That tell-tale crispness in the air? Darker mornings, earlier nights? Fall approaches! Fall solstice was September 23rd and we are in Ritu Sandhi.
In Ayurveda, Ritu-Sandhi (meaning ‘Season’ – ‘in between’) is the transition period between seasons, 7 days leading up to the equinox/solstice/season change and seven days after.
What does this mean?
Ayurveda pays a lot of attention to annual cyclical self-care, shifting our daily routines with the change in the seasons to allow us to ideally adapt to the environment. As we get to the end of summer, our bodies have accumulated excess Heat or Pitta, especially if we have not eaten from summer’s offerings of cooling fruits and vegetables, or if we had an intense summer of harried schedules, intense workouts especially outside, or got too much sun. With the cooling and drying influences that are naturally occurring as we head into Autumn or Vata season, it becomes necessary to hit the reboot button.
Ritu Sandhi offers a two-week period to tune into our bodily rhythms and maybe do a mild seasonal cleanse to prepare for the colder months ahead.
Daily Routine and Diet for Fall Ritu-Sandhi
For a two-week period:
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine, white sugar, white flour, and alcohol.
- First thing in the morning, drink a warm drink to stimulate the bowels, such as Tulsi tea or even just plain warm water.
- Have a regular habit of elimination; if you don’t have one, start cultivating a morning hygiene routine that includes making time to clear the bowels.
- Restart daily Abhyanga massage before showering – as the weather cools, this ritual protects the skin from the drying effects of the colder temperatures. Suitable oils are coconut for late summer, early fall and sesame for winter. Sweet almond oil is also an excellent choice.
- Eat a light breakfast of ripe seasonal fruit that is at room temperature. Avoid dry cereals, protein bars and multi-ingredient smoothies.
- Sip warm or room temperature water throughout the day.
- Take advantage of slightly cooler days to soak in some mid-morning sunshine. Vitamin D!
- While still enjoying summer’s fresh vegetables and fruits in salads and lighter fare, avoid eating raw food in the evenings. Switch to a small cooked supper instead. Grilled veggies with a light grain like quinoa is a great option.
- Start to reduce ice-cold beverages and heavy foods like ice-cream that are an American summer staple.
- Eat dinner/supper at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Adjust bedtimes to reflect the change in sunlight.
- During this transition, listen to your body’s cues – appetites tend to increase as the weather cools; and a desire for cold and light foods naturally decreases. We may feel tired a little earlier and the body may need a few extra minutes in the morning to wake up.
- As the weather cools and we move fully into the season, transition your diet to fall’s bounty – apples, pears, squashes, sweet potatoes and yams, heavier legumes and beans, and whole grains soaked and prepared correctly. This helps you stay feeling grounded as the qualities of light, airy, and dry increase.
Here’s my personal top 4 things to do for Fall:
- Set up daily Abhyanga (self-massage) oils, moving from coconut to warming sesame as the season approaches. A few drops of an aromatic essential oil like lavender or sandalwood can make this daily ritual aromatherapy and massage rolled into one.
- Apply Nasya oil into nostrils every morning. Made with sesame oil, brahmi and skullcap herb and eucalyptus essential oi, it lubricates the nasal passages, keeps the nasal channel clear to reduce the risk of colds, and improves concentration and awareness.
- Restock the warm spices – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper.
- Start drinking Golden Milk every evening to help with sleeplessness. Bring to a boil 1 cup of whole organic cow’s milk or almond milk, take off heat and add ½ tsp each of ginger, cinnamon, and ashwagandha, a pinch of turmeric and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Mix with a small mixer. Pour into cup. Once cooled a little, add 1 tsp of honey (optional). Yum!
Want to know more about Ayurveda and how these principles can bring balance and health to your daily life? Come in for a Wellness consultation. I would love to help you discover the ways Ayurveda can help you! 😊
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