Why we often struggle with the change of seasons, especially moving to cold winter months?
Autumn in Ayurveda is governed by Vata elements - cold, dry, rough, mobile, fast, unstable, which tend to manifest themselves in our beings more this time of the year. Vata governs all biological movements and activities within the body, such as breathing, absorption, elimination, assimilation and circulation. It is also associated with emotions, expression of thoughts and functioning of the mind. Vata is present in the colon, brain, throat, ears, pelvic girdle, bones and thighs. When Vata is balanced, you feel lively and creative, but when energy of movement predominates, you tend to experience anxiety, insomnia, difficulty focusing, constipation and dry, dull skin.
How can Ayurveda help us cope with these seasonal changes?
Ayurveda offers useful tips to stay away from cold, infections, headaches and stress this autumn and here are just some of my personal favourites…
1. Eat warm, cooked, grounding food, such as stews, soups, casseroles. Give predominance to sweet, sour, salty flavours, as these increase nourishment and stability. Building, nourishing foods for autumn include root vegetables (carrots, beets, turnips), pumpkins, butternut squash. Avoid dry food and don’t skip meals.
2. Start your day by scrubbing off your tongue accumulated throughout the night toxins from your digestive tract in form of white coating. Follow it by drinking ginger and lemon tea, which will boosts your digestion if you have it also 20 min before and after each meal.
3. Massage your body with warm sesame seed oil to restore circulation, keep the skin soft and to insulate your body from the cold. When feeling stressed drink a warm cup of milk with some chyawanprash or cumin tea, then soak your feet in warm water with some added salt for 15 min and massage warm oil on your soles.
4. Stay warm in general and re-introduce hats, scarves and gloves. Especially protect your head which is a seat of Vata.
5. For sinus congestion and headaches apply ginger paste to the affected area.
6. Cough and sore throat will cure gargling and steaming hot water mixed with a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of salt.
7. And mostly importantly: SLOW DOWN! Rediscover advantages of going to bed before midnight. Wake up couple of minutes earlier to welcome the new day in peace. Leave the house earlier so you won’t get irritated by people on your way. Observe and breathe…