Do you notice certain imbalances tend to reoccur during the transitional season of fall? Perhaps you begin to feel dull and lethargic, have aches and pains, allergies, or weight changes each year. Some people experience more anxious feelings, trouble sleeping and changes in appetite and digestion. Fall is just around the corner with nagging reminders to “fall back.” This is our cue to tune in to the season’s elements for a gentle fall cleanse and immunity boost.
Ayurveda and seasonal health protocol
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old natural life science that focuses on preservation of health and disease prevention. Being in harmony with nature and honoring seasonal routines is recognized as key to good health. Ayurveda attends to your unique needs with individualized protocols based on your body constitution (Prakriti) and imbalances or (Vikrati). It aligns with the rhythms of nature; daily (circadian) rhythms or Dinacharya, seasonal rhythms or Ritucharya and the stages of life.
As summer gives way to fall, many of us are prone to allergies, colds, viral fever and flu. Keeping our immunity strong is of paramount importance for overall health. The transitions of spring and fall are considered by Ayurveda to be an ideal, therapeutic time for a seasonal cleanse.
Vyadhishamatwam or immunity in Ayurveda is an all-encompassing concept, it is defined as the ability to resist all diseases and recover faster if we fall sick. Ayurveda classifies immunity as Sahaja (genetic), Kalaja (dependent on seasonal variations and age, which explains progressive depletion during summer or with age) and Yuktikrutha (acquired) immunity.
Kaale samshodhana or seasonal purification is advocated to boost acquired immunity. While detoxing has become very popular, it is important to note that detoxes are inherently depleting; which is why Ayurveda cleanses always have a vital component of rejuvenation. Additionally, fall is Vata season (governed by the principals of air and ether elements, or Vata Dosha) and Vata imbalances are inherently degenerating; any cleanse at this time must focus on replenishment. A fall Ayurvedic detox is a mild cleanse with focus on rejuvenation or Rasayana*, another significant way to boost Yuktikrutha immunity.
Fall imbalances and reduced immunity
Our bodies naturally heal and cleanse on their own, but environmental factors, pollution, preservatives, contamination in food and our diet and lifestyle can compromise this process and impact health.
Generally, Vata goes out of balance during autumn. The nature of Vata is cold, dry, light, irregular, subtle, rough, and mobile and that’s what fall looks like in nature and in our mind-body complex!
Vata imbalances can cause:
- Poor circulation
- Feeling constantly cold
- Aches and pains
- Constipation, bloating
- Restlessness, reduced focus, anxiety and sleep issues
- Reduced immunity
Residual Pitta from the summer can cause inflammation and may need to be flushed out. A combined Vata–Pitta imbalance causes mental and physical burnout akin to a forest fire.
Let’s examine this natural phenomenon. Late winter and spring are Kapha seasons. As snow melts or it warms up, this is the highest time for clogging so cleansing is the chief protocol in spring. In summer it gets warmer, clogging reduces and by the end of the season dryness and dehydration aggravate. It gets chilly, summer has ushered in dryness and the expression of fall in nature is roughness and degeneration. An Ayurvedic fall cleanse prevents imbalances, replenishes and restores immunity at this time.
Why cleanse and rejuvenate?
Ayurveda offers general seasonal guidelines for balancing the Tridoshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. You receive specific guidelines for your own Doshic makeup during an Ayurvedic consultation, which also takes into account your imbalances. Seasons offer another, more general layer of protocol, as the environment naturally increases and decreases Doshas universally for anyone subjected to similar conditions..
So why is a Vata-pacifying regimen with nutrition and lifestyle guidelines not enough in fall? Or a palliative approach (called Shamana) with herbs and a Vata-pacifying protocol?
Buildup of Toxins or Ama
However much we try to avoid them, environmental toxins are pervasive and we ingest these through our diet or skin; EPA has even found trace chemicals and illegal drugs in drinking water. Even with a clean diet and good lifestyle, endogenous and psychological toxins creep in over time. These can lead to disturbances in Agni (digestive and metabolic fire) and the buildup of toxins or Ama which is the root cause of diseases according to Ayurveda. Vaidya. Jayarajan Kodikannath, Chief Ayurvedic Consultant of Kerala Ayurveda USA explains, “Cleansing helps us with a holistic detox and in Ayurveda we define toxins comprehensively as any material, energy or principal that disturbs our normal mind-body system; from chronic constipation, to unpalatable emotions to harsh chemicals in the environment.”
The root Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita expands on the importance of cleansing,
Doshah Kadachith Kupyati Jitaa Langhana Pachanaih |
Jitaah Samsodhanardhe Tu Na Tesham Punarudbhavaha ||
Imbalances in our mind-body system can be managed to some extent by diet, lifestyle and herbs but if the system is reset through periodic cleansing, it can preserve health, manage deeper imbalances and prevent future problems.
Chronic Ailments and Immunity
Why focus on prevention? Prevention arrests the journey to future and chronic ailments. Take the example of dosha imbalances leading to frequent colds or allergies to chronic asthma and sinus infections. According to CDC1, 60% of Americans adults have chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, lung, kidney and cardiovascular disorders. 4 in 10 have two or more and this is the leading cause of death and disability in our country. Chronic ailments are linked to lowered immunity and classified as pre-existing conditions or comorbidities that make one vulnerable to other diseases. Ayurveda’s strength is in managing chronic ailments. There are numerous studies2 on how Shodhana or cleansing therapies (like Panchakarma) help in such conditions.
Benefits of seasonal fall cleansing and rejuvenating
Kerala Ayurveda Wellness Center offers a traditional, Ayurvedic Fall Rejuvenation, formatted to suit modern lifestyles. To call it “Personalized” and “Ayurvedic” is actually redundant, because technically, Ayurveda is always customized! This program has all the science and benefit of a traditional cleanse, yet is accessible to you right from home.
Benefits of a Traditional Fall Rejuvenation
- Improves health, wellbeing and bolsters immunity
- Clears environmental and endogenous toxins (Ama)
- Resets digestive and metabolic fire (Agni)
- Aids elimination
- Helps with sleep
- Improves mental clarity and energy levels
- Helps with skin and hair health
- Helps in weight management
- Rejuvenates weak systems
- Helps us stay emotionally strong
- Helps in preventing seasonal allergies, colds and flus
- Helps with self-care – unwinding, unplugging and attending to yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity (at this time more than any other!)
Unique features of our traditional Ayurvedic Cleanse
- The Ayurvedic cleanse is online, personalized, natural and completely supervised by Ayurvedic BAMS Doctors. We make sure there are no contraindications during the intake.
- There are three stages involved; preparation (Purvakarma), the actual (active) cleansing procedure (Pradhankarma) and rejuvenation (Rasayana).
- This is a holistic detox and attends to all aspects of health; nutrition, lifestyle, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.
- The protocol involves powerful therapeutic processes and individualized herbs with the objective of prevention, imbalance management and enhancing strength and immunity.
- Counseling provides awareness about your body constitution and tendencies to effect long term changes in health.
The 2016 Nobel Prize3 for autophagy corroborated the practice of fasting, detoxing and exercise to prevent degeneration. Extreme cleanses may be beneficial for some time, but over time can cause digestive disturbances, compromised immunity, muscular weaknesses and actually lead to degeneration. Raw, cold food and juicing can further aggravate Vata in the fall. Our holistic detox isn’t an extreme or quick-fix cleanse, diet or herbal regimen but a benign therapeutic intervention backed by 5,000 years of Ayurveda. At Kerala Ayurveda, we tap into this deep tradition with modern advances and research to bring you the best of both worlds.
What to expect during our Fall Rejuvenation
Our Fall Rejuvenation is supervised by Ayurvedic BAMS Doctors, and you are part of a group. This provides structure and motivation, as well as the personalized protocol for your unique needs – determined in an initial consultation.
We work to strengthen your Agni, clear Ama, followed by oleation through internal administration of Ayurvedic ghee. After optimal oleation there is external oleation and sudation with herbs. These processes facilitate easy removal of unwanted toxins through gentle therapeutic purgation or a mild Virechana. The objective is to lubricate, saturate, dilate channels and eliminate toxins followed by Rasayana. This phase involves wholesome food and herbs to nourish and repair weak Srotas or channels and enhance immunity.
The program is designed to hold your hand throughout this process with direct support from our team, as well as a variety of resource material: a PDF manual guide, recipes and nutritional guidelines, a customized herbal protocol for you with products shipped to your door, as well as live informational webinars to interact with your fellow cleansers and ask questions. We end with a follow up consultation and advice on ongoing maintenance.
Our Fall Ayurvedic Rejuvenation will help you eliminate toxins, replenish, minimize imbalances and seasonal allergies, improve immunity and help prevent diseases. Healing is a lifelong journey; cleansing makes you self-aware, resets this intention and aids the process.
Autumn evokes an image of vivid colors, trees shedding old leaves and nature resting and retreating; it is a time to relax, de-stress, let go and heal! In the words of Bonaro W. Overstreet, American writer and psychologist:
Autumn asks that we prepare for the future —that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.
Letting go signals a call to cleanse, replenish and emerge renewed! Cleansing is also a way to boost immunity and practice self-compassion in what has been a tough year. Wishing everyone everywhere wellness and healing as we go into fall.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Learn more about the program
Visit the Fall Rejuvenation program page to learn more and watch our informational webinar.