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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Into Balance

Fall is my favorite season, even though my already abundance of Vata goes haywire if I am not careful. With each change of season we all react in various ways, but nature usually takes over giving us the signals our body and mind need to keep us balanced, however, most of us ignore the innate signals due to habit and lack of awareness.

Ayurveda teaches that our constitutional make-up changes with the seasons and so should our habits. It’s natural for us to change our clothing and adjust the temperature of our houses and occasionally we may even have the urge for warmer or cooler foods when appropriate , but many of us do not understand how important this truly is! Being that most of us are focused on the physical self, we underestimate that the changes of season also significantly impact our energetic body as well, sending us in mood swings we think are out of our control.

So, how can we alter our lifestyle a bit to stay balanced during the changing seasons? If we take the steps to alter our diet and activities we choose, we can help ourselves transition with the changing seasons with grace.

So, what’s happening? In the Fall, Vata which is composed of air/ether is high and if out of balance our skin can become dry, constipation is more prevalent, the mind restless with anxiety, and/or depression, and we become more prone to colds or the flu. When balanced, Vata is full of creativity and mentally sharp.

Here are some recommendations to keep you healthy and help ward off those nasty colds and feelings of nervousness and depression that can occur during the Fall:

Chow ON (Think Warm and Grounding)

Do note that all diets should be in-season and adjusted for your individual constitution, so what I write here is simply a guide)

Drink warm liquids: like tea, warmed milk, chai, lassi
Sour Fruits: Cherries, cranberries, apples etc…
Vegetables: sweet potatoes, peas, beets, carrots, eggplant, squash, peppers (not green), artichokes, green beans, yams.
All nuts are groovy.
Grains: Cream of wheat, rice, pasta
Protein sources such as eggs, fish and white meat are good.

Foods to reduce: Dry cereals, cold or iced foods, barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, dried fruits (raisins are fine when soaked in water first. Dates are fine.), and Raw Salads (I know, this one is tough)

Fall Practices/Activities
Abhyanga or Daily self-massage with a warm oil (I keep mine in a bottle and warm it and put it on before I shower). Use oils such as sesame, olive, or almond
Yoga Asana

Asana For a Healthy Immune System!*

Twists act as a tournaquit massaging and rejuvenate immune organs and channels.

Inversions such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose) improve the flow of the sinuses and help flush mucous from the lungs. A favorite of mine is Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose) Forward Bends do the same thing!

Backbends are lung openers like Ustrasana (Camel pose)

Restorative Yoga poses can provide healing benefits during low periods of energy often experienced during the Fall and Winter

*If you have any injuries, please consult your doctor or an experienced yoga teacher before practicing.