Saturday, September 5, 2020

Ayurveda and Preparing for Fall

In Florida today, with some of the hottest temperatures we've seen all summer, it's hard to imagine that Labor Day marks the transition from summer to fall. In Ayurveda, though, we think ahead and prepare for what's next.

Labor Day marks the transition from summer to fall. After summer breaks and vacations, not only do we shift our wardrobe, we shift our routine back to school, back to work, back to being busy and achieving our goals. 

Autumn is also a season of festivals and a time when we give thanks for the abundance of our harvest, and also when the atmosphere gets cold, dry, rough, light and variable and people with an abundance of Vata dosha constitution (composed primarily of ether and air), can have imbalances such as more frequent constipation, gas, bloating, insomnia, anxiety, and other conditions of dryness and of the nervous system, including creaking, cracking joints, spaciness and nervousness. 

The best remedy is to adjust lifestyle and diet to be warm, moist and soothing, and include internal oleation and digestive stimulation with the Ayurvedic style of cooking that utilizes ghee and spices and incorporating fresh ginger and root vegetables, while avoiding cold, dry, light and rough foods. 

External oleation can include a full body massage with warm oil (Abhyanga) and Nasya/SANS; sinus treatment that includes specific oil applications in the nose to balance vata and prana, build immunity and prevent colds and infections. 

Movement and Yoga practice should slow down and focus on grounding and stabilizing aspects of poses, incorporating forward bends, standing and belly down positions, with slow movement from one pose to the next, coordinated with steady even breathing, and a focus on steadiness, grounding and remaining relaxed, and choosing nurturing environments and activities. 

For more serious vata imbalances contact me for a personal Ayurvedic Health Consultation. Currently available live online with zoom. 

I also can answer questions in our ask Chaya column in our blog that I will share in future newsletters.

 Below is a signature fall dish that everyone can enjoy. 

Yellow Mung Dahl Soup (can also use red lentils, see notes below)


  • 1 cup yellow mung dahl
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups vata pacifying chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons ghee (sunflower or coconut oil may be substituted for vegan diets, though will not have the same therapeutic effects as ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds-(omit for pitta people, people with heat, inflammation, ulcer)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch asefoitida (hing)
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 5 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon  
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Wash the mung dahl twice and soak it if for a few hours for better digestibility the rinse it.
  • Put the mung dal and 3 cups of the water into a soup pot and bring to a boil.
  • Cook on medium heat for 25 minutes, uncovered, discarding the foam and stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Add the last 3 cups of the water and vegetables and simmer for another 20 minutes, covered.
  • Stir until smooth, the lentils will dissolve.
  • Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan until medium hot and add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and hing. Stir until the seeds pop.
  • Turn down the heat and add the curry leaves, cilantro, turmeric cardamom and cinnamon and black pepper and fresh ginger and stir and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add to the soup, stir and bring to a boil.
  • Add salt and chopped cilantro.
  • Boil for 1-2 more minutes and serve.

 This is great served with basmati rice.

Yellow mung dahl is sweet and cooling and mainly calms vata and pitta, though it is good for all doshas. It is very easy to digest and promotes strength. Red lentils can be substituted for the yellow mung dahl, since the spices in the soup make it balancing for pitta dosha, who should omit the garlic). Red lentils are a good source of iron, are a good blood builder and liver cleanser.

 The seasonings help to balance the drying, light and astringent qualities of the soup that could aggravate vata.

Split Yellow Mung Dal Soup

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