As the crisp and cool weather of autumn begins, Ayurvedic practices can help your body and mind adjust to the changing season. Eating the right foods can balance your energies while keeping you warm, healthy and focused.
Here are some Ayurvedic ideas to promote a calm and cozy feeling in the coming months:
In Ayurvedic teachings, the three doshas, or energies, are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Changes in the world around us can increase and decrease the levels of these doshas, but what we choose to eat and drink can help to keep us in balance. The properties of Vata, the dosha most prevalent in fall, include excess movement, dryness, lightness and cold. This can manifest in anxiety, insomnia and dry skin, but a Vata-balancing diet will help to counteract these issues.
The foods that are best for autumn include sweet, sour, salty and oily foods, and it's best to eat more cooked food than raw. Roasted root vegetables, savory stews and hearty soups are all excellent choices. Caffeine can aggravate the anxious energies of Vata, so avoid black or green teas that may cause jitteriness. Drink warm beverages such as herbal teas or hot water with lemon and ginger. Between meals, you can snack on a sweet piece of fruit, or try nuts and seeds, which contain healthy oils.
Autumn is the perfect time to experiment with various ways to spice your food. All types of spices are recommended for Vata season, so try a little bit of everything, whether it's staples like garlic, ginger, and paprika, or something you've never tried like asafoetida or cardamom. It's also recommended to add extra fats and oils to your food, so drizzle on a little olive oil, sesame oil or ghee to make your meals more indulgent.
Besides food and drink, there are many other ways to actively manage Vata. Morning meditation is a great way to set a calm tone for the rest of your day. To manage anxiety, try a soothing massage with warm sesame oil, followed by a warm shower. Excessive Vata can also be counteracted by fluid movement, so try a yoga routine that is grounded, moving gently and smoothly. Pranayama breathing is also helpful. Don't neglect Sivasana, and make sure to cover up with a blanket to stay warm.
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