The transition to the cold season is for most of us much less pleasant than the arrival of sunny days.
And yet, there is so much to enjoy in fall!
“It is so that our sky,
Don't be monotonous,
Let them soak up the sun,
Autumn leaves. »
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, medicine from ancient India , is that the cycle of our body closely follows that of nature. Being and staying in good health therefore requires a little effort on our part, that of adapting to each season.
In Ayurveda, it is said that the “Vata” dosha is aggravated from the end of summer to the beginning of winter. Which means that the “air” element is predominant at this time of year.
Vata governs the functions of the nervous system and movements in the body.
In autumn, everything changes. Light, temperatures, humidity, wind can go from one extreme to the other, without warning! Enough to make us lose our balance.
With all this hustle and bustle, it's no wonder you feel stressed, moody, or like you're going in circles.
What if we did a little more than adding a little wool to feel really good in fall?
It's time to part with summer and reconcile with the season of dead leaves!
1. But first, is it really autumn where you live?
Ayurveda is a lot, a lot of common sense.
So let's start with the following fundamental question: is it really fall where you live despite what the calendar tells you?
If you live anywhere in the South, there's a good chance that summer will last into October.
In Ayurveda, we rely on the qualities of a season, rather than the solstices and equinoxes. Autumn is here when the weather changes, temperatures drop and the wind starts to blow your hair. No need to start this little routine first!
2. Routine, that I love you
Autumn can make us lose our composure. Encouraged by the swirls of the wind, our mind begins to dance salsa. And without even realizing it, we find ourselves doing a billion things at once.
To anchor us firmly in our roots and maintain our enthusiasm, there's nothing like an autumn routine.
This season invites us to let go and introspect, the rough weather gives you the best excuse to take care of yourself.
This little guide was designed to help you redefine your seasonal routine and escape the volatility of fall!
Four watchwords for the next few months: warmth, grounding, calm and cocooning.
3. Morning routine
In autumn as in other seasons, it is recommended to get up early, but traditional Indian medicine tolerates sleeping late until 7:30 a.m. in autumn because you need more rest than usual.
When you get out of bed and on an empty stomach, you will start with a small mouthwash for a few minutes with sesame oil (1 tablespoon is enough) to strengthen the gums and get rid of toxins. On contact, the oil turns into a whitish paste, a sign that the microbes have been trapped there. Remember to spit it all out in your sink. As oral health reflects that of the rest of the body, this little Ayurvedic ritual makes sense in a season when our immune system is compromised.
Note: Not even afraid. We tested this Ayurvedic fall ritual and the taste of sesame oil is much less strong than its smell. We particularly enjoyed starting the day with neutralized breath!
Another Ayurvedic classic in the same vein is tongue scraping. Just like sesame oil mouthwash, it removes toxins but in a more targeted manner. You can do this with a metal tongue scraper or with a well-rinsed toothbrush.
Before the opening of the ball, we can quench our thirst with a cup of hot water to which we have added lemon juice and a spoonful of honey.
And then it’s time for the feast. Breakfast is the second most important dish of the day during this season (after lunch). Prefer hot oatmeal (cooked oatmeal) with apple pieces, cinnamon and maple syrup to cereal with milk (the dry + cold combination, which this routine tries to counterbalance).
Ideally, we will have breakfast before 9 a.m.
A soft and warm sweater, a colorful scarf, shoes waterproof against the cold and rain, a pair of pretty gloves. It may seem trivial, but covering your neck and extremities is a must when you want to avoid flirting with a cold.
There you are, ready to face the day.
4. A diet that warms you from the inside
In autumn, we will need a warming, comforting, liquid and oily food, to pacify “Vata”.
Flavors in the spotlight this season
Salty (Lavana): found in condiments, use in moderation
Sweet (Madhura): it improves immunity. It is found in the root vegetables mentioned a little below, in honey, cereals, milk and butter.
Acid (Amla): it calms Vata and improves transit. It is found in fruits, dairy products, fermented foods (vinegar)
Welcome the hot, exit the cold
In Ayurveda, like attracts and opposite brings balance.
To counter the cold, dryness and chaos of autumn, we will focus on a warm, hydrating and grounding diet. Say goodbye to summer salads, ice creams and smoothies!
Root vegetables and all those of red color cooked by steam, in soup, in stew or roasted in the oven will give us balm to the heart. If you boil the vegetables, remember to recover the cooking water into which many of the nutrients have escaped.
To add to the shopping list: beetroot, carrot, parsnip, chervil, celery, kohlrabi, ginger, sweet potato, rutabaga, Jerusalem artichoke, all kinds of squash.
Root vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals are a delicious option to remineralize us, fill us up and boost our immunity.
A lubricating diet
In autumn, we won't hesitate to cook with good oils and to have a little heavier hand than usual. For example, you can use avocado, sesame or olive oil. A lubricating diet helps nourish the body and preserve moisture and heat while supporting digestion and elimination.
Lots of spices
In autumn, we will not hesitate to add spices to our diet, especially if we are vegetarians or vegans and we eat a lot of legumes because they warm us up and help us digest. You can use cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, cloves, ginger, cardamom, garam masala and why not a touch of cayenne pepper!
Set like clockwork
For good digestion, a simple little trick that really works: eat every day at the same time. Unfortunately, our culture doesn't really help us, but trying is definitely worth it.
For breakfast, make sure not to eat it after 9 a.m. And for dinner, ideally 2 hours before bedtime.
Lunch like a king, dine like a pauper
Lunch will be the most important dish of the day.
Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day because the digestive fire is at its weakest in the evening: on the menu a good hot soup and wholemeal bread, easy to digest.
To put aside for a season
To counterbalance Vata, we will make sure to temporarily avoid dry and crunchy foods such as rusks and raw vegetables, but also bitter foods (cabbage), from our diet.
Dry and crunchy foods: chips, aperitif cakes, morning cereals, rusks, raw foods, excess bitter foods (if they are not cooked with carminative spices): cabbage, green vegetables, Brussels sprouts, excess pepper, stimulants: coffee, black tea, alcohol.
5. In the bathroom
In autumn, let's learn to set aside a little time to pamper ourselves.
Traditional Indian medicine particularly recommends self-massage with sesame oil which is naturally warming - perfect for the chilly among you - but also naturally nourishing - perfect for dry skin!
With a tablespoon of sesame oil, massage your feet pleasantly and then cover them with your socks so as not to dirty your bed.
If you're taking a bath, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to relax.
If you have the opportunity and the desire, you can do a short Hammam session but avoid the sauna, which strengthens Vata.
6. Exercise without exhausting yourself
At this time of year, choose regularity over intensity, otherwise you risk running out of breath. Actually, it doesn't matter which activity you choose, as long as it's not too intense. Postpone your preparation for the Paris marathon to another time!
For example, you can:
- Take a walk in nature and collect apples, nuts or pretty colorful leaves
- To dance
- Do stretching
- Ride a bike
7. Practice yoga in fall
In the fall, we will adopt a yoga practice that anchors us and restores us , using mainly but not exclusively postures that promote grounding. For this purpose, Yin Yoga lends itself perfectly.
For example, you can relax in the posture of the Tree, the Chair, the Plow or the Candle.
Forward bends with pressure against the abdomen such as the Forward Pinch and its variations will help you reduce Vata while increasing the power of the digestive fire.
And as the holidays approach, we can include heart-opening yoga postures in our practice to express our gratitude and renew our inner peace, such as the Cow's Head, the Cobra or the Camel.
8. Evening activities, good evening
How hard it is to feel in great shape and in great health when you don't get enough sleep! If a good night's sleep is prepared in the morning, an evening routine is just as essential to end the day nicely.
Ideally, you should go to bed around 10 p.m. because after this time, it is the Pitta energy that takes over until around 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. What some call their “second wind”, a period during which they still do work and feel very productive. Yes, but at what price ?
Carve out some quiet time for at least an hour before bed, just for you.
For example, you can start by concocting a small comforting drink based on milk (cow's or nuts, depending on your preferences) in which you have diluted 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and a dash of maple syrup. or honey. This Ayurvedic drink calms the mind.
Then you can read a good book, meditate in silence or with your favorite relaxation music, write a journal, list 3 positive things that happened during the day, pray or watch your toenails grow. Spoiled for choice !
Before you have a wonderful fall, share with us in the comments the routine you have adopted!
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Discover our other Ayurvedic routines:
Photo credits :
- Bruce Kashani
- Benjamin Wedemeyer
- David Lezcano
- Eberhard Grossgasteiger
- Julia Bertelli
- Jonathan Pendleton
- Katie Rosario
- Oksana Taran
- Thanks to Angela Perger for her interview with Kerry Harling
- Blog by Gwenaëlle Batard
- Organic feminine
- Christelle Antonia's YouTube channel