Why one should bother with a seasonal routine?
Change of seasons is the reason to change, it’s as simple as that. Ayurveda considers a seasonal routine an important cornerstone of health, year-round. Balancing the nature of your local climate with lifestyle choices that offset the potential for seasonally-induced imbalances is one of the simplest ways that you can protect your well-being. A seasonal routine maintains balance in the three doshas, (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and harmony and happiness in the body and mind.
When the seasons change, the climate changes, which in turns has a significant effect on our physical and mental body. Seasonal factors like temperature, humidity, wind, rain, and daylight hours, all influence the body’s natural cycles and vital systems. Digestion, elimination, sleep, and emotions can become disturbed. So, to maintain balance and health, as the seasons change, so must our daily routine.
How can one navigate Autumn gracefully?
Autumn is a very important season from the health perspective. As per Ayurveda, Vata Dosha is decreasing gradually and Pitta is hitting its peak.
During the rainy season, due to coldness (which is a Vata quality), Vata gets aggressive (that is why pains and aches worsen during the rainy season.) But due to hotter rays of autumn, Vata gets pacified. Also, when the body gets suddenly exposed to warm rays of the sun the pitta which is slightly increased during the rainy season tends to be aggressive.
Tackling these dosha imbalances is easier in fall since this season is ideal for a cleanse. Also, a Vata pacifying diet and regimen can make one have a healthy Autumn and helps to prepare the body for a happier winter.
Diet for Autumn
Ø Regulate meal times. Don’t skip or neglect breakfast. Have lunch at noon, and dinner early in the evening. By following this way, the digestive fire will be proper and generate hunger-cycle in a good manner.
Ø Make sure you get lots of warm, freshly-cooked food. Eating leftovers, raw foods, or processed and canned foods will disturb Vata.
Ø When hungry, one should take foods which are of bitter, sweet and astringent tastes. These tastes are anti-Pitta in nature.
Ø Easily digestible foods such as rice, green gram, sugar, Indian gooseberry, pointed gourd, honey is good to have.
Ø Barley and wheat can also be taken in moderate amounts.
Ø Typically Fall foods should include hot soups, freshly-cooked, and lightly-spiced rice and mung dhal, a warm stewed apple taken in the morning, cream of wheat cereal, and warm milk.
Ø Drinking warm water is also considered healthy during this season.
Ø AVOID – alkaline substances, sour curd, fish, alcohol during this season.
Ø Mustard oil also should be avoided during this season.
Ideal Regimen for Fall
Ø Practice Abhyanga (Self-body massage) at least 3 to 4 times a week. This pacifies the dry, subtle and cool qualities of Vata.
Ø Perform gentle restorative yoga every day.
Ø Take a bath in warm water alone.
Ø Purgation therapy helps to expel the vitiated Pitta out of the body. (This should be done under the surveillance of an Ayurvedic practitioner only)
Ø Anointing the body with sandalwood paste and camphor, wearing light clothes and enjoying moonlight are advised during this season.
Ø AVOID- sleep during day time. Because the digestion strength is altered due to Pitta and napping will further disturb it.
Ø Getting exposed to the sun is also not advised.
Rice- Mung Beans Khichdi Recipe for fall
1. Half cup Basmati Rice
2. Half cup split yellow Mung Beans
3. Ghee – 1 tablespoon
4. Peppercorns – 4
5. Cumin seeds – ½ tsp.
6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp.
7. Water – 3 ½ cups
8. Salt- as required
Wash rice and Mung Beans in running cold water till water runs clear. Soak for 15 minutes. Heat ghee in a rice cooker. Once hot add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle a bit. Then add peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Sauté for a minute. Then add dal-rice mixture. Add enough water. When water boils, add the required amount of salt and turmeric powder. Keep the lid on. Let it cook on 3-4 whistles on medium heat. When the pressure goes off, open the lid and serve warm after mixing with a spatula.
Following these simple diet and regimen, you will be a picture of calm, health and joy in Autumn !!
“We will return here from the dark and silent
streets, arms full of books and food,
anxious as we always are in winter,
and looking for the Good Life we have made.” – Autumn Perspective by Erica Jong