Five Things: How to Embrace the Fall Season

Some days I spend less than an hour outdoors.  I know I’m not alone, and it’s therefore no surprise that many of us are unaware of the subtle changes that occur with the changing of the seasons.  Whether or not we’re aware of it, fall is very much here*.

{*for my Northern hemisphere readers, anyway! For my Southern readers, close your eyes and come back in a few months}

According to Ayurveda, there are three primary doshas, or energies, that make up every individual: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  Just as individuals/times of day can be dominated by one or two of these energy types, so too are the seasons.  Fall is traditionally dominated by the Vata dosha (air/space).  Qualities associated with the Vata dosha include dry, cold, rough, light, changeable, and irregular.

No matter what your energy type, this Vata energy which dominates the autumn season affects us all- particularly so if you have a Vata constitution.  During the fall, our bodies and minds can become easily unbalanced, overwhelmed, unsettled.  Dry skin, irregular appetite, stress, and fatigue are also common symptoms of a Vata imbalance.  To determine your dominant dosha type/s, there are numerous online quizzes which might be interesting to explore (my first introduction do Ayurveda was through my friend Heather, as we once spent a summer’s morning pouring over an Ayurvedic book and quizzing each other about our doshas).

Whether or not you pay any mind to Ayurvedic practices, below are some helpful tips for embracing the fall season:

1.) Eat Seasonally: where summer meals consist of light greens, a homemade vinaigrette, and some fresh fruit, autumn calls for heartier fare.  It’s no coincidence that when beets, turnips, apples, and cabbage come into season, we simultaneously crave heartier and more comforting meals.  Skip the pineapple and grab a potato instead.

2.) Warming Foods: Eat lots of hearty soups, and chose warm vegetables over raw (which are typically Vata-provoking).  Teas (especially chai tea) are perfect for the fall, and you can sip warm water with lemon throughout the day.  In the mornings, enjoy a comforting bowl of oatmeal  in place of a cold bowl of cereal.

3.) Fall Spices: When cooking, incorporate warming spices like ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, salt, cinnamon, and cumin.

4.) Sleep: Try to get to bed early (ideally before 10 pm).  Chilly nights are meant for restful, restorative sleeps under warm blankets.  If you’re feeling restless, warm milk (spiced with a pinch of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg) helps soothe the nerves and promote a restful sleep.

5.) Practice gratitude: “During this season of harvest, by giving thanks for all that we have, the Vata predominance of the fall season is balanced and nourished by the more Kapha emotions of love and gratitude. Make gratitude part of your daily routine including in your Yoga practice. Changes made at the mind-heart level have a more fundamental effect on our healing than any other lifestyle modifications we may make”.

{For more detailed information: Balancing Vata During the Fall Season}.

**This has nothing to do with Ayurveda, but I’m convinced listening to Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Blind Pilot also makes for a more enjoyable fall:

Wishing you a calm, grounded, and healthy November.

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5 thoughts on “Five Things: How to Embrace the Fall Season

  1. Thanks for all the fall suggestions because due to Sandy coming by and saying hello to one Island, being cold and dry is what my skin went through these past couple of days!

      • Oh but it’s ok!! It takes us to a nice autumn far away!

        Also, it’s interesting to think how energy is balanced overall.. I don’t know much, but I guess those types happen in the north during these months, while “opposite” ones happen at the same time here in the south. It’s all part of a nice equilibrium!

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