Autumn is my favorite season in Colorado: the sun is still shining, the leaves turn bright orange and yellow, and there is a nice chill to the air that is refreshing after the dry summer heat.
Autumn is the season of Vata, our Air and Ether elements. These elements bring a refined, spacious quality to our inner and outer worlds. The environment begins to dry out and die off, letting go of the fruits of the summer to prepare for a cold, restful, and reflective winter. The qualities of nature that increase are: light, dry, cold, rough, clear, and subtle.
Along with the increase in Vata qualities in our environment, similar qualities take form for our inner landscape. We may experience dryness on our skin, dehydration, constipation, cold extremities (or being "chilled to the bone"), anxiety, weakened immunity, confusion, fear, or an inability to sit still.
The practices below assist the body and mind in finding warmth, inner-strength, nourishment, comfort, and groundedness. These three techniques help manage Vata in your body, mind, and spirit so that you may enter the Winter fully nourished and strengthened from the inside out!
1. Sleep Schedule
Sleep is the best medicine for Vata season. It is not only important to get a solid 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, but to sleep on a consistent schedule from day to day. Try to fall asleep each day only a few hours after the sun goes down (before 10 pm is ideal) and to awaken in the early morning (before 6 am). This schedule gives your body the reliable rest that is needed for detoxification, energy, and stability.
Abhyanga, an Ayurvedic self-massage practice, is grounding, nourishing, and rejuvenating for the skin, lymphatic system, nervous system, muscles, bones, and joints. Unless you know your constitution's recommended oil, I recommend using an Organic, Cold-Pressed Sesame Oil or the Tridoshic Herbal Blend from LifeSpa.
This practice can take anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes. To practice, apply a generous amount of oil to the skin all over the body. Begin your massage with the feet and move up the legs. Use circular motions around your joints and long strokes on your bones. Follow the legs with the hands and arms, massaging in towards the heart. Massage the head, neck, and shoulders. Then, rub the low back and belly, sides, breasts and chest. Finish your massage by rubbing circular motions over the heart center.
3. CCF or Warm Water Between Meals
Eat three square meals a day to keep your digestive fire strong: a small meal for breakfast and supper, and a large meal for lunch. It is important the body has space and time between meals so that it can rest and digest existing food.
Fuel your digestive fire between meals by drinking warm water or a Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel tea. The three spices in this tea improve digestion (which can often go awry in Vata season), help the absorption of nutrients, soothe the nervous system, and gently detoxify the body.
Make a big batch in the morning and keep it in a thermos to sip between meals throughout the day. It's easy to make and has a warming, savory flavor that I have come to love! You can make the tea blend yourself or buy a pre-made blend from Banyan Botanicals. If you make it yourself, be sure to purchase all organic ingredients!