by Ashley McGuirk
The season of transformation is among us. Yes, fall is officially here and with it comes a variety of change. Together, we all will be experiencing the change of temperature, sunlight, environment, schedules etc. So be sure to give yourself some extra time and love to adjust to these beautiful changes of the fall season. Below I have suggested daily practices to adapt into your life during the fall season. Each practice aligns with the doshas of autumn and contain valuable insight for your mind, body and spirit. Practice one, or develop your own practice! Whatever you decide on, make sure to take some time to unwind and enjoy this transition into the colder months.
According to the Chopra center, autumn is a unique season of the year because it is divided into two doshas. Unlike winter, spring and summer who only contain one dosha, fall is described as a long transitional period beginning with warmth and ending with cold- resulting in two doshas. The early portion of fall (September to late October) associates with the Pitta dosha and during the later portion of fall into early winter it transitions into the Vata dosha. Fall is broken up into two doshas because of the vast transition from hot weather, to cool weather, to cold weather. Therefore, it is important to stay present during this time of year due to the amount of mental and physically change about to take place. To help balance yourself during this time of year it is important to eat nutritious seasonal foods, take time to reset and recharge (aka meditate + rest) and incorporate a steady physical practice. Whether it be yoga, tai chi, or another indoor activity, it’s crucial to keep your blood circulating. Take time to move and create warmth within your body and heart.
Early fall (September- late October)
During this time of year our Pitta dosha (summer dosha) is in transition to be “dried out”. Because the Pitta dosha contains elements of fire and water it is important to start developing a practice that supports the drying out in transition to the Vata dosha. To start the process of this transition, the Chopra center suggests eating seasonal fruit that is plentiful during this time of year. A great example includes light colored (green, pink) apples and pears. Both of these fruits are high in fiber which is essential for digestion and moving the old out and welcoming in the new. Another great practice is to drink some warm lemon water, which also aids in digestion and the cleansing of the digestive tract. This way you are preparing your gut for the heavier foods that you will ingest during the late fall early winter. When drying out your pitta dosha, you are also preparing your body from holding onto any excess mucous that the pitta dosha creates. With excess mucous comes a lot of sickness like colds and the flu. To avoid these ailments, it’s highly suggested you eat seasonal whole foods and begin developing a physical exercise routine to keep your body physically warm. Whether it be light stretches in the morning, or a warm yoga class, movement is just as important as diet.
Late fall (November- Mid December)
At this point in the season your mind and body has gone through transition and is now preparing for the colder months. The Vata dosha is now in full swing and so a heavier diet should become part of your routine as well as more physical warming exercises. Still eating in season, I suggest eating heavier whole foods that can be warmed. Some great examples include fruits like bananas, apples, pears, oranges and grapefruits. Vata friendly veggies to add to your grocery list should include squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and turnips. It is important to note that raw fruits and veggies are not recommended. It is best for all your produce to be warmed or fully cooked. Other items that contribute to balancing out the Vata dosha include grains like quinoa, brown rice and oats. Healthy fats from nut butters and oils from avocados, olives and grass-fed butter are also great options. Protein from animals like chicken or beef are great choices as well as plant proteins like beans and legumes. Last but not least, warm fluids like broth or tea should be consumed on the daily. Avoid drinking ice cold drinks as this will bring imbalance to the Vata dosha. In addition to diet, when it comes to balancing the Vata dosha there are physical exercises that help attribute to maintain balance. For example, a warm or hot yoga class is perfect to take during this time of year. Especially if you’re someone who tends to have cold hands or feet, moving your body, stretching and taking a class that improves circulation is a great way to achieve physical balance.
If you are interested in the practice of balancing your Vata dosh, but don’t know where to start, I suggest trying a warm or hot yoga class at Razz Yoga. Razz currently offers a number of warm and hot yoga classes that are a perfect way to transition into the fall season. Pair that with some crisp apples, butter nut squash soup and ginger tea and you’re right on track to achieving balance during this season of change. Feel free to add some suggestions or comments on how you like to welcome in the autumn season. We love to hear from our fellow yogis! Also- if you have a minute check out some of the new or existing classes on our schedule this season! We look forward to seeing some new and existing faces on the mat. Namaste.