As a child I grew up in the Bay Area but in my twenties I moved to UT to be in the mountains for about 18 years. Winters were long and if you like snow it’s great but if you don’t……let’s just say it was really tough. I began dreading Fall, as beautiful as it could be, as I knew what was right around the corner – lots’ and lot’s of snow and very cold weather.
Now that I live in the Foothills of Northern CA I’m learning to enjoy fall again, probably more than ever. The heat of summer is fading and rain is on it’s way. I began my studies with my herbal teacher shortly after I moved here and learned so much about my body type, or dosha, that my struggles with UT winters all began to make sense.
We can’t all move to the perfect location for our particular dosha or constitution but there are things we can do to support ourselves through the seasons no matter where we live. I thought I would share some general tips for fall, according to Ayurveda, and I would encourage you to dive in a little deeper into this tradition of health and healing so that the choices you make are more specific to your needs.
Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” What makes it so unique is that it not only recognized that each and everyone of us is different and thrives with different lifestyle, exercise and nutritional approaches, but that we also have a seasonal rhythm that changes how we feel, physically and emotionally.
Fall Ayurvedic Tips:
1) Begin to shift your diet. It’s time to get ready for winter. As the plants are beginning to loose their leaves and go dormant for the winter now is the time for all the wonderful and more hearty vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and squashes like pumpkin, acorn and butternut. Time to begin introducing our bodies to warming foods like soups and stews adding lots of dark leafy greens. This is Vata season so it can be very irritating for Vata individuals. To help with the dry and windy conditions this time of year it’s time for Vata to take special care and add more fats in their diets and begin to regular practice of Abhyanga or oil massage.
2) Create some shifts in your daily routine. In this time of technology we tend to ignore the fact that the days are gradually becoming shorter. Before electricity the house went to sleep sooner. As we head into winter and the harvest has ended people knew that it was time to rest and recharge, just like nature does this time of year, so that when we emerge in the Spring we are ready for the business of summer. Gradually begin to go to bed sooner and allow yourself to sleep longer over the next few months.
3) Bigger lunches, smaller dinners. In general Ayurveda recommends this habit of eating but in the fall it becomes even more important as the days become shorter and nights become longer. Eating your biggest meal in the middle of the day allows our bodies to fully utilize the nutritional content of the food and eating lighter at night allows us to go to bed sooner and sleep more soundly.
4) Warming breakfasts. If you are a smoothie person in the morning I recommend moving that to another time of day as we want to start our morning with something warming, not cold. One suggestion is to have your smoothie with your lunch during the warmest time of day and when your digestion will more easily tolerate something cold. Begin to search a bit for some creative ideas for hot breakfasts so you don’t get into a rut of just oatmeal!
I hope these tips help you this fall as we get ready for winter. If you would like to learn more about your specific dosha and symptoms you may be experiencing feel free to connect with me to help you find balance in your body, mind and spirit. I offer a complementary initial consult to all new clients and you can schedule that here:
May your fall be blessed with good health and lot’s of rest.