As we move into the fall season, we are starting to experience the cooler weather, the leaves are starting to fall, and pumpkin and apple picking are go to weekend activities again. Fall truly brings so much beauty, but it can also be a difficult time due to it's energetics. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, fall is considered the death process that brings forth a return to what is true and real. I think this year, maybe more than others, that will resonate much more. What this also means is that whatever we didn’t deal with during the year, will be thrown back at us (not so great, but a great thing to be aware of). Additionally, It is also known to be the time of spiritual transition.
The energetic dosha that reigns during this season is called vata. The qualities of vata are dry, cold, rough, and mobile (think wind). A good way to remember these qualities is to think of a dried leaf blowing across the pavement. This season is very vata-derranging which means that you may feel more scattered, anxious, fearful, dry and may suffer from constipation or insomnia. Not to worry here are a few ways to help make the transition to fall with ease!
Find a routine that works
Ayurveda suggests that our morning routine is representative of how we live our lives. It is not necessary to have a set 2 hour morning routine. Even just keeping one element of your morning routine consistent throughout the season can be very helpful. For example, you can plan a 20 min walk each morning or a 5 min meditation or gratefulness practice before you even get out of bed. The options are endless. Just please make sure it is a calming activity that will help you set the tone for the day. It is best to reduce all forms of scattered energy and a great way to do this is to have consistency (even a little bit) in your routine.
If a morning routine isn’t really your thing right now, you can even try to eat meals at set times each day, even just having this consistent meal schedule will help combat the scatteredness of this vata season.
Try to incorporate more walks and slow flows into your routine. This helps to combat the uneasy and fearful energetic that can come along with the fall season. I enjoy restorative yoga and qigong practices to help settle anxiety and fearfulness provoked by this transition.
Grounding is a word that tends to be thrown around a lot without a definition and it can be somewhat vague depending on context. So what does grounding even really mean and what does it have to do with the fall season?
It simply means reconnecting energetically to the earth (also called earthing - more on that below), it can also mean being fully present in our own body in the present moment. When you feel scattered, anxious or even fearful there are many exercises you can do to reconnect yourself in the present moment to help pacify these sensations. Many times when we feel these emotions and sensations it is when we are not fully present and are too busy thinking about the future or past instead of the present. Here are a few practices that you can try out to keep yourself connected energetically to the earth and grounded in the present moment:
Earthing- while it’s still not too cold, going outside and putting your feet on the earth is a great practice to up your connection. Also just going out and spending some time in nature is a grounding experience, so get out there and enjoy!
Abhyanga- oil massage- this a great way to stimulate lymph flow as well. This is a great technique to work into your before or after a shower routine. This practice helps to combat the scattered energy and the dryness brought in by the fall season
Yoga poses- Here are a few of my favorite grounding poses. There are many and these are just few to try out:
Knee to chest pose
Tree pose (and other balancing poses such as warrior 3)
Sleeping - Transition puts stress on the body and that means we may need a little (or a lot) more rest than during other seasons. This is also a great and much needed way to give our nervous systems some well deserved rest.
Rebounding- also a good way to stimulate lymph and blood flow through the body
Foot stimulation - the legs and feet are extensions of our energetic root and spend the most time in direct contact with the earth. You can think of your feet as tree roots - connecting you with the earth below. By simply tapping your foot or rolling a tennis ball under your foot (a reflexology session or self reflexology would also be great!) can help you to relax and ground you back in the present moment
Ayurveda is all about eating seasonally, fresh and local. Even though this isn’t always possible to do all three, any of the three is helpful and your body will thank you. Some grounding foods are sweet potato, squash, pumpkin (so does this make pumpkin spice obsessions ok? I think yes haha), beets, brussel sprouts, carrots, onion, mung beans, protein in general (meat or plant based protein sources), oils (to combat dryness), honey and nuts. This is not a complete list, but it is a good start. During the fall season, it is best to eat foods that are not just grounding but wet, warming, sweet and mushy. For more information on foods for the fall, you can go to some of my favorite resources for inspiration:
Follow @ Food4fueldietian (Ashley Cotta) on Facebook, Instagram, & Youtube for plant based nutrition tips & recipes. She is also offering cooking classes in Newport, RI (the topics for October 1st & 8th are fall favorites)
www.joyfulbelly.com (For more info on ayurvedic foods that are best for the fall season)
Take time for yourself - self reflection
Since many of us have been staying put this year, it may seem aggravating to think about doing it to help with this transition. Instead of social isolation, another way to look at it is taking time for self reflection. As you know self reflection and overall self awareness can come in so many forms: journaling, walking, meditation, mudras, any self care rituals that reconnect you with your body- such as self reflexology, acupressure, dry brushing - again if you have found something that you love and it works- keep doing it!
Stay tuned for more Ayurvedic tips & tricks to lead a healthy life