A lot of us are feeling sick, tired, anxious, or just kind of “off” these days. It’s no wonder, given that we’re in the heart of a transitional season right now. We all love the fall, but our bodies require different upkeep and attention than they do in other months. Thankfully, we can use wisdom from yoga and Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science that is based on the balancing of bodily systems) to attend to our specific needs this time of year.
We can understand what’s going on in our internal bodies by looking at what’s happening in nature right now. Leaves are changing colors as they prepare to drop from their branches, winds are picking up, the temperature is dropping, and days are shorter. In simplest terms, nature is processing and releasing the heat of the summertime in preparation for winter. Our bodies are trying to do the same thing, but our modern lifestyles often get in the way of this. It can be an especially hard time of year for us if we spent the summer doing things that create excess heat, such as: playing in the sun every day, pushing ourselves to physical extremes, drinking tequila around a campfire, socializing endlessly, hardly sleeping, listening to loud music, having a fiery summer romance, moving around from place to place, etc.
When our bodies are having difficulty releasing these things, it can cause a variety of issues like sickness, skin breakouts, bloating, sore muscles and joints, irritability, anxiety, feeling scatter-brained, sleep disruption, etc. To put it simply, the inability to process heat can cause inflammation.
Here are some simple yoga and Ayurveda-inspired tips to help balance and support our bodies this time of year. No need to change your entire life around here—just incorporating one of these things into your day can make a big difference. Have fun with it!
Eat seasonal foods: Incorporating seasonal foods into your diet is a great way to support your body during the Fall. You probably already know what these are: sweet potatoes, apples, squash, dates, avocados, beets, tangerines, garlic, onions, citrus, and nuts/seeds. You could even do a fall cleanse (um no, nothing involving fasting or maple syrup). A cleanse could be as simple drinking an extra glass or two of water during the day, eating more seasonal foods, having tea before bed, or cutting back on things that cause inflammation like processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, meat, and Donald Trump.
Media: Speaking of Donald Trump, for many of us this Fall is feeling particularly hard on our bodies because of the election, regardless of your personal politics. You can still stay informed about the happenings of the world without watching 18 YouTube videos of Hillary Clinton’s face superimposed over someone breakdancing. To keep yourself from getting sucked into the vortex of election media, limit your time watching the news, surfing the internet, and on social media.
Socializing: In the summertime, I’m a social butterfly. Meeting new people and spending every moment with my friends feels supportive. But once fall hits, I naturally need more alone time. Being around big groups of people or people I don’t know can also feel draining this time of year. If you feel like this too, don’t force yourself to go to any social events you’d rather not attend. Instead, spend time with your best friends and give yourself moments (or days!) to just be alone. Quiet activities like reading, making art, and listening to calming music are all activities that we naturally crave in the fall.
Rituals and routines: Our bodies and minds thrive off of routine this time of year. That doesn’t mean you have to change your life around—it can be as simple as creating a morning/evening ritual, writing for ten minutes on your lunch break, or mediating at the same time every day.
Sleep: You’ll likely notice that you need more sleep these days than you did in the summer in order to feel rested. If you can, head to bed a little earlier each night, even if it’s just by five minutes. You can help your brain get ready for sleep by avoiding stimulating things after the sun goes down, such as: bright lights, computer/phone screens, overwhelming conversations, heavy exercise, sugar, caffeine, etc.
Especially for athletes: Have you noticed that in the summer, you can wake up, run 20 miles, climb 15 pitches, drink beer all night with your friends, and then wake up the next day feeling totally recovered and ready to do it again? But then when we try to do that in the fall, we end up sore, exhausted, or even injured. That’s because our bodies tend to be more sensitive this time of year, especially when it comes to physical activity. That doesn’t mean you can’t go climbing or train, but you will likely need to spend more time warming up and recovering from your workouts. Before you even pull on to the wall, make sure your body feels warm and that your breath is moving well. And don’t forget to stretch, drink lots of water, and use your foam roller/lacrosse ball after your session.
Meditation and Yoga: Meditation is a great way to support yourself during this seasonal transition. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just sit comfortably with your eyes closed for a few minutes every day and see what happens. For physical yoga (or any physical activity) long, slow sequences of medium intensity are especially supportive this time of year. If you want a custom yoga sequence that’s unique to your needs and aligned with this season, don’t hesitate to contact me! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
And if you have any questions about any of this, get in touch! I love chatting about this stuff 🙂
All my love,
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