Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Autumn Season is the season of Vata, the air element, abundant in the winds and
light changeable nature of flora and fauna, and in the quick movements of our
autumnal mammalian mascot, the squirrel.
In Chinese medicine Autumn season addresses the lung and large intestine energy and the emotion associated here is grief.
There is a separating wheat from chaff principle, the harvesting and assimilating of the good stuff from the year, taking in what has been fruitful and nourishing and there is also a letting go and recycling into the earth that which does not serve. We begin to surrender of the heated exuberance of summer towards the quietude of winter. Transition is evident all around us. We need more routine, nurturing and stability now as nature changes so rapidly.
By eating seasonally we can get grounded. In Autumn season we ground literally, as most of our seasonal foods are root ones or ones close to the ground. We can also balance Vata by making more effort to ground, so that we don't get carried off like the floating leaves!
Warm, lightly spiced, nourishing, oily, heavier meals work best. This is a time we can enjoy more protein and richer foods. They balance out the dry, light, cold, astringent, rough qualities of Vata and replenish our dry post summer hair and skin. Pumpkin pie, beet and potato soup, toasted seeds, apple and plum compote infused with cinnamon are some of the recipes I'm cooking up right now. Spices to use include ginger, liquorice, fennel seed, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg and cinnamon.
This is the time to rest a little more (especially in late afternoon). Beginning to embrace the joy of cosiness or what Scandinavians call Hygge, pulling on those warm socks, wrapping up and stoking our internal hearth. Journaling can be very therapeutic at this time, maintaining a regular routine, going to bed earlier and enjoying the peace and stillness of early morning as well as slow cooking hearty meals. Allow the mind to have time to be still and unravel. Slower, strengthening and floor based yoga woks best now as well as incorporating stability and focus, which has a deeply calming effect on Vata. Luxuriate in unraveling joints, pulsing, using the ground and gravity to find opening and anchoring. Some positions to explore could be relaxed Sun Salutations, Childs Pose, Camel, Tree, Warriors 1 & 2, Seated Forward Bends, Gentle Twists, Toe Squat, Cat Cow, Knees Hugged, Low Lunge, Puppy Pose, Squat Pose and Legs up Wall. Make sure you keep blankets and sweaters around so you stay warm!
The change in air, and in the new wave of golden tawny colours inspires so much creativity and it might be a wonderful opportunity to practice mindful photography, pottery or painting. The seasonal festivities of Halloween, Sahmain, or Day of Dead invite our connection to spirit and our ancestors and honour the passage of time. This helps in both lightening up the natural process of death and honour life's depth perhaps reminding us of what and is ultimately important to us.
I used go be very Vata when I was younger. I remember the start of school in September and how exciting that used to feel. New outfit, teachers, subjects, projects, friends. Then by the end of Autumn I had frazzled out from too much activity and rushing around. I wasn't grounded or practicing grounding at all and instead had been filling my already overactive and anxious mind with more overactivity, overstimulation and anxiety. No wonder I felt like a tangled ball of yarn!
If we are already quite Vata, we'll inevitably get aggravated by the excess of Vata in our environment during this season. So, we need to make doubly sure we are balancing this airy element out. Think about what might be the opposite of Vata... and bringing those elements in. Spending time walking mindfully, really taking in the ground beneath our feet, connecting with trees, having sauna, steam, organic sesame or almond oil massages and floats all balance Vata. I make sure I drink about a litre of warm herbal tea every day from Autumn through Spring. My favourite for Autumn is Yogi Tea Classic or Ginger Lemon. You can also make your own infusions of thyme and rosemary that are good for the lungs, or experiment with a concoction using the spices I mentioned earlier, all helping keep our immune system healthy.
It's a necessary time to get very solid in our immune boosting, starting with lowering our stress levels and getting more aware of what triggers our the stress, why, and how best to manage it. Making sure we eliminate refined products from our diet, sticking with organic and mostly seasonal foods, as well as starting our immune boosting herbs and vitamins such as Echinacea and Vitamin D, C and Zinc. It's not really the time for fasting for any of the Doshas and especially not for Vata, as this season asks for adequate nourishment from us.
Some Essential oils I like to use are Frankincense, Vetiver, Rosemary, and Orange.
Wishing you a beautiful Autumn Season ✨ ✨