Image by Rory Herbert
Text by Verónica Layunta-Maurel
Autumn doesn’t come in quietly. When we thought we could get used to the clouds and the rain, the fireworks of late summer sneak in with a cheeky, bright smile, welcomed but uninvited, only to let the grey sky and the rain in again right the following day.
Ok, then. Is it time for soups and stews or for salads? Do we wear a light jacket or start putting on warmer layers? Hot, sweaty yoga, slow and intense, gentle practice? All transition can be very confusing indeed. What we know for sure is that something is shifting. Change is in the air. The days are definitely shorter and, even though Autumn is the time of the year when the world asks us to rev up and race all the way to Christmas, nature calls us to develop a more introspective gaze, to look inside, to slow down, to conserve our energy and to enjoy the very small and luscious pleasures that Autumn keeps in store for us if only we slow down a bit, listen and allow our senses to open up.
Autumn, change, stress and your unique constitution
Change is always stressful, but especially to vata types (people with high level of air and space in their constitution). In Ayurveda everyone is a unique combination of three energies: vata, pitta and kapha. Even if your constitution is other than vata (it can be pitta, where the predominant element is fire and water; or kapha, where the predominant element is earth and water) in Autumn you might still feel literally ‘under the weather’. Our modern, fast lifestyle produces vata imbalances, not matter what your constitution is. What does that mean? Symptoms of a vata imbalance are:
· Joint issues and discomfort
· Nervous system imbalances, such as anxiety or just feeling nervous more often than normal
If you are suffering an aggravation of any of the above symptoms this autumn, think that it’s very normal at this time of the year, regardless of what your constitution is. Maybe you could try the following remedies:
Ayurvedic tips for this transition time:
1. Make the most of the abundance of late summer, local, organic produce. Our bodies still have enough fire to deal with them.
2. However, start shifting from astringent, cold and dry foods like salads to warmer soups, dhals and kitcharis. Think warm and creamy!
3. To cleanse out the accumulation of heat that has happened during the summer, eat plenty of bitter greens (any green leaf vegetable). Drink some Tulsi tea to keep you warm, grounded and calm during this time of movement and change.
4. Practise (self) Abhyanga: Ayurvedic self massage using warm oil, at this time of the year, sesame oil is the best. Use this lovely practise to increase the awareness of your body, to check-in with yourself and as a reminder that time for self-care is important. It’s also great for your immune system. Very soon we will be offering Ayurvedic treatments at Akasha Yoga Centre. We will keep you posted
5. Use Mahanarayana oil on areas of your body where you experience aches and discomfort.
6. After your massage, make yourself a ginger bath: A third of a cup of dry ginger powder and third of a cup of baking soda in the tub. Warming, grounding and pure delicious.
7. Yoga: try practices that ground you, like Earth Sequences, slow down your practice, feel it, stay with it… Choose between the over 30 classes that we offer at Akasha Yoga Centre (www.akashayogacentre.co.uk) Try the Dru Earth Sequence at home, click here.
8. Meditation: Try the Prithvi Dharanam (Dru Meditation with Veronica) or start a Mindfulness practice with Mel every Thursday lunchtime or once a month, Friday evening. Try this free Meditation at home. Click here to listen to it.
9. Book an Ayurvedic consultation with our Ayurveda Practitioner, Sharon Jackson, to find out about your unique constitution and how you can live in balance through Autumn and Winter and super charge your immune system to prevent flues and colds. (Fully booked. Next consultation available 29th November).
10. Keep smiling :-) ! It has an amazing effect on your nervous system and on the others’ too!
If it is evident that Autumn does not come in quietly, it is also true that it doesn’t leave quietly either. In this time of introspection, we all tend to feel a bit sad as we head towards winter. Lack of light, short days. Let’s be honest, in a way winter may remind us of death, of the temporality of it all. Images of trees standing bare, heavy lead skies, cold. But there is a promise hidden in every season, a promise full of life and future, an Autumn is not the exception. Before the leaves fall from the trees to follow their natural cycle, they use their last bit of prana to explode in the most vibrant, pulsating, colourful breath. That’s the promise that autumn brings us. There is beauty in every season of nature and we are part of that promise and that beauty, and by aligning with nature and its seasons through our daily lifestyle, we learn that something in us needs to fall and die in order to be reborn with an even brighter light.
Have a happy and cosy autumn!
Dru Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Health Coach
Founder of Akasha Projects Ltd and Akasha Yoga Centre