Autumn: Grounding into Daily Ritual
As Summer begins to wane and we start to feel changes in our environment, the sun setting earlier the air turning brisk.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn season is known for its place as a transitionary period from Summer to Winter, with days becoming shorter and the weather cooling. Autumn, much like Spring, is a time where change happens at a quick pace. This can be a wonderful time of exploration, curiosity and gathering. However, if one is unable to maintain balance and feel grounded during this transitionary period, they can be left feeling unsettled, anxious and depleted. With intentional awareness of our personal constitutions, we can navigate this windy season of change with Ayurvedic wisdom.
In Ayurveda, we learn that Autumn shares certain gunas, or attributes, or with vata, the ether and air dosha.
Vata has the characteristics of being light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough and cold. When characteristics are pronounced in the external environment, the corresponding dosha tends to become heightened. By applying the law of like-increases-like, we find that vata will tend to be aggravated in during Autumn because it also exhibits these attributes.
Autumn was once called Harvest, a time used to collect and gather the fruits of summer and to prepare for the upcoming cold months. We can still see the value of these actions today, taking intentional time to prepare for the darkest and coldest nights of the year can support you physically and on an emotional and spiritual level.
Honoring time itself by offering intentional practices daily is one of the keys to finding balance during the season. Applying Ayurvedic principles to our routines and diets to implement grounding practices and grounding foods can support you in finding your rhythm and gaining a deeper understanding of yourself. This blog will cover the doshas in Autumn and offer an example daily routine and meal plan.
Exploring The Doshas
Kapha is an earthy and watery dosha, with the tendency to be cool, slow and soft. Kapha acts as the force of stability in our bodies, with the water element expressing heaviness, which in excess can lead to lethargy in our minds and bodies. People with a Kapha constitution tend to be stable, methodical, blessed with physical endurance, calmness and patience. Since we find the days becoming cooler in Autumn and Kapha is already a naturally cool dosha, remember to build heat this season. For people with Kapha dosha to find balance during autumn, focusing on maintaining warmth through your diet and practices.
Vata is comprised of air and space, these ethereal elements come together form a dosha that is whose power is mobility, and has characteristics that are dry, irregular and changeable. This moving force is the most prominent dosha in the body, since its main element, air, is pervasive in our environments (much more than water and fire). Vata also has the tendency to go off balance more often and more quickly than the other doshas. People with a Vata constitution tend to be thin and angular, adaptable, striving for inner freedom and spiritual connection. Vata also gives the gift of creativity and sensitivity. For Vata dosha individuals to remain balanced in autumn, incorporate grounding nourishment in your daily diet and practices.
Pitta, is seen when fire and water elements come together to form the bodies transformational power. Heat is the one attribute most evident in the expression of transformation, and when aggravated can create impatience and irritability in an individual. Pitta can be seen in people who are passionate, fiery or volatile. They have the strengths of mental focus, sharp wit and courage. With the heightened presence of Vata in the fall, which tends to be ungrounding, mobile and quick, it’s recommended that for people who have agile Pitta constitutions, practice slowing down through intentional use of time in your daily routines.
This Autumn, try implementing some of Ayurvedic habits in your daily routines. Making incremental changes is a more sustainable approach when it comes to daily habits, so choose one or two to focus on this season. Be mindful of your predominant Dosha as you build a routine and listen to your specific needs.
(K= Kapha , V= Vata , P= Pitta )
- Wake up (K: 530am, V: 6am, P: 630am)
- Cleanse: wash face, brush tongue and teeth
- Hydrate: warm water and tea. (K, V: cinnamon or ginger. P: dandelion, chamomile )
- Movement: (K: cardio. V, P: gentle yoga, pilates)
- Breakfast (before 8 am)
- Work/Important tasks of the day
- Lunch (before or at noon)
- Creative endeavors or physical activities
- Dinner (before sunset)
- Self-care rituals (K: body brushing. V, P: abhayanga)
- Sleep before 10pm
3 Recipes for Moving into Fall
The grounding nature of certain foods can be exceptionally supportive during the change from late summer into Autumn. Experiment with one of your meals daily, remembering to honor the season by enjoying warm, stabilizing and easy to digest foods.
*Adapted from Comida Pura Coaching
1 cup amaranth
2 1/2 cups of preferred milk, coconut milk, almond milk or water
Raw honey or maple syrup to taste
Pinch of salt
1/2–1 teaspoon warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg
Fruit (fresh, cooked or dried)
Nuts, nut butters
Coconut Flakes (Combine amaranth, liquid of choice, salt, and spices in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
- Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat, sweeten (optional), add toppings.
Tofu and Sweet Potato with Kale and Ginger
*Adapted from JoyfulBelly.com
2 cups sweet potato
1/2 cup of firm tofu
3/4 in. fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil (sunflower, avocado, grape seed)
- Boil the kale until leaves turn a vibrant shade of green green, strain and set aside.
- In a separate pot, add the diced sweet potatoes with just enough water to cover them. Add the salt and boil until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Grate and sautee ginger in oil for thirty seconds. Add garlic and tofu. Fry tofu until golden brown.
- Add cooked sweet potatoes and kale. Mix gently to avoid breaking up the soft sweet potatoes. Salt to taste. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Tridoshic Vegetable Soup
*from Ayurvedic Wellness Centre’s Rita Sagrani
4 cups of mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, cauliflower, corn, potato, etc)
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
6 whole pepper corns
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pots
2 tablespoons of ghee
1/ 2 teaspoon of salt
- Wash and cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
- Put the vegetables and water in a soup pot. Cover and cook on medium heat until just tender.
- Set aside in a bowl.
- In the mean-time grind the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle. You could also use a blender.
- Heat a soup pot on medium heat and add the Ghee, then the group spices.
- Sauté a moment while being careful for not to burn them.
- Add the vegetables and 4 cups of the broth.
- Boil for 2 minutes.
- Stir salt and serve.
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