Take Care of Vata & Take Care of Yourself This Fall
I love the sound of dried leaves underfoot and uncovering my stock of cozy sweaters for those cool, crisp evenings. Fall is the season of Vata, according to Ayurveda. The nature of Vata is cold, dry, light, mobile, and rough; all things that remind us of the qualities of the cooler months ahead. 

Although Fall brings wonderful things like Halloween and Thanksgiving (my personal favorites) it can also bring some things that aren't so much fun. For example, Vata can make our skin dry and rough. It can bring variability to our digestion and sleep cycles. It can even make us feel more scattered and flustered with stress. Sound familiar? 

Luckily, you're not alone. If you lean on Ayurvedic wisdom to help you through the seasons, especially the transition between them, you might find some relief from these seasonal symptoms. If you can address them now you might also dodge any colds, flu, or allergies that usually visit you at this time.  What to do?

Ground yourself with the following Vata-balancing practices. Try incorporating one or two recommendation at a time for long-term effectiveness and make things as enjoyable as possible. 
  1. Stick to a regular routine.  Meal times and sleep/waking times should be at the same time every day.  Yes, even on weekends. 
  2. Eat more warm, cooked, comforting foods like oatmeal, whole grains, root vegetables. soups and stews.
  3. Use a simple, warmed oil all over the body instead of lotion: sesame for Vatas and Kaphas, sunflower or coconut for Pittas. 
  4. Get the appropriate amount of healthy fats in your diet: butter, ghee, olive oil, nuts, avocadoes, flax seed, etc. 
  5. Hydrate well and often (6-8 glasses of water a day or more if you drink coffee, black tea, and/or alcohol). Sip herbal teas throughout the day. Find a calming tea to have in late afternoon and sleepy time tea 1 hour before bed. 
  6. Choose room temperature or warm water whenever possible. Try adding a slice of lemon or fresh ginger root. 
  7. Go to sleep early. Plan to be asleep by 10Pm and limit stimulating TV, computers, and smart phones at least 1 hour before bed.
Questions? Contact me. 

Seasonal Cleansing & Restoring Health
Traditionally, cleanses are done during the transition between seasons in order to remove excesses from the previous season. A Fall cleanse targets the excesses of summertime, which helps to remove toxins from foods like BBQ'd and festival foods, ice cream, alcoholic beverages and the excess weight they cause. It will also release excess heat accumulated during summer, which is especially helpful if you suffer from any inflammatory conditions. 

Whatever cleanse you choose, be careful not to starve or deprive yourself. This turns on the stress response and you'll probably gain the weight back, if not more, once you start eating normally again. I like the cleanses that use healing foods to facilitate the process. This is not the right time for a raw foods or juice diet, which will increase the cold, light, dry qualities of Vata and cause more distress. Better to try that in the Spring/Summer season when those foods are more readily available.
 
Ayurveda offers the perfect answer - and it involves plenty of good comforting food (just what you should be starting to crave this time of year). Here's how to do a simple Ayurvedic cleanse on your own. 
 
1) Replace most or all meals with a cooked dish called kitchari for one week or more
This mono-diet allows the the digestion to rest, which boosts detoxification. And since you're eating, your energy levels remain stable. Here's a video and recipe from Banyan Botanicals and there are many others available online. 
 
2) In the morning, drink fresh ginger root tea with lemon and honey. 
Gently simmer 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root in 2-3 cups water for 10 minutes and allow to cool. When cool enough to drink, stir in fresh citrus juice from 1/4  lemon or lime, and add honey.
 
3) In the evening, take a warm herbal bath and go to bed early
Your skin is the largest organ that eliminates toxins from your body. Give your body a good soak in not-too-hot bath water and add a few drops of chamomile, lavender, or rose essential oils. You can also add 1 c. of Epsom salts and 1/2 c. baking soda. Then its off to bed for a little light reading, stretching, or meditation before bed. A good night's sleep is crucial during a cleanse as this is the natural detoxification time. Try to be asleep by 10:00. 
 
Not sure how long you should cleanse? Any other questions? Contact me
 
Want to join a home cleanse support group? It's not too late to sign up for Kanyakumari's Community Cleanse staring next week, Oct. 1. I'll be teaching the workshops that will introduce and prepare you for a 7-day cleanse you can do on your own, or with the group, or at any time you choose. It's great for anyone new to cleansing and would like the additional support of an Ayurvedic Practitioner. The Cleanse diet is largely based on plant-based whole foods like grains, lentils, and vegetables. It's encouraged during the Cleanse that you avoid sweets, caffeine, alcohol, most dairy, and meat. An optional home kit is available for $75.

The Cleanse workshops are on Tues. 10/1 and Thurs. 10/3 from 6-8:30PM at Kanyakumari, which are required for The Cleanse. The 7-Day Cleanse starts 10/6 should you decide to do it with the group.  It's a wonderful resource for those looking to restore health and head into Winter feeling great. Here's where you can learn more and sign up. Or just call (414) 755-2858 or email Kanyakumari today.