Every day in our life, we want good life force, that is…good prana to flow and nourish us so that we can have the relationships we want, the work effectiveness that brings satisfaction, and the playfulness that delights us. When the seasons change, we need to change things up too. If we do nothing special, the external forces will have their way with us and we will slip backwards and maybe even become ill.
In this blog, you will learn about four valuable twists to make, as you transition into the Vata season which is introduced in October and takes its full seat in November.
Let’s understand the dynamic of this season change and why action is essential. The autumn winds blow in dry, cold, rough, and light qualities that we see all around us. Without adjustments, our internal conditions may match these external changes and lead to our own coldness, dryness, roughness, stress, immune-system aggravations and sometimes weight gain.
Over the summer most of us got heated internally unless we were very conscious to engage cooling Ayurveda strategies such as eating cooling foods and using cooling herbs. Once Vata winds arrive, the summer internal heat that we did not properly relieve, turns to dryness. The dryness intercepts complete and proper digestion, snags toxins, and the downward spiral begins.
Consider the four high-impact strategies to meet the new season so that you can release accumulated summer heat and add moisture to your tissues giving you the best fighting chance for a healthy autumn Vata transition.
You don’t need the pressure of trying to do everything offered here, just do something or a few things and know that your intention is to take some discerning control and not just ride this bronco. Intention goes a long way.
But even if you do get sick, and we all do at times, just go with it and know that the illness helps to build and inform your immune system for the future. No guilt necessary!
1. Reset Your Digestion
Perhaps you have seen the slogan, “When mama is happy…everybody is happy.” Well healthy digestion is mama. When digestion is healthy, everything works properly. With healthy digestion you have good prana and life force intelligence informing all the building, expressing and eliminating forces within you.
Here are a few quick ways to do a digestion reset:
- Start each day by drinking hot lemon water. This stimulates your liver and kick-starts your digestion for the day.
- Remove hard to digest foods from your diet for 7 days. These include processed foods, breads, soy, gluten, meats and sugars.
- Eat whole foods including lots of vegetables and some whole grains.
- Eat a mono-diet of kitchari [you can choose either Vegetable Khichidi or Brown Rice Khichidi] for 1 – 3 days.
- Do not snack between meals or after supper for 7 days. Allow your digestive system to rest between meals.
- Hydrate between meals but no more than 1/2 cup of water, preferably hot, with your meal. Too much water with food weakens the digestive juices.
2. Purify Your Tissues
If we did not do a complete job of releasing heat throughout the summer through a cooling diet and cleansing actions, we have accumulated internal heat at this time of year and the tissues become dry. The winds of this season bring dryness as well.
Our body, being the great homeostasis instrument that it is, creates reactive mucus to moisturize the dry tissues. Excess mucus is a breeding ground for bacteria and we can get seasonal illnesses.
To be healthy at this seasonal turn, you must cleanse out the old toxins lodged in the dry tissues. Under guidance, or if you are experienced, you could do a dramatic cleanse. However, most of us can consider doing moderate daily cleansing to clear our channels.
Here are a few quick ways to cleanse your tissues:
- Drink lemon detox tea each morning .
- Drink hot spice water throughout the day .
- Take 1-2 tablets triphala or triphala guggulu at bedtime or make powder into tea–although the taste is not great to some. Triphala cleanses the villi in the intestinal tract allowing nutrients to reach tissues and guggulu pulls out deeper toxins in joints.
- Drink brahmi/gotukola tea or tulsi tea each day to clear brain tissues and ease the agitated mind.
- Use turmeric in cooking, make turmeric tea or take 3-4 turmeric tablets 3 times a day between meals to reduce heat and purify blood.
- Hydrate. Drink lots of water, especially hot water which is more cleansing. Take shatavari to hydrate your tissues.
- Eat apples to dispel heat from your body. Stop if stools become too loose.
3. Boost Immune System
Immunity in Ayurveda is not immunity against specific infectious agents or diseases in the way Western medicine provides “immunizations” or treatment after with antibiotics. Ayurveda immunity means resistance against the loss of the integrity, proportion, and interrelationship between the individual’s bio-energies (doshas) and tissues (dhatus).
The Ayurvedic concept of immunity is intricately interwoven with the concepts of nutrition, agni (digestive fire), and tissue formation. Our immune systems may be more unstable at the change of seasons when the dosha balance within is naturally transitioning to be more adaptive.
- Cook with immune boosting spices. Turmeric has an immune-modulating effect because it is detoxifying and enhances the intelligence of the immune cells. Cumin burns ama. Black pepper clears the channels so ojas can reach the deeper tissues.
- Eat immune-boosting foods. Apples support the immune system because they contain antioxidants and both insoluble and soluble fiber, which cleanse the bowel. Leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens and spinach, when cooked with spices, are great immunity-boosters because they provide iron, calcium and other nutrients while simultaneously cleansing the bowel. Other good foods include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and quinoa.
- Drink Immune System Strengthening Tea. Add a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger sliced, a stick of cinnamon and 2 black peppercorns or trikatu powder (Ayurveda herb) to a quart of boiled water. Put in a thermos. Drink through the day. Add raw honey, if desired, once cool enough to drink.
- Hydrate. Sip hot water throughout the day, which is more hydrating and goes deeper into the tissues than an equivalent amount of room temperature water.
4. Shift to a Vata Diet
The fall is Vata season and most folks will benefit from a Vata pacifying diet or at least leaning in that direction. You can get more information here, but some quick guidance for a vata balancing diet is to favor:
- Warm cooked foods especially brothy soups.
- Good fats like ghee and avocado, sesame and olive oils.
- Grains, especially quinoa [highest in protein] and white basmati rice.
- Root vegetables such as beets and carrots and moist veggies like squashes and sweet potatoes.
- Nuts [not peanuts].
- Warming organic spices including cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, hingvastak, fenugreek, and mustard seeds.
Lemon Detox – Weight Loss Tea
Place ingredients in hot water and stir. Drink in the morning upon waking, a 1/2 hour before meals, or sip slowly after meals. You may use any type of vinegar although we prefer apple cider vinegar for taste.