trees around, birds have become quiet, and falling leaves give us blessings wherever we go. Possibly for the first time in my life, as a mediterranean-island-born child, I’m getting to see and enjoy a true shift in the seasons. And all the move, new beginnings, challenges of settling in a new country, and intense outward energy, we now leave behind and joyfully welcome a new season in. We have created a new home now, and it feels just right. We where meant to be here, in the mountains, in wild nature.
With the cool Autumnal winds drawing in, the soft light creating new shadows, the weather typically becomes dry and cold, signalling the increase of the Vata Dosha – the energy of movement, in nature. As we are part of the nature too, we begin to feel coldness, dryness, and roughness of the body, and on the mental plane we become restless, unfocused and erratic, just like the Autumnal winds.
Ritucharya, the Ayurvedic seasonal regimen of diet and lifestyle practices, reminds us how to restore balance and enjoy each season as part of a natural cycle. To balance dry, light, cool, rough and erratic qualities of Autumn, we should embrace a diet and a lifestyle that is hydrating, nourishing, warm, smooth and grounding.
- Hydration – Deep hydration is essential to combat the dryness in the environment. Enjoy warm herbal teas, or just warm water, soups and stews. My favourite tea of the season is ginger tea with lemon and honey.
- Oil from the inside, oil from the outside – Include good quality fat into your diet, such as cold-pressed olive oil, sesame oil or ghee. Nourish your body from the outside as well, by massaging your skin with a generous amount of good quality massage oil made with cold pressed oils and essential oils, herb infused massage oils or purchase a specific vata massage oil.
- Eat more substantial, well-cooked foods, rich in proteins and healthy fats. Until the Spring arrives skip raw salads, cold smoothies, crispy crackers and rice cakes. Enjoy nutritionally dense meals, such as one-pot meals, soups and stews, hearty grains and baked root vegetables.
- Favour the sweet, sour, and salty tastes in your meals. For example, a bowl of naturally sweet tasting pumpkin soup with a dollop of sour cream will instantly bring you comfort and relaxation after a long hectic day.
- Create a daily routine you will enjoy most. In the season that is windy, changeable and erratic, foster stability and groundedness by creating a routine that you will be able to stick to, but also enjoy. Have your meals at around the same time, every day, and do not skip your meals. With the daylight getting shorter, go to bed slightly earlier than usual and give yourself whole-body Abhyanga massage or just foot massage before sliding under the sheets. Last, but not least, find moments throughout the day to close your eyes and give space for your nervous system to calm down and digest all the overwhelming changes of this season.
Curious to learn more about specific foods and practices to stay balanced through Autumn? Read more in the complete Ayurvedic guide for Autumn.
May this season bring you joy and peace of letting go of all the things that don’t nourish your deepest being.