Sunday, March 20, 2011


So here comes Autumn. There’s the all too familiar chill in the air. Its dark when we get up for work and we are most likely to be found curled up on the sofa of an evening.  With a change in the seasons our living and eating habits must change too. We need to be mindful of supporting our bodies and re-balancing any elemental disharmony.

In Autumn, the Vata dosha (made up of the elements of ether and air) is most prominent. To put it simply there is more air or wind which stirs up not only the weather but also our emotions. The air can also get into our joints and can bring about cracking or popping. The temperature is cooler, which has a cooling effect on our internal body heat. Many of us will fall pray to the common cold at the turn of Autumn if we do not support the body during this change. The ether brings a dryness to the air outside which leads to a dryness of our skin, cracked lips and even constipation with the drying of faeces.

Vata controls the the mind, the heart, creativity, digestion, relaxation, and the nervous system. It becomes much easier to overwork your mind and nervous system in Autumn. Too much work and not enough down time in Autumn leads to anxiety,  a weak immune system and ultimately dis-ease. It can also lead to cramps, insomnia, stiffness in the spine and an overly busy mind ~ what those in the medical fraternity loosely term “stress”.


Its very easy to counter the effects of increased ether and air in Autumn. We simply offer to ourselves the opposite elements to bring our mind and body in tune with nature:
  • Rest more
  • Wrap up in warm clothing covering the head, ears and neck from the cold wind
  • Eating warming, moist, grounding foods to nurture the body
  • Adopt a regular routine by getting up, eating, exercising and going to bed at regular times. Ideally we all should be in bed by 10pm. If we miss the 10pm train we get our second wind and our body thinks its time to wake up again.
  • Exercise should also be regular and more gentle. Try out some grounding yoga asanas (poses), tai chi or qui gong to build the energy body. Swimming in a heated indoor pool or occasional running or bike ride to get up a sweat is also good. 
  • Take a warm shower or bath after exercise. Ideally sit in a warm sauna or steam room if available.
  • Give your head and body a rub all over (self massage) with warmed organic black sesame oil before showering or bathing to lubricate the skin and internal organs, counteract dryness and enliven the body prana (energy). It will soothe, ground and insulate the body making you feel warm safe and secure. This will also aid digestion and allow toxins to be eliminated from the body
  • Get a professional Ayurvedic full body Abhayanga massage on a regular basis especially if you work with your mind every day. This will reduce anxiety and tension in the body and mind and bring clarity of thought and a feeling of general well being.
  • Counteract wrinkles with a daily helping of organic jojoba oil. Use 1 to 2 drops on the palms of your hands and gently rub in circular movements over the entire face and ears in an upwards motion
  • Rub 1 drop of organic black sesame oil into each nostril using the tip of your little finger after you shower or bathe in the morning to keep it from drying out and keep colds and flu at bay
  • If starting a new project plan carefully and adopt a solid strategy to avoid it becoming too stressful on the mind and body
  • Rub warmed sesame oil on the soles of the feet and crown of the head at night before bed to help with insomnia and anxiety for a peaceful nights sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The keys principles to a great Autumn eating are WARM, MOIST NOURISHING foods:
  • Favour foods which are sweet, mildly spicy, sour and salty as these increase moisture and encourage feeling nourished and grounded
  • Reduce dry, cold, raw, fried and frozen foods
  • Breakfast should be warm and moist. Replace the cold cereals and dry toast with warmed hot quinoa or amaranth (ancient grains) and cooked fruit, or warmed oats with added raisins, crushed walnuts or almond slithers and agave syrup or honey to sweeten
  • Favour soups and stews, kichari, curries, warm and savoury foods. Salads should be warm such as a warm roasted veggie salad with aduki beans
  • Make good use of warming herbs in your food: black pepper, ginger, tumeric, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • Drinks should be sipped and taken warm. Try warm milk spiced with nutmeg and cardamon before bed for a sound restful sleep
  • Avoid eating solids after 7pm

 A 7 day fast of kichari (mung dhal, rice and vegetable curry)  and cooked fruit can be taken to prepare the body for the on-chill of winter. It can also be good for hayfever, stuffiness or mucous build up which are all caused by a build up of toxins in the body. The kichari can be eaten for breakfast and lunch with cooked fruit, cinnamon and cloves for dinner. Herbal teas can be sipped for the duration of the fast. Mung dhal eats away toxins and is extremely light to digest. This fast allows the body to rest, recoup and eliminate toxins naturally. It is really important to rest during such a fast. You should not go to work whilst during this fast. To tax the body while fasting will weaken the immune system and can lead to sickness, headaches, nausea and insomnia. After the fast, re-introduce sugars, carbs, coffee and alcohol (if you feel you must!) slowly.


Yoga asanas (poses) should be focused on downward-moving energy (apana)  and the hips to help ground the nervous system and build strength and heat in the body.

Practicing any yoga posture in a relaxing way with slow deep breathing and the intention to let go and relax the nervous system can be very beneficial in decreasing the symptoms of allergies.

Good asanas to practice for Autumn are:
  • Sitting poses to ground and still the body: Virasana (Hero), Siddhasana (Cross legged with the toes tucked in, Padmasana (Lotus), Lion pose (Simhasana)
  • Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutes):  at least 3 rounds slowly and with conscious slow breath
  • Standing poses: Tadasana (Mountain) Vrkasana (Tree), Trikonasana (Triangle), Virabhadrasana 1 and 2 (Warrior)
  • Inversions: Sirshasana (Headstand) or lie on your back with your legs up against the wall
  • Forward bends:  Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Paschimottananasana (sitting forward bend), Vajrasana (child’s pose) great for constipation and wind
  • Spinal twists: Especially lying and seated to calm the nervous system. Ensure the breath is as full as possible for the full effects to be felt 
  • Savasana or Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation of entire body - yoga sleep)-  20 - 30 minutes and wrap up warm


Practicing stillness and focus on the breath relaxes the nervous system which sends signals to the immune system to settle down.  Pranayama (conscious breath control) and meditation are a great way to achieve this. 

A great Pranayama technique for Autumn is "Kapalabhati"   Kapalabhati breathing is great for allergies and hayfever and mucous build up as it forces out the toxins and mucous and clears the nostrils.

How to:

1) Sit crossed legged with a straight back.  Rest hands on knees with palms upwards. Relax face and neck. 
2) Inhale deeply through both nostrils and allowing the abdomen to fill up like a balloon at the same time. 
3) Exhale out of the nostrils by forcefully contracting the abdominal muscles. (Pull the abdomen in by quickly contracting the abdominal muscles and exhale through the nose) to push the air out of the diaphragm. 
4) The focus is on the outward exhalation - allow the inhalation to happen naturally 

Start with rounds of 15 breaths. At the end of this round breathe in and out slowly and deeply and bring your awareness to your forehead as you do so.You can repeat this up to two more times.

 Peace of I ~ Anjani xx


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.