Part 2 by Anne Bergeron
One of the many wonderful aspects of Ayurveda is the practicality and simplicity of its application. Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom asks us to pay attention not only to ourselves, but to the constantly changing energies of the earth, and to find balance in cultivating the opposite of the dominant discomfort in our bodies. Autumn, whose characteristics are cool and dry, is the season when Vata dosha, whose element is air and whose dominant trait is mobility can most easily slip out of balance. We return to stasis by cultivating stillness, moisture, and groundedness.
To balance the mobility of Autumn, Ayurveda gives us three daily practices that will keep our digestion running smoothly, and our minds and spirits calm, so that we can experience our lives with more awareness, appreciation, and presence. Incorporating the following daily practices will soothe and calm the Vata dosha, so vulnerable to the changing, shifting winds of Autumn.
1. Warm up and deepen the diet. Cook with spices, grains, legumes, and root vegetables. Pack kitchari and pureed soups for lunch. Soothe digestion with herbal teas steeped with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon.
2. Create a daily nasya ritual by applying a bit of sesame oil to each nostril to guard against the bacteria and viruses that often afflict us at junctures in the seasons. Develop a daily habit of several minutes of abhyanga or self-massage with warm sesame oil before hot showers or baths to increase oleation in the tissues and improve circulation and digestion.
3. Commit to a dinacharya or daily rhythm that allows for earlier bedtimes, several minutes of morning meditation, daily walks, and minimal or no screen time past seven in the evening.
In the two years that I have been stuyding the foundations of Ayurveda through The Living Wisdom course, I have found these rituals to be invaluable in keeping me grounded and healthy throughout the cold, dry, mobile season of Autumn. These practices have become part of my daily routine, and I love them for their simplicity and for the pleasure they bring as I learn to care well for myself during the cycle of seasons in the year.
Today, it is mid-September. The wind gusts at 40 miles an hour, and gray clouds hang low. We had our first frost two nights ago. On the stove, a pot of basmati rice simers alongside dal and a soup of garden vegetables spiced with cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 80s for several days later this week, but the cool nights and mornings, the hints of red in the leaves, and my own body’s signals, tell me that in these last few weeks of summer, it is Autumn that I must prepare for and welcome.
Anne Bergeron recently completed the Foundations of Ayurveda Course and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org