In the wheel of the year, we have just passed onto the other side of the fall equinox! This means the sun is going away a little bit more each day until we reach the winter solstice in December, which is the shortest day of the year. It tends to feel like summer here in Santa Cruz well into September and sometimes October, causing this transition to happen quickly.
During this time, it will serve us well to keep our bodies warm and nourished with food, tea and self care practices. Ayurveda teaches us to live with the seasons by adapting our daily practices, eating seasonally and balancing our doshas with the seasonal dosha that’s present. During this seasonal shift, our immune systems are more vulnerable and our bodies are transitioning from being in a summer Pitta state. Autumn and fall are considered to be the Vata time of year. Vata is cold, dry, light and mobile, and the cold weather and wind can cause this dosha to spike. Emotionally, this dosha in an imbalance can bring on anxiety. This emotion can also arise from being in the liminal transition that is occurring on many levels.
“When the seasons change, we experience a sympathetic internal shift. All life-forms open themselves up to receive cosmic redirection from nature during these crucial seasonal transitions, so we are likely to be more vulnerable and unsettled.” – Maya Tiwari
Here are a few suggestions on self-care practices that can be done during this seasonal shift:
- Self-oiling after a warm shower. Dry yourself off and lightly oil your body with herbal body oil or sesame oil. The pores are open at this time and the skin can absorb the oil best. This can also be done with warm oil before a shower, in which case, avoid using soap to allow the oil to stay on the skin
- Eat warm grounding foods that are growing during this season. This is a great time to eat baked squash, warm oatmeal for breakfast, sweet potatoes and roasted veggies with warming spices. Sweet, sour and salty tastes all help pacify Vata.
- Drink a cup of hot water first thing in the morning. This helps to warm up the body and stimulate digestion. Sip on warm water and tea throughout the day
- Keep the feet, head and neck warm. Wind enters the body through the back of the neck, so bundling up with a scarf is helpful!