By Olya Amburg
Fall shows us how beautiful it is to slow down and let go.
Here you might think “oh, again another detox”, but the autumnal process of release is not so literal. Letting go of the constant pursuit of productivity, perfectionism and a tendency to overachieve is not less important than letting go of toxins in the body or anger in the mind.
Fall is a lovely time to liberate ourselves from patterns which don’t serve us and to take time for contemplation.
For tree’s, this process happens naturally when the leaves fall down. We need to make certain seasonal lifestyle adjustments to harmoniously go through our life detox. Ayurveda – an ancient holistic health science and a sister discipline of yoga can give an insight into that matter.
If you are familiar with Ayurveda, we’ve included some procedures to the tips below: we did our best to choose the noteworthy ones. For those, who are baffled by the word “Ayurveda” itself, here is a more than concise, but necessary intro.
According to Ayurveda there are three energies called Vata (space+air), Pitta (fire+water) and Kapha (earth+water) that make up our physical and mental makeup. Commonly every human being has one or two doshas that dominate and need to be balanced for our optimal existence and good health. Interestingly, the seasons have a dominant dosha as well.
For autumn it is Vata – light, dry, cold, constantly changing energy. That’s why no matter what dosha is your dominant one, autumnal energy can bring dryness to your skin and light-headedness to the mind if the dosha is not balanced out by some lifestyle tweaks. While there are numerous changes we can potentially make, life in a modern world sets certain limitations. Thus, feel free to modify and adjust the following advice to your existing routines:
Daily Routine Fix
If you’ve read the subtitle and thought “my routine is already perfect, what would I need to change!?” – great! The most important part is to actually stick to it throughout the season. Any erratic, hectic actions feed the ever-changing Vata energy which we already have access to. If you’d like to add to this, start by getting up with the sunrise. While this is a general Ayurvedic recommendation, it’s especially important to catch the moment of the morning stillness and quiet upon waking. Consider that your body might need some extra rest. Since Ayurveda doesn’t recommend daytime naps, consider going to bed a bit earlier.
Food for Good
While Ayurveda gives us copious and very detailed guidelines, here are some tips anyone can follow even if you eat out three times a day. Choose foods that are sweet, salty, or sour in taste. Avoid pungent, astringent, bitter foods. Our “agni” or “digestive fire” is less intense in the colder months, so do your best to avoid overeating.
Choose warm, cooked foods. As for what to eat exactly, nature gives us some great basic guidelines. Seasonal foods like pumpkin, potato, plums – all the current produce are actually Vata dosha pacifying.
Just like animals prepare their nests and dens for winter, it is important for us to adjust the space we exist in for the seasonal change. And it is worth going further than just turning on a heater. While we associate a clean-up time with spring, during the transition to the cold season it is equally important. Making our space cozy (which in busy times equals at least clean) helps us to ground down and feel secure. Smudging, especially with sage, is very welcome to purify the energy. You can go further and use some earthy, sweet essential oils like cedarwood, cypress, rosemary, bergamot, nutmeg in a diffuser or a spray.
Also, we can perceive warmth not just with the sense of touch. It can come with the sight as well. Isn’t it amazing that even nature gives us warm colours to observe in autumn: fiery leaves, orange pumpkins, red apples and yellow sunflowers! We can utilize the magic of colour in our space to balance the mind and the body.
We are right back into engaging all six senses into the heat generation. Just like in the interior design, fall-inspired earthy and warm colours are preferable when you’re choosing what to wear in clothing. It’s also great if the fabrics are heavy which will naturally ground you down.
Every now and then, treat yourself to an abhyanga – Ayurvedic self-massage using warming sesame seed oil.
Try to substitute your favourite stimulating activities with the ones that pacify. Instead of running go on longer slower walks. Instead of engaging in multiple creative activities in a day, choose just one and finding a moment of stillness in it.
Listen to Reiki music or binaural beats that harmonise the root and sacral chakras. Last, but not least, especially if you are a chatterbox, try to find some quiet time. Just like a constant flow of thought, constant talking can aggravate Vata dosha!
Of course, your yoga practice is an essential part of the daily routine and it is a self-care practice. But it is worth taking a closer look at how we can modify the practice to truly increase the energy levels and utilize the abundance of fall opportunities, like every other season, presents us with.
Enjoy the season and stay tuned to find out how to harmoniously fold into fall on your yoga mat!