• October news

    Haven’t we had a fabulous summer? Which continues even now... Despite the unseasonal warm weather I am copying you in on an email I received this week. Advice from the Ayurvedic meditation centre I visit every year. Ayurvedia is the science of life and longevity, encompassing massage, diet, meditation, proper breathing, Yoga, herbs and Vedic architecture (healthy homes). So here for your benefit is a little advice on how to change your diet in accordance with the changing season.

    We measure out each year by its seasonal changes – the cold sleep of nature during winter, it’s re-awakening during spring, its full splendour during summer and the fruits bearing seeds of nature’s renewal during autumn. As summer changes to autumn, the sap of each tree begins to draw inwards. Bright green leaves gradually dry and become yellow, orange, red and brown, then they wither and fall.

    The fire element of summer withdraws and the air element starts to predominate. Winds blow a cooler, drier air. The life-force energy that Ayurveda calls Prana becomes more abundant in the atmosphere during autumn and one can enjoy bracing and reviving walks.

    The balancing of qualities

    Autumn has its own qualities as or Gunas and these are very similar to the qualities of Vata dosha*, the element in our body responsible for movement. The qualities of both autumn and Vata are erratic, rough, dry, windy, cool, light, subtle and clear. As it tends to increase these qualities in our body, autumn is considered part of the Vata season, which actually lasts until the beginning of January.

    To avoid going out of balance and creating the seeds of disease, those with a predominance of Vata need to pay particular attention to their how Vata dosha is affecting them. Constipation, dry skin, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety are all tell-tale signs that Vata is high.

    Autumnal Dos and Don’ts

    But whatever Dosha predominates in your body, it is always wise to avoid or reduce activities, behaviours and foods that will increase Vata and favour those that balance the increased Vata in the environment.

    • Eating warm cooked food is the most important principle for everyone, during Vata season. Adding Organic Vata Churna (spice mix) to your meals helps balance Vata.

    • Warm drinks such as hot milk or Organic Vata Tea have an immediate balancing affect.

    • Avoid raw foods as these will increase the rough and cool Gunas, and in the case of raw cereal, the dry Guna. Freshly cooked warm foods are always best.

    • A little ghee, coconut oil or olive oil with your food, will help increase the unctuous and smooth Gunas. This will help balance those rough and dry qualities and immediately calm down restless Vata.

    • It’s good to always have a mixture of leaves/greens and root vegetable with your meals, but during autumn, and early winter, it is best to favour root vegetables. Root vegetables are heavier in quality than leaves and greens and this balances the light quality of Vata. They are also generally sweeter and less bitter, which helps balance Vata.

    • With our fast-paced lifestyle cold salads, dry cereals with cold milk or yoghurt, and cold sandwiches are often the foods of convenience, but they are also the types of foods that create Vata imbalance.

    • Avoid too much travel or change to your routine, as both will increase the erratic Guna inherent within Vata. Adopt a steady routine and get sufficient rest and sleep.

    • Avoid drafts and keep a hat and scarf on when you go out for a walk. Although long walks on windy autumn days can be exhilarating, they also increase the windy, cool, subtle and clear Gunas and will elevate Vata dosha.

    • If the weather is windy, it’s best to keep your window closed while sleeping or sleep will become light, erratic and disturbed.

    Try this and see how you feel

    For a few days, try the following and see how much better you feel:

    • Start the day with a warm stewed apple, along with porridge oats that is cooked in warm milk or water, with a little cinnamon, a pinch of salt and a few added raisins.

    • For lunch try a vegetable curry or try some warm, cooked vegetables with Organic Vata Churna added, rice with ghee, and mung dhal soup.

    • If you really need a snack, try dates or fresh fruit, or warm milk with some cardamom. Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, are can be Vata-promoting and should be avoided.

    • Supper can include a warm vegetable soup with toast.

    • A cup of warm milk with a pinch of ginger and some sugar or honey is recommended before bed, for a sound sleep.

    Foods to favour during autumn

    During autumn, favour foods that are sweet, sour, and salty, but at the same time take care not to put Kapha and Pitta out of balance (see list of suggested foods on sidebar).

    Foods to reduce during autumn

    Cut down on, or avoid, dry cereals, iced or cold foods, barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, dried fruits (that are not soaked). Avoid sour fruits such as black currents, gooseberries, rhubarb and cranberries. Avoid raw salads.

    Foods to reduce during autumn

    Autumn is a transition period between the warmest and coldest seasons of the year and an important time to remove Ama (accumulated impurities) from the system.

    Vata Reducing Foods

    Fruits to Favour

    • Apples (cooked)

    • Prunes (soaked)

    • Raisins (soaked)

    • Bananas

    • Dates

    • Figs

    • Mangoes

    • Papayas

    • Avocados

    • Oranges

    • Tangerines

    • Grapefruit

    • Grapes

    • Lemons

    • Limes

    Vegetables to favour

    • Carrots

    • Beetroot

    • Sweet potatoes

    • Onions

    • Pumpkins

    • Squash

    • Ladies fingers

    Grains to favour

    • Basmati rice (white or brown)

    • Oats

    • Quinoa

    • Wheat

    • Amaranth

    Pulses to favour

    • Kidney Beans

    • Mung beans and dal

    • Urad dal

    • Miso

    Nuts and seeds to favour

    • All nuts and seeds are help reduce Vata

    Dairy to favour

    • Ghee

    • Butter

    • Cream

    • Milk (warm or hot)

    • Yogurt (best diluted with water and only taken at lunch)

    • Buttermilk

    • Cheese

    • Kefir

    • Sour Cream

    Animal products to favour (for non-vegetarians)

    • Eggs

    • Fish

    • Lobster

    • Oysters

    • Shrimp

    • Beef

    • Chicken

    • Crab

    • Duck

    • Turkey

    • Venison

    Oils to favour

    • Ghee

    • Coconut oil

    • Sesame oil

    • Olive oil

    • Almond oil

    • Safflower oil

    Sweeteners to favour

    • Raw Sugar

    • Jaggary sugar

    • Coconut sugar

    • Honey

    • Maple syrup

    • Molasses

    • Rice syrup

    Spices to favour

    • Ginger

    • Cumin

    • Coriander

    • Black Pepper

    • Cardamom

    • Cinnamon

    • Turmeric

    • Asafoetida (hing)

    • Garlic

    • Allspice

    • Paprika

    • Anise

    • Basil

    • Bay Leaf

    • Clove

    • Garlic

    • Mustard Seeds

    • Nutmeg

    • Oregano

    • Rosemary

    • Dill

    • Parsley

    • Saffron

    • Chillies

    I am swapping to sesame oil based massages to support the body in the transition to autumn and I also have a Vata massage oil which contains, sesame, Aswagandha, country mallow, aloe weed, lemon and Jasmine. It’s helpful for an overactive mind, insomnia, aches and pains and low immunity.

    How about some lovely suggestions for treatment? Ayurvedic ones!

    Indian head massage

    In India a traditional head massage practised by generations was an important feature of family life and maintenance of health. It consisted of a vigorous head massage and use of oils for hair health. It has now been westernised to incorporate the upper back, shoulders, arms, hands and face - the area’s most vulnerable to stress. By increasing oxygen and blood supply to the brain, mental fatigue, anxiety and stress are all relieved.

    Increased mobility and pain relief can also be achieved. A feeling of calmness and relaxation, dispersal of toxins from tense knotted muscles, stimulation of circulation and a higher level of alertness and concentration can all be achieved from regular treatment. If that is not all, improved scalp and hair condition, relief from eye-strain, tension headaches and migraine. Hot stones and essential oils are also used to enhance the psychological and physical benefits of this treatment - £34

    Indian Champissage (Natural face lift) Massage

    Based on the ayurvedic principals of energy balance. This unique treatment uses a combination of acupressure, polarity therapy, reiki and swedish style massage. The skin is polished with an oatmeal scrub which is a natural source of vitamin E and antioxidants. The mask is a natural honey and vitamin E base which has natural antiseptic and has skin softening qualities. As well as feeling terrifically balanced and calm your skin will be toned, smooth and radiant. A deep scalp massage using exotic oils is also included. There is a good chance you will feel beautiful on the inside too - £38

    Sacred Stone Facial

    Drawing on ancient healing and beauty secrets of Ayurveda, this treatment starts with massage of the feet with an organic oil which helps to eliminate inflammation from the body. The toes are then wrapped with hot basalt stones and tucked into booties, before the facial begins. The face is massaged with alternating hot and cold stones (called contrast hydrotherapy) to clear congestion and tone the skin. A mama point (Ayurvedic facial energy map) massage is also performed prior to application of a raw honey mask. Finally, specific healing crystals are placed on the face to balance the energy of the body - £38

    Or a firm favourite with many Reflexology with a 15 minute head neck and shoulder massage - £38

    Looking forward to seeing you and chillin you out.

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