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 warm, grounded, 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.
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:
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.
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…