Autumn is a season of transition, perfect for a gentle detox to reset body and mind and prime your system for winter wellness.
The view in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of medicine, is that all of nature—including us—is bound by the relationships among the three doshas, or primal energies.
Vata dosha is associated with the elements air and ether; it governs creativity and change, and tends to grow stronger and then weaker again. Pitta dosha ios governed by fire and water, it is the energy of transformation, achievement, and metabolism. Kapha dosha is associated with earth and water; it suggests groundedness, stability, and growth.
We each have a mix of the three doshas, although we tend to be dominated by one at any given time. The seasons are also governed by doshas.
In Ayurveda, likes throw us out of balance while opposites bring us into balance. Therefore, if Autumn is represented by Vata Dosha (air and ether) then the qualities of Kapha (earth and water) will bring us into balance.
Why detox in Autumn?
According to Ayurveda, Summer is represented by Pitta Dosha (fire and water element) while Autumn is represented by Vata Dosha (air and ether element dominant time of season). You can see that in the Fall, the air is cooler and much drier, lightness brings winds and leaves start to fall from trees and change colors. Many times these transitions between seasons make us more susceptible to illness or dis-ease.
How can a seasonal detox help? In Eastern medicine prevention is key to good health. Ayurveda teaches us that these transitional periods between seasons is one of the best times to detox (Summer to Autumn and Winter to Spring is best). It’s the best way to clear any excess heat from the summer and to assist the body in the natural detoxification process that is already occurring. Cleansing also allows the body to rest and reset itself, a great way to implement new eating or dietary habits or patterns.
Signs of Toxicity:
- You have gained weight and it’s not going away
High body toxins slow metabolism, leading to weight gain. Struggling to manage the high toxin content and prevent the toxins from reaching vital organs, the body expands fat cells to absorb some of the toxic load. Once created, these fat cells are very difficult to eliminate. If you find that even if with careful attention to your food quality and intake, the fat stays on, this is a warning sign your body needs deeper cleansing to trim and purify.
- You feel generally tired or fatigued
In the morning, you drag yourself out of bed no matter how many hours you have slept you don’t feel like you’ve had enough. By evening, you feel exhausted and depleted.
- You have aches and pains in your muscles
If you can’t tie these to your workout yesterday, could be that the toxins in your life are working away at your muscles and joints. This is more likely if you experience muscle aches on a regular basis.
- You have cravings
Most people never experience the healthy sensation of feeling hungry. In fact, most desire to avoid it. Feeling hungry is actually a wonderful guide that your digestive fire (Agni) is healthy and working. When we eat out of true hunger, food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again. When you feel fatigued how do you cope? If your answer is “more coffee” or “sweet foods”, you can bet that you’re only making the problem worse.
- Your bowel movements aren’t right
Sometimes constipated, sometimes bloated, sometimes too loose. You feel that whatever you eat you are always at risk of indigestion. Increasing the fibre in your food and water intake is generally beneficial, but also keep in mind that the bowels need seasonal detox.
- You don’t feel good emotionally
The fatigue, the lethargy, the possible insomnia – it all adds up and affects your mental and emotional state as well. Do you find it difficult to focus at work? Do you feel ‘low’ even when there is no obvious cause? Easily depressed, perhaps anxious, nervous or insecure or moody? Cleansing could help get you back in the groove!
If any of the above describe your condition, your body is telling you it needs to detox. The Autumn cleansing period is most important to prepare you for the winter ahead.