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Autumn: Fall Victim to Change

Sep 19th, 2012
Staff Writer

As trees shed their leaves, Autumn offers ||  human opportunity to shed toxins.The leaves turn and the air cools; the onset of winter begins. As the season changes, human habits change: shorter days and colder nights tend those seeking refuge indoors. Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of medicine, finds fall is an ideal time to change old habits, and start anew.

“In the fall, it’s about acknowledging that we’re overly busy, slowing down, and restoring the body,” Ayurvedic consultant Scott Blossom told Yoga Journal. Ayurveda determines that all of life is directed by three energy doshas. The seasons are dominated by different doshas the same way that the bodies of people are: the Vata dosha (air) dominates the brisk autumn season with instability and change.

Ayurvedic doctors suggest purvakarma (“up-front actions”) in the fall; a perfect time to take stock of life’s many influences. “Rather than aiming to eliminate toxins at any cost, purvakarma gently balances the whole person so that they can detox without destabilizing the body in any way,” Blossom explained. Purvakarma involves four steps of cleansing.

Habitual rushing, multitasking and dealing with information overloads complete what Blossom calls “the trifecta of American toxicity”. These stresses can lead to fatigue, insomnia, irregular menstrual cycles, indigestion and other issues. By avoiding the toxic trifecta, the body can recover from illness and focus the mind.

Nourishment is another key area for detoxification. A traditional Indian comfort food, Kitchari, provides all the nutrients the body needs without compromising on taste. Clarified butter, spicy teas and chutneys are all recommended to prepare for the cold winter and to clean the intestines.

Yoga that includes twisting and restorative postures helps wring the body of impurities that are often difficult to eliminate.

The final stage of an Ayurvedic detox is self-study. “The body should be telling us all the time what to do and what not to do — it knows what’s good for it,” so explains Blossom. “The key is to get out of your own way. Pass a half or full day in silence, and spend time in nature or journaling about your experience.”