By: Lisa Lopes, Ayurvedic Consultant
Fall is in full swing and the cooler weather is upon us. We will soon start to feel the effects of the colder air on our bodies. As with all living things, we are closely intertwined with nature. According to Ayurveda, an ancient holistic medical practice, all living things are made up of 5 elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Each of these elements is associated with different qualities or attributes. Our bodies are made up of these elements to varying degrees, but we are also externally influenced by these elements depending upon the time of day, our time of life (age), and the time of year, or season. Fall is considered VATA season, which is influenced by the ether (space) and air elements.
The ether and air elements promote dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear, and astringent qualities in individuals. These qualities influence our bodies, minds, and emotions. Some people may experience the following imbalances due to the influence of the ether and air elements that predominate in the fall season:
- Dry skin (flakey skin), dry hair (dandruff, itchy scalp, split ends etc.), dry nails (ridges, brittle, cracked, bend or break easily).
- Slow digestion
- Anxiety, stress, withdrawn, easily distracted, fear, worry, feelings of inadequacy
- Sleep problems
- Low energy
- Minute muscle twitching, fine tremors
The best way to combat these imbalances is to take in opposite attributes such as moist, heavy, hot/warm, smooth, oily, dense, and liquid qualities. In other words, to treat the drying effects of the air element, we want to take in opposite qualities to stay balanced. Remedies include:
- Switch from raw foods (like salads) to warm, cooked foods (like soups and stews). Focus on warm, moist, nutritious foods.
- Consume seasonal produce like root vegetables and leafy greens.
- Avoid light, cool foods and all raw foods. Avoid dry foods like crackers, dry cereal, dried fruit, beans and chick peas. Avoid cruciferous veggies (cabbage, Brussel sprouts etc.) if you have excess gas or bloating.
- Drink fresh ginger tea or 3-seed tea (cumin, coriander, fennel seed) to combat constipation.
- Drink warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg (and/or saffron) before bed to help induce sleep.
- Follow a daily routine as closely as possible.
- Daily oil massage. You may use coconut or sesame oil. Massage into skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse off in shower. Pat dry.
- Oil head and feet to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
- Meditate, or sit in quiet awareness for at least 10 minutes each day.
- Eat 3 meals a day. Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Do not snack between meals.
- Cut down on screen time, especially an hour before bed.
- Do gentle exercises, like pilates, swimming, walking, yoga etc. as regularly as possible.
- Stretching and yoga twists can help improve digestion.
- Do joint warm-ups daily.
If you would like to find out more about the beautiful science of Ayurveda and how to treat your particular imbalances, please consider making an appointment for an Ayurveda Consultation with Lisa. She can determine your individual constitution (psycho-physiological makeup) and help treat any imbalances you may have. All treatments/remedies are 100% natural. Happy fall!