For 5000 years, Yogis have dedicated themselves to the study of the Science of Life. Yoga’s sister philosophy of well-being, known as Ayurveda, has uncovered many subtle and distinct patterns in nature, as well as in our lives. And Autumn is a special and important phase for us on every level of our health of mind, body and spirit.
There are a number of fascinating features and patterns that are unique to the Fall season. A key finding is that Autumn’s natural rhythm is dominated by Vata – restlessness and movement.
The wisdom of Ayurveda shows us how these traits manifest as an abundance of the energies of Air and Ether elements in all aspects of our lives during this season.
In looking at the cycles of nature, we see strong evidence, watching leaves dry up, the wind blowing them off their branches, floating in space, and scattering in all directions. The weather is so unpredictable as the temperature fluctuates and storms come through more frequently at this time of year.
By observing the cycles of our yearly calendar, we can clearly see that Fall is a busy time for all of us in our business and family life. Witness farmers hard at work gathering the harvest, see our children and grandchildren begin a new school year, and we ourselves get back to work with the ambitious priorities and initiatives we’ve been dreaming up over a languid summer.
When we learn more about our own personal Ayurvedic constitution or dosha, we begin to see what kind of role the Vata element plays in our body and mind. Those of us who identify with stronger Vata patterns might notice how the Fall season can be particularly difficult, as we see very strong evidence of unpredictability and restlessness.
Ayurveda also shows us the gifts and challenges of the Vata energy through each season of our life, and our peri-menopause, menopause, and andropause time are associated with Vata energy. During this time of our lives, we are experiencing hormonal fluctuations, as well as changes in our domestic patterns, with children leaving home to begin their own lives, with divorce for some, and downsizing for many.
And many of us are travelling more during the Fall timeframe, for business, and also for pleasure, to see the spectacular colours on show, and savour the flavours of this beautiful season. As wellness seekers and travellers, we should also be aware that travelling, by definition, is an activity that increases Vata energy in our lives.
With that in mind, we can use our practice to do something about this natural phenomenon and bring ourselves back into harmony and balance with the other elements. We can navigate this time by harnessing the energy of the Autumn, to enjoy the excitement of new adventures, and lean on the wisdom of Fall’s rhythms and let nature takes its course through our lives.
We look to the way trees gracefully release and surrender the leaves they’ve created and nurtured over time, acknowledging that the leaves are no longer needed at this stage, knowing this natural process of surrendering is truly healing and restoring.
EAT & DRINK FOR STABILITY
Create an effective strategy to consume 3 litres of water all day, every day. Have soothing herbal teas and room temperature water infused with lemon or cucumber on hand at all times. Plan nourishing, warm meals, and try to eat at the same time each day. Settle the mind by eating and drinking mindfully, and with awareness and gratitude.
Give yourself a daily Abhyanga treatment, a mindful and gentle ayurvedic self-massage with warm almond, sesame, or avocado oil. The energy of these heavy oils penetrate not just our skin, but the action of the self-massage slows our thoughts and has a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system. It improves our overall sense of wellbeing by circulating lymph and bringing fresh energy to every area of the face and body.
Coconut oil pulling is another way to use oil to pacify Vata naturally while detoxing. It also has the powerful effect of quieting not just our physical voice, but the inner voices of the mind as well.
Modify your physical asana practice to support you through this time of instability and change. Include earthy poses that connect you to the ground and enable you to cultivate awareness of gravity or Apana, downward flowing energy. Be sure to include restorative practices, so you feel calmer, rested and clear-minded every day.
Moving through the restlessness and uncertainty that Fall brings, challenges us to move inward, to find and develop our inner strength, resilience, and resources. Let the practical tools from Yoga and Ayurveda help you navigate and flow gracefully through all the changes Autumn has in store.
Add these 3 grounding poses to your daily practice, especially when you travel, and spend extra time in them when you have a really challenging day.
Deborah Devine is a trusted teacher and the host of Healing Yoga, an inclusive, innovative, and practical yoga program designed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels. Healing Yoga airs daily in over 10 million homes on VisionTV, and OneTV, Canada’s GetFit Channel. Connect with Deborah over on YouTube at Healing Yoga.