Did you know that the seasons are governed by the five elements? As we enter fall, we are shifting from fire-dominated summer to wind-dominated autumn.
All of nature is a dance between the elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether. Everything we see is comprised of these five elements and the balance of these elements shifts constantly. This means that our bodies, minds and hearts go through a shift in the harmony of these elements so our moods, skin, digestion, energy levels and cravings change along with this balance.
According to the sacred science Ayurveda, learning to recognize when an element needs balancing is the secret to great health for body, mind and spirit!
In fall, the air element is prominent. Air is responsible for many functions within the human body, including movement of food through the digestive system, elimination of waste, assimilation of food and the health of the skin. It also gives us movement of thought and thus impacts our imagination and creativity.
The air element is dry, mobile, light, cool, rough, and subtle. As the air element increases in our external environment we might notice that our skin becomes dry, our energy fluctuates, our thoughts seem scattered, our joints feel stiff and our digestion gets a bit sluggish.
The cooling effect of the air element causes a sudden drop in temperature that may result in a cooling of the body or a stagnation of body fluids. The result of this can be body pains, coughs, colds, allergies, chest congestion and fatigue or depression.
Increased air and wind have a drying effect on the environment and on the body as well. The skin and digestive system may dry out. Often during the fall people begin to feel bloated or heavy after eating due to the reduced heat and increased dryness. In order to help the body maintain health and avoid the build up of toxins, one should increase fluid intake in the form of water, soups and stews. Eat foods that contain a bit more butter or foods that are sweet, sour and salty to increase fluid levels in the body.
It is often more windy in the fall and we respond by feeling restless. Fall is a great time to start writing, meditating and spending time nurturing the self. Summer is a time when we are all busy enjoying warm days and active living and suddenly when fall arrives many of us begin to feel restless or even depressed. Spend a bit of time reflecting on the beauty that surrounds you. This will help to rebalance your minds and bodies and will help you learn more about yourself.
It is also important to cleanse the body during fall. Cleansing the organs and digestive system with the help of a qualified practitioner may help you avoid colds and flus and continue to feel healthy and energetic.
Oil massage helps the skin, joints and digestion stay healthy.
Oil massage is one way to encourage cleansing. Olive oil can be rubbed into the entire body with special attention being placed on the joints and abdomen. This will keep the skin smooth, sustain mobility in the joints and keep the digestive system active. When you massage the body with oil, you make it possible for the body to cleanse itself so that toxins do not build up within it.
Those who have very dry skin can use sesame oil to enhance the effects of the massage.
Another way to encourage the body to stay active and healthy during the fall is to drink teas that cleanse all of the organs. This simple tea can be made and drunk during the day to keep the body lubricated, to flush out toxins and keep the digestive fire active.
Chai or spiced tea is great for fall.
You can often buy organic versions of chai, but if you feel like creating your own, use warm and sweet spices to promote the calming of inner air.
Cinnamon, fennel, cloves, ginger, sweet basil, mint and cardamom can all be ground together to make a chai powder. Or simply boil them on the stove and strain to create a beautiful tea. There are no right or wrong proportions of the herbs so do what suits you. Feel free to play around to create a new tea experience each day. Add honey to bring the sweet taste in and you will notice that you feel warm and relaxed from the inside out!
Taking care of the body in this manner during fall could potentially help you avoid other ailments down the road.
Remember, fall is a season of transformation. It’s a bridge between the active, physical days of summer and the reflective days of winter. Enjoy this season of transformation and embrace the evolution that it brings to your body and mind. Take time to move slowly when you need to, but balance that with nice long walks in nature.
Tap into your creativity by decorating your home with earth colors that help balance the air element. Browns, rusts, reds and oranges all bring energy and balance to the air element. Add crystals to your home to create a rich environment for a balance of energy, grounding and creativity.
Choose carnelian for creativity, lapis for communication and bloodstone for grounding.
Fall is a season that deepens your connection to your inner self so embrace the time you spend alone. Intersperse it with time shared with friends and family over a home cooked meal.
Enjoy the bounty of earth’s harvest and cook root vegetable soups and stews. Fill the body with rich nutrition from beets, carrots and potatoes. Spend time with the earth element, lying on the forest floor and playing in the leaves. Walk barefoot and rejoice in this season all you can.