Summer to Fall: Transitioning Through the Seasons
Nature is the ultimate healer. Aligning ourselves to the rhythms of nature's cycles through diet and lifestyle can provide the perfect foundation for balance and health.
According to the ancient ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita,
For this reason, it is critical to pay close attention to your body during these periods. Whether or not you have excessively indulged in spicy salsas, barbeques, and sunshine this summer, now is the time to cleanse our bodies of the accumulated heat of pitta dosha so that we may transition gently into autumn with a sense of calm.
Seasonal foods, herbs, and simple yoga postures can help to eliminate excess pitta from the system. Choosing the right fresh seasonal foods at this time can help to improve the flow of the body's natural cleansing cycle. Fresh apples, pears and prunes that are pre-soaked in water are especially balancing. Cleansing grains to include are barley, basmati rice, quinoa, and millet. Steamed greens and root vegetables are nourishing and help to ease the body into early fall, when the cool, dry vata wind begins to blow. The liver and gallbladder are the organs associated with pitta dosha. Toxins can accumulate and be stored here, impairing proper function of these organs.
Here is a gentle liver flush that can help to restore and rejuvenate liver and gallbladder functions:
Drink this remedy first thing in the morning. Do not eat breakfast for at least two hours afterwards. A pinch of cayenne can be added for excess kapha conditions and to burn ama. The astringent quality of the lemon clears toxins from the deep tissues and organs, while the oil lubricates to loosen and eliminate. This can be taken for 1-3 consecutive days. Ideally, it should be followed by tea of coriander, cumin, fennel and licorice taken throughout the day.
Herbs to cleanse the liver are generally bitter. Aloe gel can be taken once or twice daily, before or after meals, to help cleanse excess pitta from the liver. Turmeric clears liver of obstructions encouraging healthy energy flow. Brahmi calms both the liver and the mind. Liver Formula is a unique combination of guduchi, bhumyamalaki, kutki and many other herbs to help support proper function of the liver while promoting healthy digestion and the elimination of toxins. It is a gentle way to give your liver an extra cleansing boost during this transitional time. Moving into vata season, it is wise to include Triphala in your herbal regime. The large intestine, main site of vata, will be thankful for the attention to elimination and tonification.
Modify your yoga routine this season to include one seated twist, such as Marichyasana, to give the liver and spleen a little squeeze and encourage release of toxins. Trikonasana or Triangle is the ultimate pose for tonifying the torso and is balancing for all doshas. A perfect restorative pose is to lay on your left side over a bolster positioned mid-body under your lower ribs. Extend both arms overhead so the left arm is on the floor, and the right rests on top of the left. Cultivate deep abdominal breathing and focus on moving the breath downward and opening the right side of the body. Relax and enjoy. Then, switch sides. Spleen and liver love this restful posture.
Our bodies live in dynamic relation to our natural environment. Regular cleansing with the seasonal change honors this relationship and keeps things running smoothly. Just as the earth destroys, cleanses and rebuilds throughout the year with the shifting seasons, our bodies establish balance through tuning in to the rise and fall of nature's cycles.
Note: Please check your local organic fresh foods market for aloe gel.
This is a guest post written by Shannon Mooney, Author and Graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute.