Rejuvenate and Restore with Ayurveda this Autumn
One of the reasons I really resonate with the philosophy of Ayurveda, is that the essence of this ancient 5000 year system is based in each person finding balance. Finding balance physically, emotionally, and energetically, in harmony with mother nature and their own unique constitution and in alignment with his/her dharma. Dharma is a Sanskrit word which means to uphold the cosmic laws of the universe. Each person lives in their highest expression of their life when they are in alignment with the path of the inner being within them which is connected to their dharma. To be able to live our dharma, we need energy, courage, a passion for overcoming inner obstacles, motivation, fortitude, resilience and inspiration. Health can be optimized when incorporating the principles and philosophy of Ayurveda, living in harmony with mother nature and with the truest expression of ourselves from the heart.
A Season of Change
We are officially out of summer, a time of peak energy expression in the year. The heat and dryness of summer has ended and the coolness, windiness and wetness of autumn has begun. The human being is impacted by these changes in the environment. As the body is mostly water, nature’s tendency of cold, wet and wind can be exacerbating for some.
As a result, historically, the seasonal and climatic changes make autumn the most difficult time to maintain one’s health. Cold rain, wet snow and fog promote ama (toxin build-up). Inflammatory joint conditions can be initiated or exacerbated, and those with weakened digestion who do not take care can experience further issues.
The Flow of Mother Nature
Nature is in the process of rendering at this time: shedding what is complete (for example, the leaves from a tree) and storing what is nourishing in the roots in preparation for winter. We can mimic nature by also engaging in a more introspective expression of ourselves, where we may feel drawn to more quiet activities. It is helpful to listen to ourselves, in rhythm with seasonal changes as it can facilitate naturally inclined processes which are in harmony with mother nature.
What can you do to maintain your well-being?
In general, I recommend to partake in vata- reducing measures through diet, herbs, various ayurvedic treatments and self care rituals.
Gentle purification, followed by Rasayana therapy to restore ojas (overall vitality and life energy) will help balance vata. Rasayana involves both physical and spiritual rejuvenation therapies, such as herbal formulations and meditative practices. Rasayana is a science of rejuvenation, within the Ayurveda field. This type of therapy helps enhance the overall quality of life: more energy, better focus and concentration, a sense of groundedness and centeredness in one’s being. It helps to develop a feeling of inspiration to advance towards your dharma. In addition, Rasayana helps to improve memory, clear complexion, increase self-awareness, create overall physical and emotional vitality, and harness natural resilience. Wow, sounds amazing right? In essence, we use this therapy in Ayurveda to strengthen and rejuvenate, and you see it often after pachakarma treatments to restore ojas.
Nourish through food
- baked, boiled, lightly stir-fried and steamed root vegetables and squashes
- warming stews, soups, hot-pots and stir-fries
- warming grains like rice and barley, for example
- naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, and miso all help calm vata, enhance agni (digestive fire)and break up ama congestion
- to decrease the build-up of congestion (ama), eat sour, salty and pungent flavors alongside nourishing and oily foods
Self-Care tips for Autumn
- Cover your neck and chest to prevent counter effects of wind chills.
- As the nights get longer, have a diffuser going at home. When you settle into the end of your day, breathing in your favorite aromas helps center and uplift your mood.
- Keep your water intake up. Room temperature or hot water with lemon helps to decrease excess vata.
- Try homemade Chai tea after a meal to help support digestion. Include aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise and turmeric if you want the golden chai version!
Restore and Rejuvenate
After all the activity of summer, the tendency to be more indoors and get more rest is soothing. Go to bed before midnight, and get up before the sun rises. This is the ideal time to meditate, clear your mind and connect to your heart. Consider using natural remedies to support your particular concerns and constitution. I recommend a consistent meditation and yoga practice along with daily movement. During this season, our energy is naturally directed more inside, so these practices enable us to go deeper into personal inner work. To pacify vata, focus on meditative and conscious activities, like s yoga, tai chi, qi gong, pilates and dance rather then intensive workouts.
I will be running a 2-week program called Rejuvenate and Restore with Ayurveda this October. The focus is on autumn self-care practices. We incorporate diet changes, recommended remedies and lifestyle practices over two weeks.
We begin on October 14th and will follow along together until October 28th, 2018. Reach out to Alesha at Gather Yoga to join our facebook group to receive all the details! Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to join us. Be part of the community where we focus on rejuvenation and restoration coming into the Autumn.
Dr. Alexina Mehta, ND, BHK is an award-winning Naturopathic Doctor, Yoga and Pilates teacher, Energy Medicine Practitioner and Ayurvedic Practitioner. Her approach to yoga takes into consideration the totality of the human being. She currently studies Transpersonal Psychology and seeks to inspire people into greater hope and happiness. In her spare time, you can find Alexina hiking up a mountain or practicing Indian Classical dance.
To work with her personally or find more info on her workshops and retreats, check out her site: www.dralexinamehta.com.
Photos by Alexina Mehta, Cayla1, Will Swann Laura Olsen Bryan Minear on Unsplashon