Ayurveda and the Magic of Autumn


“The sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and Autumn was awakened.” — Raquel Franco

Autumn is a truly magical time of the year.  It is when we begin to transform, allowing what no longer serves us to fall away, preparing us for the long winter hibernation ahead.

According to Ayurvedic knowledge, Pitta Dosha is the manifestation of Fire and Water in the human body. During Autumn, this energy is dominant within our environment, and within ourselves (our-cells).

In nature, Pitta season is the time when the air becomes cool and crisp, nature turns golden and fiery, all the trees burst into a golden sunset, before letting go of their leaves, allowing them to fall where they may.

Autumn is the time of Creativity, High energy, Enthusiasm. There is magic in the air, and everything takes on a cosy feel.

During Autumn, our digestive fire (Agni) is beginning to grow and become stronger, after being at its weakest during summer. This is why it is so important to make changes within your diet and lifestyle to help balance this.

Pitta is balanced by sweet, astringent and bitter. We also need to help balance Vata during the later part of the season, so also include in your diet sweet, sour, and salty tasting foods which are all moistening.

Lifestyle tips for this Season

Sleep: Calming our mind is really important during this time, especially before sleep. This can be the time of strange dreams/nightmares or an overactive mind. Take time to wind down at the end of the day, give your mind time to turn off. Journaling is a fantastic way to get out of your head what may be floating around your brain and get in onto paper – leaving your mind still, ready for a calm, deeper sleep.  

Yoga: Good poses include: Sun Salutations, Cat and Cow, Cobra, Spinal Twists, Lotus Pose, Forward Bend, Back Bend. End with Savasana (relaxation pose) to help your body to regroup and calm down.

Exercise: Do exercise that is grounding, such as weights and walking (but rug up!). Avoid over-active exercise (cardio) as this can aggravate Vata.  

Body: Daily Self-Abhyanga is going to be your best friend during this season. Use warm Black Sesame oil, and gently massage your whole body. Can be either done before a shower/bath – in which you can use extra oil, or after a bath/shower – in which use less oil.

Keep warm. Vata is unsettled by cold and windy – as it is a mirror of itself. On cooler/windy days, keep your head covered – with a scarf, hat or beanie. If your feet or hands are cold, heat up the torso, as this will encourage your body to allow blood flow into the extremities.

Tongue scrap:  Tongue scraping is an incredible way to help cleanse your body and mouth each day. During spring, we can help improve our digestion and overall health by using a tongue scraper each morning and night. In the morning, use when you first wake you – before eating or drinking anything. This will help to eliminate Ama (toxins) on your tongue – which has come up from your digestive system overnight. 

Tune in:  Autumn is the season of coming back into ourselves after the lightness and fun of summer. Take this time to take stock of what is serving you in your life and what isn’t. What are some things that may be more of a burden to you than help? This is the time to really sit down and let go of what we don’t need anymore. To see what may be holding us back – in Mind, Body and Spirit. To see what needs to be internally and externally cleaned out (emotions, beliefs, patterns, diet habits, relationships, material possessions etc), so we can go into the cooler months with only things that will support us through this time.

Transformation: Autumn is the time of Change and Transformation. Questions to ask yourself: “Where would I like to transform in my life?”  and  “What do I need bring change into my life, and how will I transform if I do change?”

Align with your Wild Self: Connect with the natural world around you. We as humans are part of the planets natural ecosystem. Find time to go outside and experience the beauty and renewal that Spring brings. Remember that this beauty that is happening outside of you, is also happening within.

Autumn Seasonal Produce

Fruits

Fiji/Pink Lady ApplesGuavaNashi Pears
Black BerriesKiwi FruitPassionfruit
BananaLemonStrawberries
Custard AppleLimePears
CumquatImperial MandarinPlums
FigMangoRaspberries
GrapesMangosteenNavel Oranges

Vegetables

CapsicumBok ChoyBrussel Sprouts
AvocadoFennelArtichokes
Butter/Green BeansBeetrootCabbage
BroccoliCarrotsCauliflower
CeleryLeeksSpring Onion
OnionsPumpkinSpinach
Silver beetShallotSwede
Sweet PotatoTurnipsTomato
LettuceCornEggplant
WatercressPotatoParsnip
WombokZucchiniOrka

Herbs/Spices

BasilChivesGarlic
LemongrassParsleyTarragon
CorianderGingerMint
RosemaryThymeChilli
DillOreganoSage

Grains – Oats, Wheat + Rice

Legumes – Red lentils, Split Mung Dal, Mung beans

Nuts/Seeds – Most soaked nuts – including nut butters. Chia seeds, Flax, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Tahini, Halva, Pumpkin seeds.

Sweeteners – Raw Honey (do not cook), Jaggery, Molasses, Rice Syrup.

Dairy – Most dairy is fine. (avoid cold dairy e.g. ice-cream)  

Oils – Ghee, Sunflower, Olive, Sesame (most oils are fine) – Avoid Coconut.


For your personal diet plan – come see me for an Ayurvedic Health consultation, so we can plan a flexible spring diet, based on your Dosha constitution and lifestyle. Bookings are available online and in-person at the Wholesome Living Ayurveda Clinic – Hawthorn.

How to be more Grounded

Being Grounded 

In our modern society, it can be hard to be grounded and centred.

Our days are a mixture of technology, frantic energies of the busy city or shopping centres, and rushing from here to there. More than ever before we are finding that we are living more in our heads. Our thoughts running a mile an hour and our nervous systems are on high alert (whether we are aware of it or not)

It is no wonder we are finding it hard to be grounded. 

Before I go on, lets just quickly chat about the idea of being grounded. To me, there are two definitions of what being “grounded” means. 

  1. Grounded: Being connected to the earth. Grounding your roots to the earth. 
  2. Grounded: Being calm and in balance with yourself. To be centred and focused. 

To me, these are pretty much the same thing. When you ground to the earth, you are also grounding within yourself: and vice versa. To me, being grounded is just being centred and connected to the now. I find that when I am not grounded, I am space-y, my nervous system goes a bit haywire and I am all over the place. Sometimes I don’t even notice I am in this state, as it usually builds up over time. For me personally, things like being in front of my screens (laptop/phone), being on a plane, or being in a place like a shopping centre: are all things that lead to me feeling un-grounded. 

When I am grounded: I feel peaceful, solid, strong, and able to think without the monkey mind coming to play. My creativity and ideas are able to flow with ease, and my thoughts are rational and calm. 

I have found these few tricks easy ways to help me re-ground to myself and the earth when I become un-grounded. 

Being in Nature 

This may sound obvious, but sometimes I actually find it hard to be in a natural environment when I am un-grounded. I am so in my head, (which is usually racing with thoughts), that my mind can’t stand being in the calming nature vibes for too long. As the old saying goes: it is like I have ants in my pants, and I just cannot stop and BE. Being grounded, helps us be in the now; rather than when we are all in our heads, where our mind is usually racing towards something(s) in the future or dawdling its feet kicking dust about in the past.  When we connect into nature, we help re-balance our energy and connect into the natural flow of the rhythm of the earth. 

Tip: Walk around in a park, at the beach, or in your backyard. Pause and be mindful. If you can, take off your shoes and let your bare feet touch the earth or water/sand. Use your different senses to connect. Touch the leaves, let the sand fall between your fingers. Smell the flowers, listen to the waves. Just enjoy. 

Breathe 

When we are un-grounded we often forget to breathe deeply. Often we are in such a rush that our breath becomes shallow and we don’t even realise. There are many amazing breathing techniques out there – I would recommend speaking to your local Yoga Teacher or Health Expert. 

Trick: This is a simple technique that I personally use when I am feeling un-grounded. It can be used anywhere at any time. I have done this on planes, in movie theatres, shopping centres etc.     Focus in on your breath. (if you can, shut your eyes) and take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold the inhale for 4 counts, let it go for 4 counts, and hold the exhale for 4 counts.   Repeat 5-10 times, or until you are feeling grounded.

While doing this, I like to imagine my energy travelling down to the earth and connecting into the heart of the earth. To let my roots travel downwards, deeply and strongly, helping me to stand tall and stable. With each inhale, I imagine beautiful grounding energy from the earth travelling up from the earth into my feet, flowing into my body with each breath; and with each exhale, I let go of any stress or negative frantic energy, and release it back down into the earth to be naturalised.

Food 

Hooray! Yes, food is an easy and delicious way to help you feel more grounded. Eating heavier foods such as veggies grown under the dirt (rather than on a vine etc), and foods like meats, can help us to feel grounded once consumed. When you are feeling ungrounded, it is best to avoid things like alcohol and really dry foods like popcorn. This is because, (in accordance with Ayurveda), these foods have a higher percentage of the element of Air in them, and this will not help in grounding you down.