3 Ayurvedic Self-Care Rituals for Autumn
Fall is the season for slowing down, becoming more mindful, taking time for self-reflection, and giving yourself a whole lot of self-care. The tradition of Ayurveda is chalk full of tips and tricks for taking care of yourself in profoundly nurturing ways.
We so often forget how essential it is to take care of ourselves, when we’re taught that we’re supposed to always be working, doing, and taking care of others. While serving others is part of a good human life, just as important, if not more important, is the ability to take care of oneself first. Because as they say, you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on before putting it on someone else. Bottom line: the truth about self-care is that it’s not selfish at all. In this spirit, let’s take a look at 4 simple ways you can upgrade your techniques of self-care to really cozy in for the Autumn season and gear up for winter.
1. Warming foot soak
Our feet do so much for us, but how much do we really do for them? There’s a whole lot more going on with our feet than meets the eye. And speaking of eyes, according to the Ashtanga Hridaya, a classical Ayurvedic text, there are four nerves in the feet that are connected to the eyes. So, if you strain your eyes while sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time, as most of us do, a nice, gentle foot soak followed by a little foot massage actually helps relieve eye strain.
For a warming autumn foot soak, fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and add in 1-2 teaspoons of dried, ground ginger. Stir the ginger into the water and then place your feet in the bath for a five-minute soak. Close your eyes as you do this and take several slow, deep breaths. Imagine any tension you might be holding onto gently drift away, like clouds passing through the sky. When you’re finished with your soak, dry your feet with a towel and apply a bit of sesame oil to them. Now give them a good rub all over. You may even want to give your feet a little blessing for good measure.
2. Enjoy the nourishing foods of autumn.
Ayurveda is steeped in seasonal eating and living habits. During this season, nature offers up a bounty of nourishing foods that do much to take care of our bodies, minds and spirits. Shop locally when you can and stock up on root vegetables like turnips, beets, parsnips and carrots. Cook them in healthy fats like grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil and coconut oil. Add in warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make soups and stews and dishes that feel truly comforting. You may notice that you’re hungrier during the colder seasons, which is totally natural. Don’t feel bad about that, just fill up on good, wholesome foods.
3. Treat yourself to abhyanga massage each morning
The self-care ritual of abhyanga is especially important in the cooler months as it helps to balance our nervous systems, lubricate our joints and muscles, and aid in the prevention of psychological imbalances. Fall is vata season and vata is prone to nervousness and dry skin and cracking joints when out of balance. Don’t we all seem to feel a bit off psychologically-speaking once the days lose their length and the sun dims its light? If you don’t already have this Ayurvedic self-massage ritual in your self-care routine, now is the perfect time to start.