Maintain Balance with a Fall Wellness Ritual

 

photo credit: patriziasoliani via photopin cc

photo credit: patriziasoliani via photopin cc

In a recent post, Embracing Autumn & Honoring the Harvest Moon, I wrote about autumn as a time to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.

Well, I would like to continue that train of thought to share with you my own Fall Wellness Ritual, which I try to follow as a way to stay grounded, balanced and healthy during the fall and winter months. According to Ayurveda, fall and winter are known as “Vata season” because they are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, rough, and moving.

Although all body types are vulnerable to Vata imbalance during autumn and winter, as a Vata type, I am particularly vulnerable to imbalance during this season. Vata imbalance can manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

Don’t know your dosha type? Take a dosha quiz.

Ayurveda teaches us to read nature for clues on how to adapt our daily routines. Since autumn is a time when Agni (fire) begins to cool down, we need to turn up our inner fire to sustain us through the colder, winter months. Naturally, the main idea for fall and early winter is to keep yourself warmgrounded, and moisturized. During this season, the body instinctively gravitates toward cooked meals, earthier foods, rich scents and warmer colors.

As a predominantly Vata type, I thrive in constantly changing, and exciting environments. Energy comes in fits and bursts, and I like to move from one thing to another, as my interests and creative desires dictate. A daily routine is not something that comes naturally to me, yet this is exactly what I need during Vata season to stay balanced and healthy! The key is to develop a ritual that works for you and to be consistent.

Ayurveda: Warming Tea

Photo-Credit: Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof.

My Daily Fall Wellness Ritual:

  • Wake up at 5:00-5:30.
  • Drink hot lemon water with a little salt in the morning to stimulate elimination.
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes. Try to take deep, cleansing breaths. Stay warm by wrapping yourself in a blanket.
  • Do a slow, warming, yoga practice. Focus on grounding your feet to the earth, to build strength and stability, in both your mind and body. Aim for at least 15 minutes (more if time allows).
  • Take a 5 minute savasana, and keep warm under a blanket. Take time to reconnect with the earth. Feel it support you.
  • Perform abhyanga (the ayurvedic daily self-massage) with warm sesame oil. Leave the oil on your skin for 10-30 minutes; follow with a warm shower. Alternatively, moisturize your body with oil after a warm shower.
  • Nourish your body with warm, moist foods during every meal. For breakfast, try a grounding breakfast of oatmeal, grains or quinoa. For lunch and dinner, try earthy soups and stews. Include lots of seasonal root vegetables and hearty grains. As a general rule, what the earth grows naturally in any given season is ideally what we should be eating to maintain balance within. During this time of year, fall harvest foods are best — sweet potatoes, squashes, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and collard greens.
  • Aim for bedtime before 10:00 pm and get a full eight hours of sleep each night.

For more ideas and information, read this great article, by My Yoga Online: Design Your Fall Yoga Ritual for Vitality.

Also, check out these great yoga videos:

Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa

Fall Yin Restorative Yoga Practice

Some other things to consider during Vata season:

  • Avoid starting too many new projects that pull your energy in multiple directions! Remember, fall is a time to slow down and prepare for winter hibernation (This one is especially hard for me!)
  • Nourish the senses: colors contribute greatly to balance in the body. Since autumn is a cooler season, one can balance this climate by wearing clothes and decorating your home in warmer, richer colors — yellows, oranges and reds.
  • During the darker, colder months, avoid isolation and depression by nourishing relationships with friends and family. Schedule some coffee dates, playdates, and potlucks to get you out of the house, and to bring your support community together.
photo credit: HckySo via photopin cc

photo credit: HckySo via photopin cc

Establishing a daily routine can be challenging, especially if you are a Vata type. It goes against our very nature! But during the fall and winter months, it is an important part of maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.

Remember, it takes about four weeks to form a new habit. Strive for the 3 Cs: Commitment, Convenience, and Consistency. We’re all busy, that’s just life. Make yourself a priority and commit to the change you want to make. You are worth it!  Try to create habits that work for you and your lifestyle. Being consistent is the most important thing in maintaining a healthy habit. If you really are pressed for time, do less, but do it often. Decide what is realistic for you to achieve on a daily basis, and then commit.

What do you like to do as part of your Fall Wellness Ritual? As always, I’d love hear your thoughts and ideas!

Take care, be well…

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Embracing Autumn and Honoring the Harvest Moon

Red Fall Trees

Today (Sept 22nd) is the autumnal equinox, which marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall (in the Northern Hemisphere).

Autumn is a transitional phase; a time for change. The rise of the Harvest Moon a few days ago and the shortening days that follow, signals that we (and other living beings) must prepare for the colder, darker winter months ahead.  Birds rely on the Harvest moon to begin their migration to warmer climates, and other animals prepare for hibernation. The Fall is a stunning time of year, as trees shed their leaves, surrounding us with the brilliant (and inspiring) colors of fall – rich and warm, earthy tones of red, orange, yellow, and brown.

Fall Trees

photo credit: paul bica via photopin cc

For me, the fall is a time of transition, a time to slow down and reflect. As the days grow shorter and colder, I feel a need and desire to prepare, both physically and emotionally, for spending more time indoors. Over the next few weeks, I will share more about how I like to prepare for the colder winter months (such as cooking vata-balancing soups and stews; developing a rejuvenating yoga and meditation practice; slowing down and reflecting on goals and dreams; and generally de-cluttering the home). But today, I want to talk about one of the most exciting things about preparing for the winter months… Autumn knitting!

As the days turn colder, I can’t help but get excited about my knitting. I look forward to wrapping myself (and my family) in warm and cozy hand-knit yumminess, such as leg warmers, chunky cardigans, mittens, beanies and blankets. I have several exciting knitting projects lined up, including these lace boot toppers; these Mason jar cozies, and a certain Norah Gaughan cardigan for my Mum (though I can’t reveal which pattern I’m using, since I want to keep it a surprise). I also plan to design and knit a “wee man” sweater for Caelan, my two-year-old son.
Since the Fall is a time for refinement – of getting rid of things that are not serving us – I also plan to do some serious stash-busting this fall. This POP blanket by Tin Can Knits, should do the job nicely! It’s the perfect project for the Fall. I have so many small balls of leftover yarn, in bright and vibrant colors, just craving to be knit up into this stunning and luxurious little blanket. Since each square is knit separately, it makes for a great “inbetweener” project, and it is perfectly small and transportable for on-the-go knitting!
How do you transition into the Fall and Winter months? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Finally, here’s some inspiring knitting to get you in the mood for the Fall.
Happy Autumn!
Fall Knitting Red Gloves

photo credit: cashmere dreams via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Red Beanie

photo credit: Sarah Cady via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Burnt Orange

photo credit: looseends via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Red Beanie Leaf

photo credit: *meaghan* via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Pumpkin Hat

photo credit: debcll via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Yellow

photo credit: splityarn via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Yellow Detail

photo credit: meg’s my name via photopin cc

Fall Knitting Beanie

photo credit: caruba via photopin cc

Another Koolhaas Hat…

Koolhaas Hat Beanie

Another Koolhaas Beanie in Progress…

I am currently in the process of knitting my sixth Koolhaas hat. What can I say?? I’m in love with this pattern (and I’m not the only one)! The first version was knit for my Dad back in 2009 and it was a hit! It was knit in a lovely vibrant orange, using Malabrigo Worsted Yarn, and I was thrilled with the final product.

This yarn knits up beautifully and the finished hat feels soft, luxurious, and cozy. My dad loved his first hat so much, he asked me to knit another one…and another one! I have since knit several beanies, usually in Malabrigo (but I have also used Cascade 220, with excellent results).

I have to admit, when I first embarked on this pattern, I found it a bit complicated and labor intensive.  It’s made up with many 2-stitch cables (or crossed stitches) and on some rounds, you need to cross every pair of stitches on that round. As you can imagine, this can really slow down the process, and until you learn the pattern repeat it can feel a bit mentally taxing.

(As you get to know me, you’ll understand why I would be frustrated with the pace of this particular project. I like to knit quickly and efficiently. If there’s a method that will allow me to knit something more quickly, I need to know about it! I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this in future posts though). 

This current version is knit using Malabrigo yarn (of course!), in a luscious “Ravelry Red”. Honestly, it’s an excellent pattern and once you understand the chart and get into a rhythm, it’s actually a very easy and fun hat to knit. I absolutely recommend it!

Malabrigo Worsted Ravelry Red

malabrigo worsted ravelry red tag

I just can’t get enough of the Koolhaas Beanie! How about you?