Outside, the nights are drawing in, there’s a nip in the air, it’s getting windier and the trees are turning the glorious colours of Autumn. And you’ve probably started to look forward to film nights in, wrapped in your favourite blanket with a warm milky drink.
But what else can you do to promote your wellness as the seasons transition?
Ayurveda is an ancient holistic healing system developed in India more than 3,000 years ago based on the idea of promoting good health and wellness by maintaining the delicate balance between mind, body and soul.
And that makes so much sense to me. Isn’t it better to look after your health in the first place rather than to fight disease?
Ayurvedic medicine is based on the belief that a seasonal routine is key to maintaining your health throughout the year. Autumn is considered a Vata season. The air element and prana predominate and the qualities of Vata Dosha – dry, rough, windy, erratic, cool, subtle and clear – are abundant all around us.
Generally, the Ayurvedic principle is that opposites balance one another, so to maintain your wellness in Autumn (the Vata season which is cool, light, dry, windy and unpredictable), it’s best to seek out warmth, oiliness, deep nourishment, loving relationships and a sense of stability, routine and groundedness.
You may already be unconsciously changing your routine as the seasons change, but I’d like to give you a few pointers based on things I like to do.
At this time of year, you’ll find warm hearty foods that are high in protein and fat, and maybe a little spicy, especially nourishing. Porridge, tapioca or rice pudding for breakfast, and perhaps a thick soup or stew, steamed vegetables, organic meat and dairy, nuts and seeds for lunch or dinner. It’s best to avoid raw vegetables and light, cooling and drying foods like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, leafy greens, white potatoes, beans and dried fruit.
Vata foods you may want to include in your diet include stewed apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, carrots, chillies, garlic, onions, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, nuts and seeds, butter, cheese, cream, beef, eggs, fish, turkey, honey and spices.
One of my favourite warming drinks at this time of year is golden milk (otherwise known as turmeric tea) and it’s really easy to make in less than five minutes:
Add your milk of choice (almond, pecan, coconut or dairy), one teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of black pepper, a tiny piece of fresh ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a blender with one teaspoon of raw honey and whizz. Then heat in a small saucepan until warm (not boiling), pour into your favourite mug and enjoy.
Warmth is key at this time of year. Your womb is Yin and needs to be kept warm so these fleecy womb wraps are great. You can even pop a hot water bottle in the back to warm your kidneys too, helping to remove urinary waste and improve their overall health. You may also want to try Faja wrapping. It’s perhaps a bit more tricky than using the fleecy womb wrap but nevertheless a lovely self-care routine after a Mizan Abdominal Massage.
And did you know that you can use essential oils to keep warm too?
Some of my favourite warming oils are: Cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary, Juniper Berry and Ginger.
Simply dilute your warming oil 50:50 in a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil and massage sparingly into your skin, maybe adding a little Orange oil for a lovely citrus fragrance. These oils are deeply nourishing and feel warm to the touch, but make sure you don’t put them on your face and wash your hand after use. Or if you prefer, why not add a few drops of oil to a lovely warm bath.
I love to create blends of essential oils for my diffuser too. Here are a couple I really enjoy in Autumn:
And talking about baths, a lovely way to relax is to add magnesium flakes to your bath water and lie back by candlelight. Bliss!
A daily, unvarying routine where you eat, sleep and exercise at around the same times each day is a great way to support Vata. Maybe try to get up early to take advantage of the peace and stillness of the early mornings, getting to bed around 10pm to make sure you get lots of sleep.
Lots of relaxation and slow, gentle exercise such as walking, swimming or Yoga in the early mornings or evenings are ideal for the Vata season.
Your Yoga practice should incorporate gentle flowing poses that promote warmth, grounding and stability complemented by balancing pranayama such as alternative nostril breathing. You may want to try the Sun Salutation sequence or Shakti Bandhas, strengthening and warming poses like Mountain, Warrior (I and II) and Tree, grounding poses such as Cat-Cow, Cobra and Child, mind-quietening forward bends and gentle inversions like Legs Up The Wall, finishing with a delicious savasana in Corpse while wrapped in a warm blanket.
Make sure you look after yourself this Autumn but if you feel you need further support with your wellness, please get in touch. I specialise in working with women one to one and enjoy being part of their journey of reconnection and self-discovery. I support women to find more balance and harmony in their lives by deepening their inner connection to their own body’s needs, helping them cope pre-conception, with fertility issues, prenatally, postnatally or during times of transition, grief or loss and helping alleviate the symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause or menopause.