5 Ayurvedic Tips for Autumn: Self Care in a Busy Season
Autumn! It’s my favourite season. It feels so full of potential; a time for going inwards, taking stock, and laying out plans. Lots of people don’t love autumn so much — a friend said to me the other day that it makes them feel anxious, because the days get shorter and their mood starts to sink.
Whether you love it or not, autumn is a transition time. We’re shifting from warmth, long hours of sunlight, and time spent outdoors into coolness, more darkness, and (for most of us) more time inside.
As a yoga teacher, you already have a brilliant tool to help you move through this season gently.
In the ancient Indian medicine system of Ayurveda, autumn is associated with the air element. It’s dominated by cold; wind; roughness; lightness and ease of movement. During this time, Ayurvedic wisdom says that it’s very easy to become deficient in energy, nutrients, and emotional resilience.
For yoga teachers, autumn is often a really busy time — September classes pick up and we start planning for a new year, too. It’s even harder to keep on top of your wellbeing when you’re always on the go.
Allow yourself to take the time you need.
But Ayurveda offers useful insight to help us stay balanced, so we can move through this transitory season with strength and ease.
1. Eat and drink warm things
Ayurveda is based on the idea of balance. During a colder, darker season, our bodies have a tendency to become cold too; and we can feel emotionally drained, tired, and lose our motivation.
Eating warm, cooked food helps to balance the body — giving easy-to-process energy and a bit of inner fire. Warm drinks are great too; try herbal teas or a spiced chai latte (with the milk of your choice!).
2. Care for your skin
Lots of us show physical signs of coldness and roughness when autumn comes around; our skin becomes dry and cracked. Try massaging your face and body with warm oil, such as coconut or almond. It’ll keep your skin feeling smooth and healthy, and give you a chance to relax and unwind as well.
Don’t forget to care for your skin from the inside out, too — stay hydrated! Try drinking warm or hot water instead of cold, and throw in a couple of lemon slices.
3. Use your yoga practice to stay grounded on the earth
As a yoga teacher, you already have a brilliant tool to help you move through this season gently. Focus on steady, focused movement and postures that make you feel grounded on your feet and on the earth — to balance the lightness and airiness of the season.
4. Embrace the opportunity for meditation
If autumn makes you want to curl up by a fire (or radiator), reflect on the months gone by and make plans for the future, go with it. Allow yourself to take the time you need.
For some, this time of year feels full of creativity and quiet space; so if you want to hide away and work on a personal project instead of going out on Friday night, give yourself permission to do that.
And as the trees let their leaves grow, let your meditation practice be about release as well. Let go of the summer and let go of tension that has built up through months of work, activity, and effort. There is time for stillness now.
5. Spend some time outside
If you can, spend some time outside during sunlight hours every day. It doesn’t have to be loads of time — but being out in your environment will allow you to adjust to the change in season, and move with it instead of fighting it.
You’ll be able to feel what’s happening in the air; see the changing colours; and process the feelings that autumn sparks in you.
Let’s welcome autumn as an old friend. In the words of Virginia Woolf; “all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves…”