Living in Harmony this Fall

Downward Dog on a Natural Cork Yoga Mat

Embrace the change of season with dietary, lifestyle and personal shifts to bring in rhythm with nature.

Fall is fondly known as the cuddly and cozy season: we patiently await the shift of seasons to break out our sweaters and snuggle up with a cup of tea. These natural to shift with the weather, allow us to embrace the external world and it’s changes. However, Fall self-care practices are more than adding dash pumpkin spice flavoring.

As we venture further into a new season, the focus on daily ritual, attuning to nature, and internal listening becomes all the more important. Fall reminds us of the law of impermanence, that the only truth we can count on is that everything is continuously shifting. The transition away from the warmth of summer to the cold of winter and represents a shifting of perspective and a continual state of change. 

During this season of change, one of the best tools to thrive is the conscious implementation of a schedule. Fostering a daily routine creates a sense of grounding and stability.  The discipline of routine might feel tedious and limiting to some of you more “free-spirited” folks, however, the ability to integrate daily rituals allows your foundation to strengthen, creating space for your creativity to flourish!  

Tips for Daily Rituals in Fall:

Sleeping on purpose: Commit to a consistent bedtime 

As the sun sets earlier and earlier, take advantage of this nesting season and give yourself permission to receive a full night of rest. Allow the body and mind to reset. As well as allowing time for a full night’s sleep, the consistency of the same bedtime will set up your tomorrow for a grounded presence of personal stability.

Waking up with purpose: Create morning rituals

The first actions that you take in the morning can establish grounding and presence for your entire day. Morning rituals do not have to be overly involved, simply bring intention into something you already do, such as showering, washing your face or making your morning beverage. Commit to a certain order of these actions, and stay present for each. Resist jumping onto the hamster wheel of thoughts, schedules, and planning of the day, just stay focused on the action at hand. In addition, integrate a meaningful action: a mantra that you repeat in the mirror, walking outside mindfully, or mentally creating a gratitude list before you take the first bite of breakfast. 

Presence on purpose: Incorporate a mindfulness practice.

Whether it be meditation, pranayama (breathing practices), journaling or yoga, take time in your day to be with yourself and practice being present. Integrate this practice into your morning routine, or opt for the practice to happen after work, replacing the habitual Netflix and or happy hour. 

Tips for Consciously Eating this Fall:

Another way to be in rhythm with the changing seasons is by shifting your diet to reflect the local harvest.  Mother Nature has a beautiful way of giving exactly what we need. Visit your farmer’s markets and cook up a balancing Fall meal complete with warming spices, such as ginger and turmeric.

Ayurveda***, “The Science of Life”, is one of the oldest sciences known to man, and often referred to as the sister science of yoga. One of the core concepts behind this ancient science is that “like creates more like, and oppositions balance.” Ayurveda refers to Fall as the “Vata Season”, characterized by the cold, dry and rough tendencies. Keeping with the importance of opposition to create balance, try opposing the dryness of Fall with a butternut squash soup. Very often the desire for warming, hearty meals comes naturally as the weather cools down.

So as with most lessons in life, listen to your intuition! Ditch the cold, light summer salads and embrace the bounty of the harvest season. Let fall staples like roasted pumpkin and root vegetable medleys balance your internal state with the external world.  

Try extending this idea into your asana practice.  During the dry, windy Fall weather, you may be called to practice in a similar manner: breathy and fast, like a vinyasa practice.  Open up to the possibilities of gaining benefit through opposition. Slow the practice down, feel your connection to the earth, use a strong focal point, and practice a long, deep belly breath.  This is also a perfect time of year to integrate more restorative practices like Yin Yoga*.

As the temperature drops and we head indoors, take the time to go inward.  By slowing down and witnessing what the body is craving,  the specific acts of self-care, morning rituals, and mindfulness practices can be discovered through your wisdom.   

Above all else, the most potent way to be in harmony with the changing seasons is to embrace that your internal and external worlds are one and the same.  Your wisdom is bountiful, make use of it. Get outside and enjoy the beauty around you. Remember that the same beauty lives within you. 

*** hyperlink “Ayurveda” with https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide

*hyperlink “Yin Yoga” with https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/types-of-yoga/yin

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