Second article in our Autumn series by Joanne Crisp

It’s Elementary!

In my last article, I introduced the concept of the five elements seasonally impacting us. As we transition from Summer to Autumn, including Daylight Savings, we can make some simple adjustments to navigate this shift as skilfully as possible. In so doing, we can avoid or ameliorate any negative consequences normally attributed to the challenges of Autumn.

Invoke the Law of Opposites
Ayurvedic medicine harnesses both the power of Nature and logic. The qualities of Autumn are dry, cold, changeable, light, ungrounded. We know that” like increases like”, for example, if you add ice it makes something colder; add weight and something gets heavier and so on.  Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid food, activities, and company which increases these qualities and instead favour the opposite, kind of like an antidote. By invoking the Law of Opposites in this way, we can simply but effectively combat the potentially negative consequences of the elemental seasonal changes on ourselves and our loved ones.

In simple terms, this means:

Dry antidote with Juicy
Cold antidote with Warm
Changeable antidote with Regular
Light, Ungrounded antidote with Heavy, Stable

Easy Ayurvedic Tips you can Implement

Eating warm, cooked food with gently warming spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, pepper. Drinking warm herbal teas, again with warming spices. Avoiding cold drinks and food (goodbye daily icecream, frozen yoghurt and raw food!)  Staying rugged up and warm, especially the head and neck in cold, windy conditions. Keeping and being good company – including my favourite – warm hugs! Enjoy soaking in the bath again, or even just your feet. Start or keep exercising daily to improve your circulation and wellbeing; gentle, rhythmic exercise like yoga, swimming, walking and dancing is excellent.

Not to be mistaken for juice, this is about keeping life juicy! Moist, oily and unctuous food and drinks to be favoured. Time to get back into soups, slow cooked stews and casseroles.  Be sure to add good quality oils to your cooking, like ghee, sesame and sunflower oil, even mustard oil if you’ve no heat problems. Coconut oil is great in summer but as the weather cools, its cooling nature is less appealing. And don’t forget about engaging in activities and company that support your feelings of creativity, purpose and passion – the juice of life! Yoga, meditation and relaxation are great ways to remove stress so that we feel, not just physically more juicy, but also in our heart and minds.

Now this may be new to many of us leading an overstuffed or spontaneous life. But it is one of the most important factors for regulating vata dosha. It’s time to commit to that weekly routine for exercise, draw up a meal planner and self care schedule. Set up regular catch-ups with people who are warm, supportive and engaging. Try to rise and go to sleep at the same time every day and keep to regular meal times.

Heavy, Stable
This may be more subtle to incorporate into our lives. The word guru in Sanskrit means heavy as well as teacher. The enlightening up process requires we have someone experienced with an ability to keep us grounded. It’s similar in Autumn, the lightening up season. Full permission to favour foods and drink which are heavy in post-digestive effect whilst still being easy to digest – cooked milk, grains, dates, plums, oils, sweet root vegies and some meat if you eat it etc. Food and drinks that make you feel grounded without feeling bogged down. Also, company and activities which make you feel grounded and more stable.

Go On, Experiment!
Ayurvedic Medicine is a profound science which is personalised to each unique individual’s constitution (prakruti) and current life circumstance (vikruti),so these suggestions offer an entry point to begin to reflect and incorporate into your daily life.  They are not meant as medical advice. It’s my hope they spark an interest in the Seasons, your own nature and how you can have fun experimenting and growing in awareness of the effect of your daily habits and life choices on the wellbeing of your body, mind and heart.