Autumn Ritucharya: An Ayurvedic Guide to Autumn

Autumn Ritucharya: An Ayurvedic Guide to Autumn

Written By Sarada

As we enjoy these last days of Summer we feel a hint of the incoming season: beautiful Autumn. The early morning air, the later rising of the sun, and the turning of some of our trees’ leaves are all leading us away from Summer heat and long days. Our sunsets change and somehow become more spectacular. Ayurvedically speaking, the fire element of pitta season is giving way to vata, the air element of Autumn. This is the time of year when the energetic principles of Air and Space are strongest.

Prana, the vital breath is everywhere so it’s time to balance our Vata.   

For Ayurvedic newbies, vata qualities are rough, dry, cool, windy, irregular and erratic, light, clear and subtle. To balance vata, we aim to create the opposite qualities; wet, warm, sheltered, grounded, heavy, slow and regular. But what does that actually mean? In this article we share a seasonal wellness ritucharya (routine) suited for Autumn. In Ayurveda, adapting our diet and our lifestyle for each season helps us to maintain energy, vitality, hormonal balance, immune strength, weight management and more.

If you take only two things away from this article let them be;

  1. Don’t miss Autumn’s invitation to detoxify.
  2. Staying warm is paramount to immune wellness and seasonal vitality.

In Ayurveda, it’s an ancient practice to cleanse the body as the season turns.

If we wish to encourage optimal mind-body functioning, it is essential to detoxify. The changing of the season presents us with a natural nudge on purging toxins and impurities that are no longer required, and the release of a fresh energy to embrace the new season.

Even though Australian seasonal shifts might be subtle, staying warm is paramount to abundant health as we transition to Autumn. As irrelevant and unnecessary that this may seem, keeping warm, alongside a simple seasonal cleanse can make the difference between limitless energy and vitality, and coming down with a seasonal cold (otherwise known as enforced cleansing).

Coming down with a cold at the turn of the season is not a bad thing, nor is it unusual, however it is often an inconvenient and avoidable circumstance.

For Autumn Wellness, move this way!

Autumn Ritucharya

Follow the below seasonal guide for optimal vitality this Autumn.

 1. Take Digestive Care.

  • Curbing between-meal snacking to allow digestive rest. Intermittent fasting overnight, even simply stretching the space between your evening meal and the next day’s breakfast, is a gift to your digestion and immunity.
  • It’s a common trap to increase food intake in Autumn and yes that might seem a grounding thing to do however, overeating can burden our digestion and interfere with our body’s own seasonal wisdom so be brave, and say no to that second hot crossed bun!
  • Lengthy fasting is not actually encouraged during Autumn. Gentle cleansing takes place when we follow seasonal dietary guidelines and possibly consider a mono diet of kitcheri for a few days.

2. Foods to support the Summer-Autumn Transition

  • In cooler months we avoid or at least reduce cold and frozen foods, raw vegetables, abundant amounts of cruciferous vegetables (summertime veg) and dry foods such as toast, crackers and dried fruit.
  • We start our migration from salads to soups, stews & steamed vegetables – these are grounding and internally moisturising. We increase our intake of cooked vegetables, serving them with a little healthy oil such as butter or coconut oil, and soups and broths, reducing intake of raw vegetables.
  • We embrace more warming foods such as ginger, garlic as well as warming and stimulating spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and fennel.
  • We are slowing migrating towards solid, heavier foods that are protein rich and include healthy fats. Segue with semi-solid foods that are nourishing, make kitcheri a weekly feature during this time.
  • Remember how we dropped the dairy over Summer? It can make an appearance in small amounts now, along other good quality grounding foods such as hearty grains, eggs, nuts and seeds.
  • Seek out sweet salty and sour flavours. Soaked almonds, roasted pumpkin are naturally sweet. Use mineral salt from the sea or mountain and welcome lemons once again.
  • A suitable breakfast for Autumn may be a naturally sweetened oat or brown rice porridge, topped with a sprinkling of nuts, a small amount natural sweetener as well as butter, ghee or coconut oil.
  • Fruit wise, say goodbye to watermelon and hello to early season apples, pears, and citrus of all kinds- lemons, mandarins and oranges.

3. Hide the ice cube tray, stock up on ginger. Here’s what you should drink in Autumn.

If you can start the day with a warm beverage, you will be winning! Drinks in tune with the season include half a lemon or lime in warm water, warm apple cider vinegar water with a small amount of honey, or a mug of ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea. Tulsi Ginger, Tulsi Lemon Ginger and Tulsi Turmeric Ginger are Autumnal favourites as they deliver the desired warmth, as well as stoke agni (digestive fire). Tulsi Cleanse answers your body’s call for seasonal purification. That said, any of the blends in the Tulsi range naturally support digestive, detoxification and metabolic processes because that’s one of the beauties of Holy Basil. Others being that this bewildering herb is naturally stress relieving and immune boosting. In general, keeping hydrated is key to eliminating toxins and metabolic waste ready for excretion and unleashing the vitality that Autumn entitles us to.   


4. Cold feet? It’s a sign! Mastering seasonal warmth in Autumn is an art form.

  • The mornings become brusque and yet the midday sun still beats down. Dressing in layers for Autumn is key and yes, it is an art form! Try wearing enough to keep those tootsies warm at sunrise and be prepared to peel layers away at lunchtime. When outdoors, minimise exposure to drafts with a light scarf around your neck and thyroid (cotton or silk) and cover your head and ears for protection from cool breezes. Cover your kidneys (even with a t-shirt) and keep socks or slippers handy. You might like to experiment with autumn-colours – think of autumn leaves! 

The Takeaway

In case you missed it, cleanse your body and keep warm! Following the expansion of summer we slowly begin our journey inwards towards Winter, the most contracted time of the year. Autumnal changes are subtle and present powerful opportunities to us all. Try to offer yourself and those around you a little seasonal nourishment & care. See what you can notice about your body, your energy levels, and whether you feel warm or cold? Can you create the space to enjoy those spectacular sunsets?

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