It’s getting cold out there – tips from Ayurveda & TCM


Autumn from the per­spec­tive of TCM

Autumn is the sea­son of the Met­al ele­ment.  The lungs, nose, colon and skin are all close­ly linked to the Met­al ele­ment. In Autumn, it’s impor­tant that we strength­en these organs and pro­tect our­selves against dryness.

As the morn­ings start to become cool­er, prepa­ra­tions for the cold win­ter sea­son can begin – so it’s impor­tant to wake up ear­ly to pro­mote good health. Head­ing to bed before it gets cold at night is also rec­om­mend­ed. Sweet, sour and hot cooked meals sup­port your Qi flow, and cold and spicy meals pre­vent the Lung Qi from flowing.


Tips from Ayurve­da for a bal­anced start to autumn

Look after your­self with a warm­ing, nour­ish­ing diet rich in oils and ghee, and with spices such as gin­ger and cumin. A hot cooked break­fast (por­ridge, stewed apples or buck­wheat pan­cakes) fol­lowed by soups, stews, cha­p­atis, kitchari (a one-pot meal of rice and dhal) and plen­ty of warm herbal teas all help with this.
End the day with warm (plant-based) milk with gin­ger, nut­meg and a lit­tle hon­ey to help you unwind.
Vata is increased by astrin­gent, bit­ter and spicy aro­mas, so it’s best to avoid raw fruit and veg­eta­bles, dry mues­li, chick­peas, peas, pop­corn, caf­feine and sand­wich­es. Min­imise your intake of dry, raw and cold meals. It’s impor­tant to avoid cold food and drink dur­ing the cold­er months in particular.
The dry­ing nature of Vata dries out the skin – so ground your­self with a dai­ly self-mas­sage using warm sesame oil.
Always mas­sage your stom­ach in a clock­wise direc­tion – up the right side and down the left. Leave the oil for 10 min­utes, then take a show­er or bath. A dai­ly mas­sage with a body brush also helps to expand the sur­face of the skin, remove clear tox­ins and sup­port lym­phat­ic action.

Make sure that you eat reg­u­lar meals, with the main meal at lunchtime and a lighter meal in the evening. Try to wake up ear­ly and estab­lish a reg­u­lar sleep­ing pat­tern. This is also a good time to intro­duce reg­u­lar­i­ty to your work­place by tak­ing breaks at reg­u­lar intervals.
Increase the peace in your day and take more time to devel­op your inner con­nec­tions. Vata is also aggra­vat­ed by feel­ings of fear and uncer­tain­ty, so take some time for yourself.
For exam­ple, you could go for a walk, prac­tise calm­ing yoga, med­i­tate, cook, write, paint …