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Seasonal Wisdom for Autumn Living

Become aware of the changes that are occurring in nature: feel the drop in temperature and the increased dryness of the air; notice the changing morning light and colours of the leaves drying on the trees; smell the richness of the earth.  Nature is slowing down, her energy is one of letting go and turning inward.

Our body-mind is part of nature.  We are a microcosm of the macrocosm.  Our busy city lives and technology have disconnected us from the natural law.  When we listen and re-align to nature’s wise rhythms, we access our innate state of harmony and vitality.

Autumn is a time when the air element is predominant: there is more lightness, dryness and coolness and ‘the winds of change’ can blow more erratically. These qualities in nature have a tendency to aggravate our nervous system.  The air element also regulates the levels of moisture in the body, how relaxed we feel and how well we digest food.  Autumn is therefore a time to balance the air element by following practices and lifestyle routines that help reduce symptoms of wind, dryness and indecisive behaviour.

Excess air can build up in the lungs, nervous system, brain, large intestine, hair, nails, bones, skin and hands. This can cause dry skin, constipation, bloating and increased anxiety, which may result in nervousness and insomnia.

The air element relates to emotions, feelings, communication, compassion, sensitivity, empathy, love, the psyche and inspiration. These experiences and feelings can be enhanced by the increase in openness and creativity that the air element supports.

The air element is increased by pungent, astringent and bitter flavours that are found in very hot spices; by black tea and raw salads; by excessive busyness and rushing; by fear and insecurity and by going to bed after 11pm.

Suggested Autumn Routine:

The focus for autumn wellbeing is to bring balance to that aspect of the air element that is responsible for moving everything downwards.  As wind can aggravate the digestive and nervous systems, grounding is a very important practice for this time of year.

  • Rise early with the sun when the world is still and calm.
  • Flush your system with a cup of root ginger tea.  Grate ½ inch piece fresh root ginger and add boiling water.
  • Hold a little warm sesame oil in your mouth for a few minutes.  This is very nourishing to the mouth, strengthens teeth and helps to stop bleeding and receding gums.
  • Massage yourself with warm sesame oil.  This helps to combat dryness, joint cracking and stiff muscles.  Rinse off in a warm shower.  Place a drop of oil in your nostrils and ears.
  • Apply grounding scents such as vetiver, sandalwood, rose, jasmine, camphor, wintergreen or cinnamon essential oils on the eyebrow centre and throat.
  • Your autumnal diet can consist of warming foods that are sweet, mildly spicy, sour and salty as these flavours increase moisture and encourage feeling nourished and grounded.
  • Breakfast can be a small bowl of porridge: oats, rice or quinoa that can be flavoured with ginger, cinnamon or cardamom, goji berries and a little raw honey.  Grind pumpkin and sunflower seeds to add grounding omega oils.
  • For lunch and supper have more nourishing foods such as steamed vegetables and a grain that are flavoured with turmeric, coriander and cumin; root vegetable soups or kicharee.
  • Avoid too much raw salad, cold drinks, ice, beans, fermented foods and yeast as they cause gas and may unsettle your digestion and therefore your nervous system.
  • If you are easily affected by the seasonal changes and experience imbalanced symptoms such as insomnia, erratic digestion, constipation and anxiety then the most famous Ayurvedic herbal remedy is Ashwagandha.  It is great for calming and strengthening the nervous system, as well as boosting energy levels.
  • Take a teaspoon of organic Chywanaprash in the morning and evening to keep your energy and immunity intact at this time of change. Chywanaprash is a great remedy for maintaining your inner strength.
  • At the end of your busy day make yourself a cup of organic raw cow’s milk, rice or almond milk gently boiled with a pinch of nutmeg or cardamom.
  • Oil your feet and lower belly with warm sesame seed oil and settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!

As always, listen to and trust the inner voice of your intuition, as well as the sensations and messages from your body.   These are very empowering tools to support you in taking responsibility for your health, and living with vitality and ease.

To book a nutritional therapy and wellbeing coaching session, or for any further information on Ayurveda, contact wendy@wise-living.co.za.

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