As the leaves fall, how does your body change and how can you adapt to prevent disease according to Ayurveda? Let’s take a look at what Ayurveda recommends as a daily routine for this fall season.
Why is important to adapt a daily lifestyle according to one’s physical constitution? Everything in Ayurveda is about the uniqueness of every individual and how this uniqueness responds to the environment, culture, stresses and personal choices.
In Ayurveda, daily routines, also called dinacharya, are the basis of efficient wellness care. For each dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), there is a different approach.
Each prakriti or physical constitution (principles based on the biology of each person) has a different energy composition that when unbalanced will manifest in different vulnerabilities.
Fall Dinacharya: Daily Routine
However, in order to understand and apply the principles of a doshic daily care or dinacharya, it is necessary to relate that to the seasons and of course, their influence on each physical composition.
Fall in the United States is expressed as the season of cooling, a transition from the heavy summer to the path of renewal. The soil is being prepared to be protected by the leaves and stay dormant throughout the winter.
It prepares the land for survival. Human beings are also part of this ecosystem which is adapting to the change. Every change in life and nature brings stresses.
The human body is not different when it comes to a different season.
Unlike India, the fall season in the United States has the qualities of ruksha (dry), laghu (light), hima (cool), khara (rough), and windy which consequently can disturb the Vata dosha which has properties or analogies that resemble the same energies.
As a consequence, on an average scale, a daily regimen for fall should focus on pacifying the dosha that resembles the same qualities of the season.
Doshas In Fall Season
During the fall, it is the Vata dosha that when disrupted will tend to exacerbate its own qualities of dryness ruksha (dry), laghu (light), and hima (cool). The daily care related to this specific season should reflect that.
Keeping that in mind, adding to the emphasis that Vata care should be the center of the attention during the fall, let’s take a look of all three doshas, their characteristics and weaknesses when aggravated.
Vata: Vata is composed of space and air. It governs the nervous system, the bone structures, muscle movement including the heart pulsation and all movements at the cellular level.
When deranged, this energy brings fear, anxiety, other nervous system disorders and bone issues such as osteoporosis.
Pitta: It is composed mainly of fire and then water. It is expressed in the body’s metabolic system, body temperature and juices that govern and break down digestion.
When out of balance it manifests as anger, inflammations, confusion.
Kapha: It is the energy related to the body’s structure, what holds everything together. Also responsible for the “cushioning” effect in the body such as fluids that protect the organs and structures such as the lungs, the heart, and bones through the synovial fluid.
When out of balance it can promote excessive tissue growth such as tumors or too much fat, lethargy, depression and excessive psychological attachments.
Respecting The Daily Cycle: Daily Routines For Fall
The doshas or biological physical compositions are stimulated by lifestyle, diet, geography, age, seasons and the time of day – the time that the energies related to specific constitutions will be enhanced.
Vata time: 2pm-6pm/2am-6am
Pitta time: 10am-2pm/10pm-2am
Kapha time: 6-10am/6-10 pm
Having A Doshic Day – The Fall Foundation Of Wellness
Below are the pillars of good health that should be followed to build a solid tridoshic wellness foundation:
- Wake up early! If you can, get up a little before 6 am, before Kapha time kicks in.
- Wash your face and eyes with cold water to stimulate alochak pitta (Pitta subdosha) that governs the eyes. It is great stimulation for the optical nerves.
- Drink your lemon water! That will help with the release of toxins and elimination that should follow soon.
- Brush your teeth and scrape your tongue (that will help to clean the toxins from your system).
- Do your breathing exercises (pranayama). That will energize your body and regulate the oxygen flow. Alternate nostril breathing is a great way to regulate the erratic Vata in the body promoting a sense of peace and well being.
- Engage in some sort of exercise (yoga, stretching, cardio etc) to fight the highs of Kapha time in the morning. Meditate!
- Eat a Vata pacifying diet, facilitating the sweet, sour and salty properties of food that will lower the vata energy in the body. Even if you are not a dominant Vata, include in your diet warm and cooked meals.
- For dominant Vatas, during the fall, avoid salads and raw food. Reach for rooted vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that are grounding and soothing.
- Pittas should find a balance in between more substantial but still choose fruits and vegetables that help maintain the heat down.
- Kaphas should be careful with portions, eating warm foods but watching the “anjali “ portion rule, that is, if it seems too much to fit in your hands, it is probably an excessive amount of food.
- When ready for the morning shower, don’t forget the self-massage (abhyanga). Before getting in the water use a sponge and oil to massage the body and head.
- For Vatas, use sesame oil, for Pittas, use sunflower or coconut oil and for Kaphas, the sunflower and mustard oils work the best.
- Bedtime should be around 10 pm. That is the Pitta time when the body is getting ready for detoxification and healing.
- Before going to bed applying oil through the nose, an ayurvedic practice called nasya, is a great way to maintain the tissues moisturized using the nose as a venue to carry the oil to your system very fast.
- For Vatas, use sesame, ghee (clarified butter) or vacha (calamus) oil. For Pittas, brahmi, ghee, or coconut will work best and for Kaphas, calamus root oil will do the job.
- As for aromatherapy, if one wants to maintain a humidifier to combat the dryness of the fall weather, Vatas benefit from sweeter oils like vanilla, amber, basil, and frankincense.
- Pittas will do better with more cooling versions such as sandalwood, jasmine, mint, rose, neroli, etc. As for Kaphas, camphor, eucalyptus, clove, pine, and cinnamon are good choices.
- If one is not sure which one to use: Lavender is an excellent tridoshic (good for all 3 doshas) oil.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the daily routines for fall mentioned in this article.