Ayurvedic practices are simple and elegant. This cohesive system of prevention and wellness puts each individual at the center of their lives. The simplest way to bring Ayurveda into your life and experience its gifts is to live seasonally. Wellness comes from each individual adjusting their food and lifestyle practices to accommodate the season and climate they are currently in.
Seasonal Diet and Lifestyle Routines
Nature is an integral part of who we are, just as we are an integral part of nature. We are affected by changes of season, climate & locale. To help each person adjust to the changing influence of the seasons, Ayurveda proposes a seasonal specific daily routine. These simple activities will help to keep us healthy throughout the year.
Change it up!
Ayurveda seeks to find balance thus we look towards the opposite in order to restore health. If it is hot then we cool things down. If it is cool then we warm things up. Similar to how you dress, when it is hot outside then we wear less clothing and when it is cold outside then we add on layers. We cool down in the summer by swimming and eating foods such as salads, watermelon and light fruits. When it is cold, we spend more time inside and eat warm soups and stews.
Health care is person-centered and focused on prevention.
Ayurveda is both an educational system and a practice, which places the individual at its center. Its only through practice and personal application that each individual experiences and embodies the tools and creates powerful lifelong habits. This creates a strong foundation to experience vibrant health, happiness and creativity. When we are in tune and practice lifestyle medicine we invest in our health and step into our power.
General Seasonal Principals
In Spring, we want to lighten up and shed the winter blues
In Summer, we want to relax, slow down and cool off
In Fall, we want to hydrate, moisturize, stabilize and warm things up
In Winter, we build, restore and create reserves in the body
Fall brings in a crispness, coldness and lightness. Its the season of pumpkins, beautiful sunsets, and foliage colors of yellow, gold and red. Ayurveda describes the Fall colors as reflected by the heat of summer burning through the trees and coloring the leaves in brilliant shades of fire. Fall signals that winter is ahead and so is the cold and shorter days. Its the end of the growing season and a time of slowing down. The qualities of cold, dry and light are reflected in our bodies as well. In order to pacify these qualities the practices to maintain health are to warm up your foods, heat up your lifestyle, hydrate and moisturize your skin, and stabilize your practices.
Warm it up – Food Medicine
This is the time to get back into your kitchen and cooking. Its time to say farewell to the cold smoothies with ice and salads. We will come back to those again when the weather warms up. For now think soups, stews, porridge and baked goodies. Warm cooked food will actually warm you up and make you feel cozy and nourished. Choose seasonal produce like root veggies, squash, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts and good quality fats. Over Fall and Winter Ayurveda proposes a higher fat, nourishing, nutritive diet according to the individuals constitution. Use warming spices like cinnamon, fresh ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, coriander, black pepper.
Easy in, Easy out
Ayurveda considers the digestive system to be the Master system of the body. Each dosha has a home sit in the digestive tracts and is associated with certain digestive/elimination symptoms. Vata is located in the large intestine and colon and associated with varying degrees of intestinal gas, bloating, pain, dryness and constipation. These symptoms are easily reversed by warming up the diet, increasing oil and fibre and using tonics.
If you suffer from any of the digestive symptoms mentioned above, then consider drinking fresh ginger tea before and after meals and make use of warming spices for cooking and teas. For those who don’t eliminate daily, start your day out with 1-2 glasses of warm water and lemon juice before coffee or tea. This will train your body for daily elimination. Increase your fibre intake by including cooked fruits and vegetables along with 1-2 TBS daily of ground flaxseed, hemp or chia seeds daily. You may also want to try daily herbal support in the form of Triphala a famous Ayurvedic remedy.
Stabilize and slow down your Lifestyle Medicine
Establish regular routines around waking, mealtimes, exercise and sleep. Regular routines help to keep you grounded and pacify the mobile nature of Vata.
Conscious eating– By taking the time to sit down and enjoy regular meals sans computer or phone, you create a practice whereby you nourish yourself and make eating sacred. Slowing down allows us to both enjoy and be present with our food, resulting in better digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Hydrate– Drink lots of warm liquids such as herbal teas or fresh ginger tea to keep you warm and sparkly, settle your tummy, and help with peripheral circulation.
Oil your Body daily– Whole body oil massage nourishes and feeds your skin along with keeping it firm and supple. Use warming, lubricating oils like sesame or almond. Consider oiling your nose, ears and eyes a few times a week to prevent dryness. Purchase organic, cold pressed oils. www.mountairoseherbs.com or banyanbotanicals.com.
Keep calm and stay warm–Vata dosha is light and mobile and aggravated by lots of movement. Consider the pace you move through your daily life. Notice if your’e always in a hurry, or you don’t have enough time. If so, slow down your exercise, asana and travel. Enjoy weekly massages, take baths and practice slow conscious Pranayama and meditation to nourish and pacify your nervous system and mind.
Reduce sensory stimulation– Vata dosha is responsible for all sensory input and is aggravated by excessive input. Consider reducing your digital input. Create a system where you have a cut off time for your toys like your phone, laptop, computer and Netflix. Jump into bed and read a book!
Guest blog written by ELENI TSIKRIKAS
Eleni’s mission is to inspire, empower and educate individuals to live extraordinary lives in harmony with nature and each other.
She is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner with over 10 years of clinical experience, along with certifications in Yoga and Western Herbalism. A perpetual student, her passion is teaching Ayurveda. She creates home healers with her popular “Skills for Living” classes and professional Health Counselor studies. She is a faculty member at the California College of Ayurveda, where she teaches and mentor students since 2009 and Loyola Marymount University’s Yoga Studies and YogaTherapy courses. Eleni’s extensive knowledge of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Herbalism supports her fierce passion for teaching and healing. She is currently working on creating online education courses for those wanting to learn and super charge their lives and health using Ayurveda. more info at www.bellymindinstitute.com