How to embrace an Ayurvedic autumn
What we eat and what we do during the autumn, especially the early autumn, is important. We should be guided by the ‘energies’ that change when we enter a new phase in the Ayurvedic calendar. According to Ayurvedic principles, it’s important that we ‘dry out’ from the summer and think about the energy that is around us, or indeed the energy that we need. Here’s how to ‘autumn’ according to the philosophy of Ayurveda.
In season ingredients for in-tune eating
The ingredients we cook, the recipes we go to, and our cooking style are all important factors when pursuing autumn eating.
The emphasis should be on warm, season-appropriate foods which allow us to balance the various stimuli and elements that are heightened during the autumn. Think root vegetables, lots of earthy herbs, and soups and stews:
Ingredients: sweet potatoes, butternut squash (seasonal gourds in general), figs, apple, cabbage, poultry/game, sweetcorn, pulses and beans, rice, berries such as gooseberries, salmon, carrots, beetroot, avocados, nuts and seeds are all key for autumn eating.
Flavours and themes: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, paprika, curry leaf, cumin, cloves, star anise, cardamom, tarragon, sage, nutmeg, chili, and black pepper are excellent. Try balancing sweet and salt with earthy flavours.
Methods and recipes: warm soups, curries and stews are key, as well as hot teas. Using the ingredients above, we recommend sweet potato and red pepper soup, miso-based chicken soup or ramen, aubergine and sweet potato dhal, and root vegetable lasagnes. Tonight we’re cooking Lorraine Pascale’s butternut squash lasagne.
Practices and poses for the new season
Autumn is all about openings, twists and staying ‘light’ as the air becomes heavier.
Choosing poses and practices that are close to the ground, or balance poses which invite focus and concentration, are the best for vata season. Try yin yoga, restorative yoga, meditation, and incorporate poses like pigeon, temple dancer, tree, lizard, any forward bends. It’s also essential to stretch too - try happy baby and child’s pose.
Pranayama practices like alternate nostril breathing and humming bee breath (it’s the best!) keep vata in balance. These stretches and poses, combined with breathing, are important because they help us cut through the thicker energies and elements while opening us up to new possibilities. They are also challenging yet grounding, which is exactly what the new season is all about.
Eating and exercising are fundamental to our wellbeing and ensuring we get our energy from the right places. But it’s also important to think about how we approach a seasonal transition mentally. Moving from summer to autumn is about balancing our energies and the elements that we’re made of and actively soothing our bodies. Reiki, lymph drainage, holistic massages, using essential oils, and performing mindfulness or meditation that is geared towards healing are key. We should also get outside as much as possible to counteract the hibernating that we’re about to do.