by Liza Bertini, co-founder of The Circle of Thread Yoga Community
Now that it is officially Autumn, days will continue to become shorter until the Winter Solstice, and with this increasing darkness, it is a perfect time to start shifting our energy inward. This is a perfect time for reflection, letting go, creating rituals, and self-care. It is also a time to celebrate your harvest which reflects the sacred nature of seeds that dramatically transform and manifest into riotous variety and sacred balance.
We instinctively know that maintaining balance in all aspects of our lives is important but sometimes our intentions get buried under the weight of our responsibilities and the busyness of everyday life. Sometimes we simply need a little reminder to get back in touch with our inner needs, creativity, and connection to self.
During Autumn, nature’s qualities shift into cold, dry, and windy, what Ayurveda refers to as Vata season. Vata consists mostly of the two elements air and space (also known as ether) and is generally described as cold, light, dry, rough, flowing, and spacious. By making diet and lifestyle choices that counter the effects of the season, bringing more balance and well-being to your life.
Here are 7 ways to help you transition into this new season with balance, intention, and health.
1. Modify your practices and rituals
When coming to your yoga mat, meditation cushion, or performing your regular rituals, think of these three qualities: grounding, warming and calming. Keep it gentle and slow, focus on stability and grounding poses (sitting poses, standing poses, forward bends, spinal twists, long savasana, Restorative, yoga nidra, yin), warming and calming breathing techniques, and more meditation.
2. Focus on a warming, nourishing diet
During this season our instincts to surround ourselves with coziness, warm drinks, comfort foods, scented candles, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom). All of these things help to warm the body and calm the nervous system. And Mother Nature provides us with foods to find balance with a heavier harvest – for example root vegetables. Use these to make stews! Eat a warm breakfast and drink warm teas. Avoid astringent, bitter, and pungent flavors such as raw, cold, dry, rough food.
3. Eat for immunity
Foods that reflect the season’s colors are most beneficial to our bodies during that time of the year. Autumn is a season for white foods such as root vegetables, pears, radish, onions, garlic, white beans, winter melon, tofu, cauliflower and jicama.
White foods are high in allicin, which reduces blood sugar and has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties purported to support the lungs and large intestine. Try also boosting your diet with foods that are naturally orange, red, yellow and deep greens – autumn-like colors. Think pumpkin, squash, oranges, carrots, lemons etc.
Supplements as also helpful to maintain a healthy immunity. (Please consult your healthcare professional before taking new supplements). Some effective supplements are:
Echinacea - This herb is known to support healthy immune function and plays a role in assisting the body with those dreaded winter ills and chills. Taking an Echinacea supplement can help support upper respiratory health and general wellbeing.
Zinc - supports healthy immune function, skin and general wellbeing.
Elderberries - are low in sugar, packed with antioxidants and provide acute immune system support that may reduce the severity of winter ills and chills.
Vitamin C - is an antioxidant that may support against the symptoms of winter ills and chills, and provides general health and wellbeing.
Vitamin D - some research shows that having healthy levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illnesses in general.
4. Take extra care of your skin due to the drying nature of this season
Try daily self-massage with warm sesame oil. Start with the soles of your feel and work up the body to the head in sweeping strokes along muscles, and circular movements around joints. Massage your belly in clockwise direction – up the right-side and down the left side.
Leave oil on for 10 minutes then shower or bathe. This dilates the skin surface, clear toxins, and aid movement of lymph. This practice is very grounding, warming and calming!
5. Keep to regular schedule
Instill structure in your day by maintaining a regular and consistent schedule for meals and sleep.
6. Increase stillness in your day
Take time to connect and reflect by journaling, meditating, or just simply sitting and breathing. Stop rushing and over scheduling.
Autumn is the time to reflect on all the blessings you’ve harvested this year. Summer was a season of abundance, joy & rich personal harvests. Remember your triumphs and feel proud of our accomplishments.
In autumn things begin dying. In order for new growth to occur in the spring, things must die in autumn. What do you need to let go of, to make room for new life and growth? What are your dreams for seeds of next year’s harvests?
Liza Bertini, E-RYT MS, E-RYT 500, YACEP®
Co Founder, General Manager, Teacher, Mentor Liza Bertini, MS, E-RYT 500, YACEP®, is a Co-Founder of The Thread Yoga Collective. Teaching and coaching is Liza’s life-calling and for the past 19 years, she has been mentoring, training, and creating experiences to help people live more healthy, mindful, and meaningful lives. Liza’s teaching is passionate, deliberate, light-hearted, and rooted in the belief that yoga reveals a deeper understanding of who we are. Liza loves bringing people together in community and has found that the power of yoga is amplified when we share and support each other on the path. The Thread Yoga Collective is an evolution of Liza’s desire to assist and support yoga teachers in bringing forth their best selves while creating thriving careers doing what they love most. Liza’s commitment is to share the very best of what she’s living and learning from her own journey plus time tested wisdom, mindfulness practices, thought-provoking ideas, and an unwavering devotion to help you live your most expansive, expressive and meaningful life. Liza lives in the Berkshires with her two greatest teachers, her 10-year-old twins, Luca and Delilah.