Welcome to Fall....
At last… Fall has arrived….We celebrated the Autumnal Equinox with special treats for all of my students in my classes at the Caldwell YMCA. I was looking back at the blog I wrote about Fall a couple of years ago… decided it was very appropriate for what I wanted to say…. So here it is again….
“The celestial events that marks this transition is called an “equinox” and it happens twice every year, around March 21st and Sept. 21st.; (here in Idaho, about 8:30am on Thursday, the 22nd). Equinox, literally means “equal night”…. So the days and nights are (approximately) equal in time. This is a time of reflection, of slowing down and of transition.
I love this time of year, as we wind down from summer and transition into Fall. The days become shorter and the rhythm shifts and the light and heat begin to subside. In order to stay in “sync with our environment” (As Ayurvedic traditions encourage us to do) we need to be mindful of the changes in the season, in our bodies and mind and focus on keeping our constitutions (doshas) balanced. Autumn is dominated by the “Vata dosha” (consisting of ether and air elements). It represents the mobile force of the universe and in our bodies, it’s responsible for all activities that involve movement. Thus, locomotion, digestion, circulation, respiration, elimination, communication, sensory and motor function, cardiac function and nervous system impulses are all governed by the Vata. Vata in the mind is responsible for emotions that include enthusiasm, joy, clarity, creativity, fear, worry and anxiety. The Fall season is characterized by cold, windy and dry weather. As our external environment changes, it increases vata in our own internal environment. And if the vata goes out of balance, so do the vata qualities. When the vata dosha is healthy, the qualities of optimal health, stability, creative enthusiasm and excitement for life, are in a balanced state. We use the tools that are available to us in the form of lifestyle changes, dietary, herbal, colors, aromas, and mantras, to keep the vata from getting out of balance as our external environment changes.
We encourage a stable routine in our lifestyle to maintain health during the fall season; regular exercise, eating, sleeping and waking at the same time, can promote good physical and emotional health during this dry and cold season. Warm, cooked foods; warm drinks, such as hot milk or ginger/cinnamon/basil tea also have an immediate balancing effect on vata. Exercise that promotes warm, steady and gentle movements are best, holding each pose or posture in yoga or Pilates for a short amount of time, but doing multiple repetitions and movements that increase core stability are best. I like to focus on being grounded and creating stability in the body with our yoga practices and in Pilates that are strengthening, but not draining or depleting of our energies. Practicing ‘Alternate Nostril breathing’, and Ujjayi pranayama can encourage balance by providing warmth and stability in the body and mind. During the fall season and for the overactive vata mind, meditation is one of the best ways to be grounded and find calm and stillness.”
I’m looking forward to a change of pace, as my daughter returns home from living overseas for the past 2 years, so my Bed & Breakfast will go on hiatus while she is home. We are celebrating her return with an old fashioned “Weinie Roast” outside with lots of warms cocoa, tea and mulled wine. There is plenty of bread baking and warm comfort food coming out of my kitchen this time of year. As my husband will celebrate his big “60th” birthday in a few days, that is reason enough to get back into the kitchen and begin the baking process. I will be hosting a coffee mixer here at my home on Friday, the 30th of September for a friend who has also changed some direction in her life and is pursuing her own business and will share some of her insights and new healthy options with coffee, tea and ‘weight loss’ shakes when all of my gal pals from the Y will gather here at 2pm for an afternoon of coffee sipping. Feel free to join us!
Enjoy this transition from summer to winter…. We call it Fall! Re-direct, get grounded and re-connect with friends and family… and especially come connect with us at the Caldwell YMCA when you have a chance.