An Ayurvedic guide for a healthy October
As the days get shorter and cooler, it’s time to bundle up, dig out the crockpot, and start exploring self-care strategies to shore up your natural immunity. In this Ayurvedic guide for a healthy October, we’ll share some of our favorite tips for feeling your best during autumn.
Fall is Vata season
From October through February, the qualities of Vata dosha (cold, dry, irregular) tend to predominate in the environment—and in our bodies.
Signs of excess Vata in the mind & body
The cooling, drying influence of Vata can manifest in the mind and body as:
- Feeling scattered or “spaced out”
- Feeling chilly, especially in the hands and feet
- Dry skin
- Irregular digestion
- Occasional constipation
- Irregular sleep
Ayurveda teaches us that “like increases like” and opposites balance. To help balance Vata dosha’s cooling, irregular influence, it’s good to favor foods, activities, and influences that are warming and grounding.
Foods to favour during fall
- Cook with olive oil or ghee, both of which help to balance restless Vata
- Drink hot milk or Organic Vata Tea at bedtime
- Avoid cold sandwiches, cold salads, and dry cereals with cold milk.
- Start your day with a warm stewed apple, followed by cream of wheat cereal or oatmeal.
- At lunchtime, eat vegetable curry or warm cooked vegetables with a dash of Organic Vata Churna, rice with ghee, and mung dhal soup.
- If you need an afternoon snack, try a chapati (flat bread made of wheat), dates, or fresh fruit.
- Stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks — they aggravate Vata.
- Try hearty soups and bread for dinner.
- Take a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg and some sugar or honey just before bedtime to promote sound sleep.
More easy ways to feel your best in October
When the chilly weather rolls in, it can be tempting to stay indoors. While a little downtime on the couch is a good thing, it’s also important to keep moving. Exercise boosts both your metabolism and mood, and it benefits every system in your body.
Traditional Ayurvedic vaidyas generally favor light, non-strenuous exercise like walking or yoga asanas. Done regularly, these activities yield tremendous balancing and healing benefits. That being said, some body types do very well with high-powered athletics! Those with Pitta constitutions often thrive on challenging activities like hiking, biking, and dancing. And those with Kapha constitutions benefit from a little encouragement to get moving. Vata types may want to avoid overly strenuous exercise—particularly during Vata season.
Learn more about exercising for your Ayurvedic body type.
Give your skin some TLC
Your skin is a sensitive organ that’s influenced by the seasons. In the cool months of autumn, the skin on your face can start to feel parched—just like the dry leaves outside.
The Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga, or self-massage with warm oil, is very nourishing and balancing to the skin. It also calms the nervous system, tones the muscles, and promotes healthy circulation. Our Youthful Skin Oil offers added nourishment and comfort for the complexion.
Up your intake of antioxidants
The cool months are the beginning of sniffle season. With that in mind, it can be beneficial to support your body’s natural immunity by upping your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural substances that support healthy cells and help against free radicals—compounds that can lead to unwanted health issues.
A diet rich in fresh, varied produce is one of the easiest ways to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants. For additional support, try Amrit Kalash, Maharishi AyurVeda's potent, daily herbal rasayana (rejuvenative) for general well-being. This traditional, rejuvenating formula is a natural source of antioxidants and has many other benefits—from supporting natural immunity and vitality to helping the mind and body adapt to stress.
Unwind with aromatherapy
Autumn is candle season! Beat the stress of your week by treating your senses to healing aromatherapy in the evening. Lavender, sandalwood, and ylang ylang are just a few of Ayurveda’s most soothing scents.
Maharishi Ayurveda's dosha-balancing aroma oils and candles are a great way to scent a room naturally. As the oils are warmed in a diffuser (or candle blend), natural fragrance is released into the air. When inhaled, these scents stimulate the olfactory nerve endings in the nose and have a calming influence on the limbic area of the brain, which controls the memory and emotions.
Be easy on yourself
Sometimes, the restless, chilly fall weather can lead to occasional sleeplessness and worry. Remember to go easy on yourself this month. Here are some tips:
- In the morning, head off to work with the resolve that you'll seek balance in everything you do — not perfection. Questing for perfection is stressful; questing for balance is restorative.
- Breathe deeply — this will help you remain calm under pressure.
- Check in with yourself: are you happy with what you are doing in life? If not, what are your options? Autumn, the inward season, is a great time to re-examine your goals and priorities—and even small steps can lead to progress.
- Remember to laugh. Laughter can be very healing! Read a funny book, or watch some comedy with a friend.
- In all you do, seek to feel good about yourself and other people.
Balance is the key word in Ayurvedic healing and inner contentment.
Skip the fast food
A report in Taste for Life magazine quotes Sally Fallon, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, as saying that America's food supply bears so little resemblance to the diet that launched the human race that it leaves our bodies starved for essential nutrients.
Ayurvedic healers have always emphasized that microwaved foods and meals/snacks full of preservatives are devoid of essential life force, and best avoided. In the chaos of daily life, it can feel impossible to give up convenience gadgets and foods. But whenever possible, try going as natural as you can. Pick your foods with care. Cook Ayurvedic meals slowly and lovingly—and eat them warm and fresh.
Cultivate Sattva (Goodness)
Sattva, or goodness, is the highest of the gunas, or qualities, say Ayurvedic experts. The easiest way to bring more sattva into your heart and mind is to take the time to think and act with kindness toward other people. There are so many ways to be helpful. Call or message a friend to check in and share some kind words. Volunteer in your community. Or simply give the gift of your time and attention to someone who needs it. Extending kindness to others makes you feel good, too.
Make the most of these chilly fall days! Get out and enjoy the changing colors of the leaves. Relax on your porch, deck, or balcony with soothing herbal tea—choose from Maharishi AyurVeda's Mind/Body beverages that balance the doshas and promote calm. Browse the pages of a good book. Cook delicious, nourishing meals for you and your loved ones. Go to bed early and wake up fresh to greet a crisp new day.
Have a wonderful October! And while you’re at it, here are some tips for a healthy, happy Halloween.
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