As fall approaches, we may begin to notice subtle shifts in routines and preferences. I invite you to observe and honor these changes as our bodies were designed to work in harmony with nature’s cycles. Tailored and seasonal self-care is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to ourselves and to those around us as it allows body, mind and spirit to fully integrate and interact more intimately with both our inner and outer worlds.
Ayurveda, the 5000-year old holistic healing system and sister science to yoga, teaches us that each seasonal transition also means shifting what we eat, how we move and how we practice self-care so that our bodies can most optimally integrate and function from a highly supported level.
Ayurvedically speaking, in late fall, we move out of hot, fiery Pitta season into cool, airy Vata season. Vata energy is high and quick-moving so during this time, it’s recommended that we keep ourselves grounded with warm liquids, earthy foods and spices, nourishing movement and predictable routines.
Fall brings lots of nice change into our lives – cooler temperatures and less humidity, turning leaves and windy days to name a few. Much like the world around us changes with the seasons, these shifts can also manifest changes within our physical body. Some signs of a Vata imbalance (too much air energy) are dry skin, increased anxiety, constipation, insomnia, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, stiff joints, cold intolerance and feelings of restlessness.
Spice It Up
Living optimally during Vata season means incorporating more earthy foods and spices into our diet such as sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, avocado, apples, pears, quinoa, almonds, rice, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom and clove. Check my Pinterest boards for several Vata-friendly, delectable autumnal recipes! Drinking plenty of warm liquids will also help promote healthy digestion as icy drinks snuff out the digestive fire. Adding a bit of Golden Milk spice to mylks or hot teas is a great way to support digestion and makes a delicious fall treat.
Having a predictable routine is an excellent way to provide a sense of grounding and can help minimize anxiety. Check out out my blog post here for some ideas to help you get started creating a customized routine. Some people are not designed to get up and do the same things at the same time every single day - forcing them into this box actually pulls them out of their power. If you are one of these people, please definitely honor that and don't start your mornings with a lot of resistance to things you think you "should" be doing. Instead, just create some spaciousness for yourself. Check in with yourself and do something that feels good and right for you in the moment. Maybe it's getting up and going on a walk or reading a few pages in a book or going to a yoga class or having your coffee outside. Honoring your soul's cravings in this way will actually enhance your strength and productivity.
Sleep also becomes a priority during this time of year as Vata season may create nervous energy which can lead to racing thoughts and overthinking. For sounder sleep, consider moving an aloe vera plant into your bedroom, shutting off all devices one hour before bed, diffusing an essential oil blend that will calm the nervous system (I like lavender, sandalwood and vanilla), taking a supplement such as magnesium to help the body relax, or working with a nervous system soothing tonic such as lemon balm. Warm baths with epsom salts and essential oils can relax the physical body and soothe the limbic system which can help quiet the fight or flight response.
Skin is In
With drier air also comes drier skin - you can help combat this by making your own luxurious body oils and performing Abyhanga, or self-massage, at home. To learn more about this beautiful practice and all of its benefits, read my blog post here. I use these massage oils and add my own essential oils to them. For fall, I will use clove, blood orange, myrrh, sandalwood, vanilla and cinnamon oils for their grounding, comforting and soothing properties.
Clean It Up
Traditionally in cultures around the world, the changing of seasons marks a time to fast and cleanse to help the body move more easily through energetic shifts and to clear out any residual stagnation or accumulation from the previous season.
I performed my first kitchari cleanse this spring and experienced profound results, including improved digestive function, plump glowing skin, weight loss and a much-improved emotional relationship with food, all while eating delicious, nourishing food! I am so excited for the upcoming fall cleanse with my friend and Ayurveda counselor Meri. Meri is incredibly knowledgeable and makes Ayurveda accessible and easy to understand. Her suggestions and custom-blended herbal formulas have helped me tremendously last year as I struggled to create balance during quarantine.
Vata season also brings in an intoxicating feeling of inspiration and ideas. Allowing ourselves to tap into this creativity can propel our dreams and visions forward at a high rate of speed. Honor the call of your spirit to create when you're led! This flood of ideas can feel overwhelming which is why it's extra important to support ourselves with daily routines and good sleep habits so that we feel healthy enough to harness the beautiful inspiration that rides in on the whispering fall winds. For more ideas on tapping into your creativity, read this post here.
(updated September 16, 2021)
What's your favorite part of the fall season?
Which of these self-care ideas resonates most with you?
Happy Summer Solstice! The longest & brightest day of the year has been observed across all societies and cultures from Egyptian to English to Aztec as a a celebration of light, joy and illumination.
With so much darkness and heaviness in the world lately, now seems like a perfect time to Lighten Up!
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During the new moon cycle, the sun and moon align with each other, merging yang energy - the heating, masculine, assertive energy of the sun, with yin energy - the cooling, feminine, receptive energy of the moon. The balancing of these two polar opposite energies in the dark sky creates a powerful invitation to both let go and start new - it's the perfect canvas for a fresh start.