Ayurveda strives to create a balance within the human body and the climate that it’s in.
Disharmony brings disequilibrium, which can result in dis-ease. The ancient science of Ayurveda (translated: the knowledge of life), offers us guidelines and food choices to help maintain an environment of balance within our bodies, allowing us to go about our business of living, fully supported by our inner system.
The climate supports what the body needs. What the earth grows naturally in any given season is ideally what we should be consuming to maintain and enhance the harmony within. Unlike summer, when the climate has more Agni (fire) and one can enjoy an array of raw foods (like salads) without exerting the system too much, autumn is a time when Agni has begun cooling off.
Autumn is referred to as a Vata (air) season, which means the presence of air and space is more noticeable in and around us. Ayurveda believes that ‘like increases like,’ so if the weather is dryer and windier, then we should be consuming foods that balance the dryness and the wind around us. During this season, the body instinctively gravitates toward cooked meals, earthier foods, rich scents and warmer colors.
Here are 5 easy tips to balance the body during the autumn months.
1. Food – In order to calm the Vata within the body, we should start the day with a grounding breakfast of oatmeal, grains or quinoa. Cooking with ghee (clarified butter) is also advisable during these months, because ghee is guru (heavy), and in a season of high winds it serves as an anchoring substance in dishes. During this time of year, fall harvest foods are best — sweet potatoes, squashes, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and collard greens. Combine them in delicious stews or as main course to support the body and its health during this Vata season.
2. Body — Oiling is highly recommended during fall months when the air is dry and cool. Skin in need of moisture quickly absorbs oils to fight dryness of the dermis (top layer of skin) and also within the body. Some people prefer to oil half an hour before a bath or shower, while others who have drier skin or Vataare doshas (air/space body constitution), choose to oil after a warm shower. Sesame and almond oils, both of which balance the wind and dryness of this season, are best.
3. Colors – Colors contribute greatly to balance in the body. According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe is energetic and gives off a vibration, colors too. Since autumn is a cooler season, one can balance this climate by turning to warmer, richer hues — yellows, oranges and reds. Nature sets the example, wearing her deep reds and burnt oranges to balance the coolness that surrounds.
4. Scent –Choose aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm during this season. Scents such as basil, cinnamon, citrus, cloves frankincense, lavender, pine, sage and vanilla keep the Vata from rising within the body. You can use them as incense, aromatherapy, or with diffuser to keep you in balance.
5. Sound — Unlike summer months, when sounds of water, like rivers and streams, are soothing, in the autumn we should try to enjoy more grounding, earthy tunes. Shamanic drums, earth drums and any music that contains bass will be calming during a Vata season.
This article originally appeared on yoganonymous.com