No matter what’s going on where you are, there’s no denying we’re in transition. Soon the air will be cooler and a little more crisp, the days will be getting increasingly shorter, and pumpkin spiced everything will be…everywhere!
Yep, autumn is in the offing and what better time than now, when you can see it coming in the distance, to make a conscious (and powerful) shift from the heady liveliness of summer to the quieter more introspective and grounding winter, rather than having it take you by surprise (which it can so often do).
Fall is my favorite season, in fact I sometimes wish it would last all year long (and not just for the pumpkin spiced lattes). To me it’s the perfect combination of hot (pitta) and cold (vata) my two dominant energies. And of course it makes sense that it’s governed by vata, the energy of change and movement, since it’s very much a transitional season.
I often think of it as the hallway between summer and winter, which comes with it’s own little set of mind, body challenges that, with the right amount of intention and preparation, can actually be an opportunity for learning about yourself, and what you need to shine through the most challenging parts of the year (and your life).
And since fall, winter, and whatever they usually bring with them are most definitely coming, let’s make this an opportunity to empower ourselves and, in the words of the ever vigilant Boy Scouts, be prepared!
The secrets to autumn thriving…
In the ayurvedic world, fall is considered vata season. It’s a time when the energy of movement and change swirl through the air like the cool wind, drying, distracting, stimulating and exhausting every part of you. But with just the right combinations of food, activities, and changes in your routine, you can feel nourished and inspired through the autumn and winter seasons rather than lackluster and depleted.
To that end, I’ve pulled together some of the best ayurvedic advice out there for achieving Autumn season balance. And have assembled it below to guide you through a smooth, warm, grounding, and balanced fall, and into a nourishing winter!
Diet & Routine advice to keep you centered
My autumn mantra is Grounding, warming, routine (cause I like to keep things simple). But Ayurveda has a host of wonderful advice on how to maintain balance through the autumn. Everything from the best diet to the perfect activities to the best time to go to bed. So I’ve gathered together a few of my favorite articles on autumn routine from some of the Ayurvedic greats (including one from me!). What else could you possibly need!
- Vata balancing foods for Fall, from the folks over at Maharishi Ayurveda you’ll find a list of foods to enjoy and avoid along with a few yummy recipes!
- Sebastian Pole, one of the founders of Pukka Herbals & Teas put together this awesome guide to autumn routines that includes suggestions for herbs and yoga poses to keep you balanced through the fall!
- Autumn in the north eastern United States is a spectacle of natural beauty (just ask the leaf peepers!). That’s why I always listen to what the folks over at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (located in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts) have to say about seasonal balance. This article gives some great suggestions for herbs to keep you balanced this fall as well as cleansing and lifestyle tips!
- Fall is a time for grounding, mind, body and spirit. As things begin to slow the opportunity is there to turn inward, reconnect, and gather your energy. People often wondering about the term grounding. What does it mean, what do you do… and why? So I wrote an article about it with a bunch of suggestions that will turn you into a grounding pro!
Fall can be a dry time of year. The ayurvedic mantra for vata skin is moisturize, revitalize. So check out this terrific vata skin balancing advice from the folks at Rasasara.
Exercise and movement
Best types of exercise and activities to keep your vata balanced are those that are focused and grounding without too much movement or variation and that build strength. That would include things like Tai Chi, Walking, short hikes and of course yoga.
Here’s a terrific guide to yoga for balancing vata. Good idea to consider changing up your usual yoga to include a little vata-balancing goodness this fall.
A day of Fall meal recipes
Figuring out what to eat anytime can be a challenge. Making choices based on the time of year, or more specifically the energy of the time of year and it’s potential impacts on your mind and body can be, well… daunting! So I’ve taken a little of the guess work (and anxiety) out of it! Here are a few of my favorite recipes for meals all day (including a snack!).
I’m a HUGE fan of carrot cake AND oats, so why not combine them into an inspired warming breakfast like this recipe from the lovely Faith over at an edible mosaic recipe blog.
I also thought this savory oats option was interesting and definitely a plus for vata’s looking for a little variety!
Ayurveda doesn’t usually recommend snacking, but it does recognize that sometimes snacking is necessary. In those times, especially in vata season, something unctuous (oily, moist) and otherwise nourishing would be in order. Dates filled with nut butter (I usually use almond or some combination of almond and cashew) is my goto snack during the fall and winter. I found this super simple recipe from Camilla over at Power Hungry along with the mouthwatering photo!
Buddha Bowls are the bomb! A great way to get all the tastes, textures and food groups you need (or want) in a single, luscious, and balanced hit! Here’s a fave of mine. It’s a hearty filling and delicious lunch that can be changed up to suit your mood, what’s in season or whatever you happen to have hanging around the house. Make sure to eat around the middle of the day. Autumn digestion can be a little fickle so eating as close to noon as possible means you’re agni will be firing on all cylinders.
Ayurveda says dinner should be taken light, and early. I think soup is a great dinner option for autumn. Here’s a lovely recipe for a soup that strikes a perfect balance between heavy and light, with all the flavors that will keep your vata happy!
Oh and a quick word of advice…
I know y’all love your smoothies, but cooler weather isn’t really time for too much cold, and heavy stuff. A great alternative would be something warming, a little oily, and spiced up just like my favorite Yogi Breakfast recipe (you can thank me later!).
The last, and arguably most important thing to prepare you for the autumn and winter ahead is to let go of the things that are not longer serving you. We move through our lives holding on to things for various reasons. The change of seasons is a great time to pause, take note of what’s holding you down or keeping you back, and bid it farewell.
Lighten Up… a little
Ayurveda recommends cleansing at the change of seasons for this very purpose. Fall season is great time to transform the energy of summer into something that will fuel you and keep you going through the winter. If you’re interested in trying out Ayurvedic cleansing I invite you to check out my Bliss Body Soul Cleanse. It’s a 10 Day Mind-Body detox that goes so much further than the average juice fast or colon cleanse!
So there you have it, everything you need for a balanced and blissful autumn season!
Got any tips for a great way to stay grounded this fall? What are your go to warming recipes or activities. I’d love to hear em (and I know I’m not alone). So please share your wisdom(or your questions) in the comments!