SUMMER TO FALL PRACTICES FOR WELL BEING
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
An early morning stroll, a cool breeze, and a chill bump is the first call from my long lost Autumn, as she lets me know in whispers that she is well on her way. I can’t wait! She is always my favorite guest. Bring on the rich colorful root vegetables. Orange, burgundy, red, yellow, purple are the bold colors that she adorns. My favorite apples from my beloved Fuhrmann’s Orchard, my antique crazy quilt and scented sweetly candles in the evenings. Danish ‘Hygge’ at its finest. Pumpkin spice and everything nice.
Summer has been my favorite season since I was a child, but the older that I get the more that I crave Fall. Maybe because in the age of life, I’ve arrived at Autumn in my near fifty years, or maybe its because Ive learned to love myself enough to get the full joy out of fall. Maybe it’s because I live in the moment now and do not yearn for somewhere else. I do not get sad with thoughts of winter. Fall is for inward bliss and joy. I pull out an afghan and lay on my bed. I alternate my summer dresses for cozy sweaters. Faux fur boots prance out of my closet and in go the strappy sandals. My calendar begins to fill up with days planned for baking and making ghee. I soak a pot of white northern beans for my first pot of bean soup, dreaming up some cajun spices for it.
The fire of summer shows, in the honey bees that take the sweetness from passion flowers and roses. Bold red, pink and purple sunsets flash our evening sky and the vibrant sun that greet us with its intensity everyday. In a few weeks, the last spark of fire will make its way out through our trees into the leaves in ‘sayonara’ splendor.
Subtle, erratic and clear as the season of Vata dosha breathes upon us. Autumn brings
with it the vital breath. Prana, or air becomes abundant in cool, dry winds. The four essential practices to stay grounded during this time, are Routine, Tranquility Nourishment and Warmth. There are many ways through Ayurveda to incorporate these components into your lifestyle to transition in the most joyful way possible in this bold and vibrant season !
Routine. Routine is important in very season. But in some season, we can enjoy more spontaneity. In Autumn, it is important to invoke stability to reduce the symptom of anxiety. Anxiety runs high in the fall due to the dry atmosphere. The dryness raises the vibration of anxiety on a cellular level. In bringing this vibration in, it is a grand time for art and creativity but a challenging time in keeping nervousness and anxiety down. Warm herbal teas at tea time is great for this time of the year. Set your clock to 2:00 tea time which takes us into vata time when anxiety can be the highest during the day. Marshmallow and Licorice are both excellent for this time of the year. Marshmallow is balancing and licorice is good for adrenals and the endocrine system. Chamomile is mild and nice in the evenings with some maple syrup and a slice of lime. Jasmine is very bitter and rich but an excellent evening tea if you enjoy this bolder taste. Jasmine is also an excellent self care tea that can be calming. A natural antioxidant which also promotes both heart health and brain function. Skullcap is good for reducing stress and jitteriness. Tea making as part of your routine can invoke harmony as well in your life. The ritual itself is ‘being’ provoking. Tulsi is an immune boosting herb and a revered Indian Herb the has been used for 5000 years. It is an essential in my apothecary. Excellent as well for anxiety. As we move into the time changes, try to get your morning routine 15 minutes earlier each week so when the time does change, we do not lose an hour and we acclimate easily to this time change. Early wake up time is essential during this time of the year. Early to bed. There is nothing more powerful than a healthy sleep schedule. Waking in alignment with the circadian rhythms allows for more energy throughout the day. Falling asleep by 10:30 allows for optimum healing for our digestive system. A gentle exercise routine that includes a calm, stretch-focused form of yoga, or a hike in the woods or a walk around town. I enjoy a morning Vinyasa in the fall that is grounding. Longer holds on poses that incorporate both feet on the ground are great for Autumn. Sun salutations keep the fires burning without bringing about high vibrations that can encourage anxiety during dryer weather. A vibrant practice before ten am can give us energy all day. During this time, we have dry skin and the best way to combat this is exfoliation during the autumn. I love to begin raising my weekly dry brushes. Many studies show that the dry brushing is tied to our parasympathetic nervous system so this is a great way to not only get rid of the dry skin that accumulates but to also calm us down. Dry brushing is also anti aging. Such a nourishing way to keep your skin vibrant and glowing. Warm Abhyanga massage can keep the cold out of the joints that creeps in. Warm sesame oils or sunflower oil is nice to self massage with this time of the year with added essential oils like jasmine or lavender is nice. I begin to get my first feeling of fall in the joints by the last week of August. CBD is a wonderful plant medicine that keeps inflammation down in the body. It has been life changing for me to not feel arthritis this time of the year. As the weather changes outside, that cold moves into our body. Our bodies are just a smaller micro picture of Mother Nature’s macro picture. This is why many of us can begin to feel our arthritis making its arrival back in the mornings with the chillier weather. It is important to get our warmth back into our bodies to diminish cold crackly dry joints. It’s important to keep the suppleness of oils in the joints, tissues and fascia. Not only the cold creeping into the joint but also this weather change weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to colds and flus. Warm yourself with an evening bath routine using rose geranium or lavender. Put the heating blanket on the bed or cozy fuzzy blankets. Warm socks and sweaters as the first chill hits your system. Begin to add warm spices in soups and curries to bring warmth into the body. Add warmth through nutrition. Warm evenings teas in leu of iced tea in your favorite teacups or coffee mugs. Also Deepak Chopra recommends sipping warm water or herbal tea throughout the day to take warmth throughout the body, and also to break up the dryness of vata. I like a warm soy milk spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg for this time of year. Add a spoon of honey for sweetness. Warming spices like black pepper, cumin, ginger is nice for this time of the year. If you drink cows milk, injesting it with spices will allow it to digest easier. This is the time of the year to avoid cold, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. I begin to replace my summer Mocktails and fizzy drinks with my warm teas now. This is the time that we move to warm stews and curries instead of the cold raw veggies of summer with dips and such, especially in the morning and evenings when our digestive fires are down. Hard alcohol can be even more drying to your system so hard alcohol should be avoided this time of the year.
Tranquility. Be gentle with yourself. Become a master in the art of gentle discipline. Get out of the grind and experience ease. Sweet walks in the forest, or creeks and river. Water is always calming. If you live in the city, walk with comforting music and experience the rhythm of urban life. There is something comforting to me when I walk around town without judgment or thought and watch day to day life of people. I adore experiencing these vibes. Its day and night to walking in nature, but both can be super healing if you can walk in nature or action without getting involved with your thoughts. The Danes have a word called Hygge. This word means anything that brings you ease, peace, joy. This is the time of the year that I begin lighting a candle every morning. I get out my comforting blankets, my favorite tea cup, I set the atmosphere of nourishment in my home. I take more time for myself. I begin the habits of my trek inward. I allow myself to begin to let go of the outward vibrance of summer. I believe this is an important time for your home yoga practice. Especially with flu season around the corner and many gyms closed, it’s important that we put joy into our routine. Set the pace and set the space for your practice. 15 minutes a day of Vinyasa can change the entire dynamic of your day and mindset. Pick a good spiritual read, or maybe a thriller fiction, but pick a satisfying autumn read. Just because we can’t be outside as much doesn’t mean that we can have just as much action this time of the year. This is the time to learn and adore knowledge. I like to keep a list of my favorite books on my time line. For years I had a book club that was quite lovely. Playing music in your space instead of blaring the tv with those horrid loud commercials is sooooo sweet. It creates an atmosphere of serenity in your space. On Spotify I love Vinyasa Flow and Workday Lounge. Or if I’m trying to quiet the mind for meditation, Tibetan singing bowls will really get me in the zone. Also if anyone is on Spotify, feel free to follow me. I have created over three hundred playlists for Yoga, Massage, or atmosphere. I like to keep things positive these days but I can’t stress enough on eliminating toxicity from your life. Think of your life as a container. Imagine all of the beauty, art, self care, and love that you want to have in your life. Now imagine the space that is in that container. What are you holding in there and what should you eliminate to reach the goals of the beautiful life that you want. Now imagine the toxicity in that container and how much energy and time that toxicity takes. Begin to carve this out to create space for all of the love that you want in your life. And be kind in action as you eliminate toxicity. Sometimes if we must eliminate people out of our life, it’s best to do it slowly and with action instead of words. There is always a way to change your life with kindness.
Nourishment. Begin to think in terms of sweet, sour, salty. This is why Autumn is my favorite time of the year for eating! A baker’s dream so to speak. I recently gave a jar of frozen Persimmons from last year to my favorite baker in hopes that she will bring me some of her marvelous breads. In Ayurveda, adding plant based sugars and fruits into our baking is good for us this time of the year. It not only gives us much needed nourishment, but comfort as well. Let your bananas get those brown spots on them during this time to take the astringent out. Add them in your baking or make a grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich using ghee on some hearty Ezekiel bread for dinner. Drink with a glass of cold cashew milk, This is true comfort to me. Have a warm nut milk spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Add turmeric to a glass of organic milk with cinnamon and honey, if you have inflammation. Warm milk and curry stews are a great way to get warmth into the joints. Light up the crockpot! I recently made a pot of White Northern Beans that was scrumptious. There was a couple of nights i enjoyed the beans with basmati rice and other nights I made bean burritos with them. I soak the beans for a couple of hours before adding into my crockpot. Add some spices that combine to create a cajun style blend,. Bay leaves, thyme, oregano, some roasted tomatoes, one green tomato, one tablespoon of soy sauce, onion, garlic, some black salt and pepper, one green pepper out of my garden. Add a generous amount of high quality oils or ghee into your diet. Oils are good for keeping the dryness out of the bones. Routine times for eating is important and allowing lunch to be your largest meal is easiest on the digestive system. Enjoy making your meal time an event! Avoid bitter, astringent and pungent this time of the year. Dry foods should be avoided till past the Fall. Processed foods, carbonated drinks and too much raw should be saved for another season. This is the time for nourishment. This is the time to add a Hot Yoga session into your arsenal. Also slow and steady paced Yoga is better than high cardio Vinyasa, especially if you are someone who feels anxiety during this time. Longer pose holds and grounding poses are for the best. If insomnia is a problem, night time Vinyasa should be encouraged or a seated practice and deep stretches on the mat. Keeping both feet on the ground. Sun salutations can always be nourishing. I practice seven sun salutations every evening this time of the year to work myself into Kapha time. It keeps me slow and steady in my evening while allowing me to get a good practice in as we go deeper into the months of winter and I am not outside as much. Flexion and extension of the joints during practice is important to keep circulation going and it also gives homage to our lymphatic system. Also circumduction of the wrists and ankles is essential. Take time for a long Savasana before saying thanks for your practice. Evening prayer should be done in silence. Turn off the tv and go to your quiet space for this sacred time. Focus deeply on your breathing and notice the energy centers in the front of your body. Can you feel your heart rhythm. Is there pressure or discomfort there. Can you breathe through this. Are you feeling a little nausea or discomfort in the lower belly. Can you shine your awareness on these areas and breathe through them to soften the discomfort? This is a powerful way to begin to work through your own emotions. Autumn practices allow for so much healing. As important as nourishment is for this time, detox is just as important to keep our immunity at optimum levels. Eat an abundance of fruit and enjoy a day of fruit fasting or smoothies and juicing. Much more can be found in the spirit of juicing, fasting, and smoothie making by contacting me for a Treatment Plan to fit your needs.
Warmth. Warmth is mentioned throughout all three of the above practices for Autumn because it is super important for this time of the year! If we are cold, it diminishes our Agni or fire which we need for every system of the body to run correctly. If our Agni is down, we can become constipated. Our circulation slows down. We can lose energy. This is an excellent time to enjoy a sauna if you have access, or get your hot tub ready. Hot evening baths, heating blankets, light up the fireplace. Think in terms of coze, ease, comfort. Warm fuzzy socks and your flannel night clothes. We can also ingest warmth with our spices, as we should ! I begin to lighten up on the cold mocktails and have my teapot ready to roll. My last blog is all about the teas. There is a world of information in that blog. Also remember that you can really begin to enjoy honey now. Honey aids in transitioning into colder weather. It is one of nature’s medicines in lowering the mucous in the body. Honey is a fire energy. I like to drink warm teas throughout day in the autumn. Read my Tea blog and pick your favorites. I love my bolder teas like Jasmine and a Reiki Blend that I buy from Elmwood Inn. Two new teas that Ive added to my Apothecary is Yellow Dock Root and a friend gifted me some Dandelion Tea to try. Tea is much like Yoga in practice, because we NEVER STOP LEARNING. My tea practice grows stronger every season. I like to say, the more trips to your tea cabinet, the less trips to the pharmacy! Also remember that during this time of the year, practices can be for warming the body on a physical level, but experiences are for warming the heart. Have friends over on the next full Moon, (which is coming up next week) and make some ghee and a good curry together! Sundays in the Fall for me are for a deep restorative yoga practice and baking! I love making my own Naan bread with Garam Masala and sharing with friends. Plan some evenings that are nourishing to the soul with family and friends. Take CARE of each other during this time. Make a crockpot Chai. I keep the spices of Chai all in a cheesecloth tied up and drop into some nut milk at least twice during fall. You can store the leftover and replace instead of coffee if you like. Bring Ritual strongly into your life in the fall. Enjoy Ceremony. Prayer circles. GATHERINGS. Spread the love. And during this time of social distance, we most definitely need our inner and sacred circles of tribe. We can still have just as much love in our life with our dearest and nearest.
Remember this. Wellbeing is the cornerstone of health. And in a busy
and worrisome world, it takes practice. We do this work because we are
worth it. Why not follow the Danish example and bring more Hygge into
your daily life? This is the time to begin heading inward once again.
Ayurveda considers these rituals more important for our well being
than anything else that we do.
As always, shine the light into ALL of your dark corners, and remember
this seasons always reminds us to come back to the self love.
Namaste, my friends.