With Winter holidays approaching the thought of a ‘cleanse’ might seem counterintuitive and is often a concept we reserve for New Year’s Day. According to Ayurveda, Fall is one of the best times of year to cleanse. The reason for this is because fall tends to gift us with mild weather. Doing a cleanse during extreme temperatures can actually weaken our body which needs to be strong to stay balanced in the cold/heat. Utilizing the transition from Summer to Fall is a great way to rid your body of Ama (toxins) to protect your body and wellbeing for the coming months.
Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of medicine, translates as the ‘knowledge of life’. It offers the wisdom that all of nature (including us) is connected by the relationships among the three doshas, which are directly related to the 5 elements. When I first learned about Ayurveda and Doshas I’ll admit I was skeptical. The more I learned and practiced the concepts of this tradition the more it made sense. More importantly, it actually worked! I was able to ground my energy, learn to intuitively eat and dieting was no longer a diet, just a way of life. Ayurveda is a very logical system once you understand the elements so lets start with the basics.
- Lets Simplify:
Vata Dosha- Air & Space Element. Vata attributes are cold & dry and the seasons are Fall and Winter.
Pitta Dosha- Fire & Water Element. Pitta attributes are hot & oily and its season is Summer.
Kapha Dosha- Earth & Water Element. Kapha attributes are wet and cold and its season is Spring.
- Fall is the Optimal Time to Cleanse with Food
Summer tends to be our time of travel, social activities, long days and late nights. As the colors of leaves begin to turn vivid colors of red, orange and yellow we can use that as a clue from nature to invite transitions into our own lives. We intuitively do this, as the days seem to get shorter, we find ourselves slowing down earlier in the evening and getting more rest. You’ve probably also noticed that as the temperatures drop during fall you are more drawn to warm cooked foods rather than the cold smoothies and salads that you craved during the summer months.
As summer exposes us to the Fire element of the Pitta Dosha we are naturally drawn to cooling foods to pacify the heat externally and internally. Fall brings in the Air element of Vata which is cooler in temperature and dry due to wind. This also manifests in to the way we feel. During the Pitta season of summer we are connected to the fire within (agni) and that fire gifts us with strong digestion which is why it is easier to eat raw cold foods and energetically feel like we can handle any challenge that come our way. Vata season brings more air and space into our system and our digestion slows down and energetically we feel a little more spacey but much more creative. This is why more people love crafting, decorating, baking and cooking this time of year! You may have thought that you crave soups in the cooler months just due to temperature however we intuitively know that warm cooked foods are easier to digest and since our systems have already slowed down during this transition its allows us to conserve energy and invite grounding energy.
Hopefully by now you have a idea of WHY, lets talk about WHAT you can do to jumpstart the balancing process. A cleanse doesn’t have to be just strictly juice or cayenne pepper lemonade. In fact, these types of cleanses are not recommended during this time of year due to their cooling nature which will aggravate the cold and dry elements of Vata. Cleansing doesn’t have to be rigid and you’ll find that by making these commitments for a minimum of 7 days you can connect yourself more deeply to your inner wisdom and find that making healthy choices is more intuitive than ever before.
- Step 1- Get an abundant night’s rest
In general, adults need 6-8 hrs of sleep per night however everyone’s sleep requirements are different. To get an idea of how much sleep you need, start keeping track and the number of hours you sleep (there’s an app for that) and track whether or not you wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized. If you are waking up groggy and unenthused then you’re not getting a restful night’s sleep. It can potentially take some time to find your sweet spot but hey, your life depends on it!
- Step 2- Drink Warm Lemon Water Every Morning
Do not pass go, do not collect $200. First thing every morning should start with a warm cup of lemon water. The sour taste is great for Vata as it awakens your mind and senses, improves digestion and promotes energy.
- Step 3- Meditate Daily
Your mind and body are inseparable; and your body is naturally balanced through the practice of meditation. There are many meditations options available online, so I would recommend committing to try something new every day until you find one that feels good. At first it may feel like a waste of time, but trust in the process. . Your livelihood will benefit from it!
- Step 4- Eat a Vata Pacifying Diet
To balance the air and space elements of Vata, choose warm grounding food and beverages. By grounding, I mean that literally, vegetables grown underground. Warm ginger tea, root vegetables and warming spices have an energetic quality to them that harmonizes your body during the Vata season. We are so fortunate to live in a society where seasonal food is more abundant and restaurants like True Foods who change the menu with the season.
Grains, root vegetables, milk, ghee, fresh yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive and sesame oil, beef, chicken, fish and eggs.
Dry, raw or cold foods & beans
- Ideal Spices
- Bay Leaf
- Black Pepper
- Mustard Seeds
- My Favorite Recipe; Grounded Fall Carrots
Foodie approved and SO simple to put together, your tummy and taste buds will love it and you’ll feel the grounding effects right away!
- 6 Medium carrots cut into thumb sized pieces
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 ½ TBS Olive Oil
Roast @ 450 for 20 minutes or until fork tender with crispy edges.
Brittni is a 500hr RY-T Yoga Instructor, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and Motivational Speaker. Her focus is living a fulfilling, healthy and passionate life by combining the ancient wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda and explains them in a way that everyone can understand and apply to their own lives. Brittni is abundant with positivity and full of inspiration. Follow her @brittnisoo