Fall is a time of transition, both in nature and in your body. The days grow noticeably shorter, each evening the darkness setting in earlier and earlier. The mornings start with a chill and you may need to start wearing your slippers around the house again. The warmth and carefree days of summer are gone – it’s time to layer up and ward off the increasing cold.
Warm cups of tea and cozy dressing gowns provide much needed comfort in the morning as the wind increases outside and the first leaves start to crisp. As the end of the intense summer heat gives way to the cooler and drier days of fall, you need to help your body through this transition. Without doing so, symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and constipation can hit as Vata dosha increases. So how do you keep Vata in check and stay balanced this season change? Here are our top 5 ways to stay healthy this fall.
1. Implement a Regular Routine
The first and most important step to implement in fall is to establish a regular routine. Your daily routine, called dinacharya in Ayurveda, is one of the fundamental tools to stay healthy. Your body thrives on a routine. It loves knowing what’s going to happen and when. If you are constantly moving around, eating at irregular times and your bedtime changes each night, your body will be overwhelmed, confused and scrambling to keep up with the chaos. By doing certain things, like waking, eating and sleeping, at roughly the same time each day, it establishes a sense of ease and security.
Set the tone for your day by implementing a simple morning routine. Upon rising, wash your face, scrape your tongue and do a few minutes of oil pulling. Next, to wake the body up and support your joints, do these simple daily exercises. If you struggle to exercise in the morning, don’t panic! This sequence is very gentle and will take just five minutes of your time. Make sure to not overexert yourself in fall. Other suitable exercises for this season include walking, restorative or gentle yoga and swimming.
After a hectic summer, it’s time to slow down and take stock. Use your evenings as an opportunity to unwind and relax. Curl up with your favorite book or movie, take a warm bath with epsom salts and practice a few minutes of deep breathing. Make sure to tuck yourself into bed by 10pm each night to wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!
2. Make Time for Massage
As part of your daily routine, implement a self-massage with oil. In Ayurveda, this technique is known as abhyanga and can be practiced every day, either in the morning or evening, depending on what works best for your schedule. Generally, sesame is the oil of choice for abhyanga in fall. Make sure to warm the oil gently before applying, and apply to your body in a heated room to prevent you from catching a chill.
Fall season is characterized by dryness, and the comforting coat of warm oil on your skin will help combat the dry, rough and cool qualities of this season. It also stimulates circulation and helps comfort dry or scaly skin. The dryness of fall can cause dryness in the body. You may notice that your joints crack or pop more at this time of year. This is a sure sign to oil your body each day to nourish and lubricate the joints. The heavy oil is also soothing and grounding to the nervous system. Do you feel more anxiety creep in during fall? Do you find it hard to drift off to sleep at night? Is your mind racing with thoughts? Allow abhyanga to calm your nerves.
3. Stay Hydrated
The dryness of fall can also wreak havoc on digestion. Each day, your stomach alone produces around 2.5 litres of essential digestive juices. If you are dehydrated, this can impair digestive function and weaken digestive secretions. In Ayurveda, your digestive strength is called agni. When agni is weak due to dehydration, food can sit stagnant in the digest tract. This leads to fermentation of undigested foods and produces metabolic wastes known as ama. Ama is the root cause of most diseases in Ayurveda. This is why such close attention is paid to digestion.
So how do you know if your digestive tract is dehydrated? If your tongue is dry and parched, this is a telltale sign that the rest of your digestive tract is also dry. If your stools are dry, rough or hard (particularly if they resemble rabbit pellet stools) this also indicates dehydration. To rehydrate, sip warm water throughout the day. Add a pinch of mineral salt to restore electrolytes and a squeeze of lime juice to keep the digestive tract nice and juicy.
4. Stop, Drop & Meditate!
Fall brings a certain sense of urgency. Kids go back to school, work ramps up and all of a sudden the end of the year is in sight. Stress, anxiety and fear tend to increase as a result. It’s common to keep pushing yourself through the hectic times, but this will only lead to burnout, fatigue and exhaustion. When you feel like responsibilities are mounting, instead of forcing your way through it, stop, drop and meditate! Down your worktools, turn your computer off and take 10-15 minutes to meditate.
Research has confirmed a wealth of health benefits associated with the practice of meditation. These include stress reduction, decreased anxiety, improved memory and reduced blood pressure to name just a few. Meditation decreases overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This is the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system. Instead, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” mode.
5. Consider a Seasonal Cleanse
In Ayurveda, a fall seasonal cleanse helps clear the heat that has accumulated over the summer and prepare the body for the colder months ahead. If the heat of summer stays trapped in the body, it can exacerbate fall dryness and worsen symptoms like constipation, anxiety and dry skin. It is also an important way to keep Vata balanced at this time of year. An Ayurveda cleanse helps you stay grounded at the junction between two seasons so you can transition gracefully into the fall.
The Holistic Highway Cleanse is unique because it takes your individual body type into account and is tailor-made to suit your unique needs. Get started by taking our modern dosha quiz to discover your specific body type. By knowing your combination of the doshas, you can take a personalized approach to this cleanse for better results.
To learn more on how to care for your unique body type throughout fall, follow this link and schedule a complimentary consultation. You will be taken to an online form where you can tell us a little about yourself and then you will be given access to our calendar to find a time that works for you.