Fall is a time when the light, rough, mobile and cool qualities predominate in our environments. These qualities show up as cooler, windy days; lots of transition in our daily rhythm; trees losing their leaves, and the days beginning to shorten. When these qualities predominate in our external environments, they also begin to accumulate in our internal organism, causing an excess. In ayurveda, an excess of these qualites we call vata dosha. Dosha is an abberation, and vata relates to the wind and the qualities associated with it. Vata also governs our nervous system. When vata becomes dosha, an aggravation of the qualities of air causes problems in our system. These show up as excess mobility (racing thoughts, multi-tasking like crazy), dryness (dry skin, constipation and a feeling of lonliness/separation), coolness (poor circulation, variable digestion, cold hands and feet) and fear and anxiety (related to an imbalance in the subtle dimension of the space element which also makes up vata). Vata dosha is responsible for 80% of all diseases, which means that an overstimulated ungrounded nervous system is at the root of most illness.
The keyword of the season is: CALM. We can calm our nervous system and balance excess vata by adding in balancing qualities: heavy, grounded, steady, warm. As we transition into fall, here are some guidelines to support keeping vata calm (for more individualized support, book a complimentary strategy session)
Eat less raw food and include more warm, unctuous, cooked food. As the temperatures drop outside, so does our digestive fire. Warm, grounding food supports warmth and grounding in our whole being and will be easy to digest.
Eat more root vegetables in soups and stews (carrots, beets, burdock, sweet potatoes, ect.).
Use sweet and warming spices when you cook, like fresh grated ginger root (which is also anti-inflammatory), fennel,garlic and black pepper are good this time of year (if you have excess heat in your digestive system, like heartburn, skip the garlic and black pepper).
Eat apples ideally cooked.
Take a week to do eat a cleansing diet, use herbs, and rid your body of the excess heat of summer which will support your immunity for fall.
Go to bed a little earlier at night (extra credit if lights are out by 10pm). Somewhere between 10 and 11pm we get a “second wind” which will interfere with your ability to fall asleep easily.
Wake up a little earlier
Drink a large glass of warm to hot water with lemon after scraping your tongue and brushing your teeth. If you tend towards constipation, drink two cups.
Practice 5 or 10 minutes of alternate nostril breathing.
Practice 10 minutes of hatha yoga and 10 minutes of meditation/prayer before you go out.
Rub warm oil on your skin before or after you bathe. Put some on your pinky finger and massage inside your ears and inside your nostrils to soothe and protect these sense organs.
Think: warm, grounding, steady rhythm in all of your activities.
Calm your nervous system through more restorative practices, walking outdoors (stay warm and cover your head and neck when its windy and cool outside), and connecting with loved ones (and that includes YOU).
Get the support you need so your stress/support ratio is in balance (Hint: if you feel stressed out every day, its not in balance; let’s talk).
Schedule an abhyanga massage, a blissful experience.
I’ll be going more deeply into Ayurveda for Fall in a 3-hour workshop held on two different Saturdays here in Seattle. Click the links below to register.
Saturday, September 26th, 2-5pm at Yoga on Beacon
and Saturday, October 3rd, 2 – 5pm at Two Dog Yoga