Of course the earth is turning or I wouldn't be writing this blog. We are moving with the earth towards the end of summer and heading into the cooler months of fall on the east coast where I live. We will begin to see changes in nature as we watch the leaves change into beautiful colors of red, orange and amber. The shadows cast by the sun will grow longer and the daylight hours will shorten as the earth turns inward toward rest and the cycles of nature follow the cycles of life.
What a miracle to witness the majesty, the power and at the same time the surrendering of the season in order to welcome in the next season. Can you allow yourself body, mind and spirit to be present for this unfolding? Can you rest your mind and feel the cycles of life in your being?
Our bodies are always speaking to us but especially during transition times like this. In the language of Auryeda we are moving from the dry, light, penetrating, sharp, qualities present in the summer season of Pitta into the Vata season of fall with its qualities of cold, dry, light and mobile. In Ayurveda we balance qualities by applying opposite qualities as like increases like. If we already have many of the vata qualities in our constitution and lifestyle such as dry and light these qualities will increase when they meet the dry and light qualities left in our bodies from the summer season of Pitta. The good news is that with awareness we can start some practices to help ease into this transition, to balance ourselves with the opposite qualities of grounding and stabilizing. Pay attention to your diet and lifestyle and make any necessary changes now to support this seasonal increase of the doshas.
First be aware of any dryness that may be starting in your body. Pitta, the season we are leaving, also has the qualities of dryness and lightness. The end of summer heat can dry you out which will only aggravate the quality of dryness in the Vata season. Be careful for instance of eating too much watermelon which is a natural diuretic and wonderful in the summer except in excess, which can cause internal dryness instead. This dryness in our bodies can cause bloating and constipation. It can cause your skin to develop rashes and become itchy. It can cause a difficulty in your mind with staying focused, and create a feeling of being scattered. It can even make seasonal allergies worse as the dryness taxes your GI tract and digestion.
First and foremost continue with your dinacharya (daily rituals) and if you haven't started one or have lapsed revisit them now as oiling will help greatly to slow the movement of Vata and assist in alleviating dry skin. Some of the dinacharya rituals I practice every day are: scraping the tongue upon waking, splashing the face with cool water, neti pot, nasya, drinking two glasses of warm water with lemon before yoga or breakfast, oiling with warm sesame oil.
Second check with your local farmer's market to see what fruits and veggies are growing now. I know peaches will be in season in the east as well as apricots and are wonderful in keeping the GI tract moist and moving. Also check out the pears about to ripen shortly. Follow nature, it knows what it good for us in the region we live in. Veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower are fresh and delicious in the late summer early fall months, as well as my all time favorite fennel. Play with spices that can aid your digestion such as cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Heat up a teaspoon of ghee or your favorite oil and toss in your spices for 30 seconds to release their energies and pour over your favorite veggies.
Third, take walks or exercise in the morning or evening right now so as not to over tax the body by excess sweating, which again can dry out your internal organs. Practice pranayama, and add in Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) if this isn't part of your practice already. Take a restorative or gentle yoga class along with any vinyasa or Hatha classes you are presently taking and practice gratitude in your daily mediation. Add grounding asanas to your daily yoga practice such as Tadasana (mountain pose) or squats; allowing yourself to ground into the stable, solid qualities of the earth beneath your feet even as the earth turns.
Set a reminder for yourself to take a break during your busy work day. to stop for 5 minutes and practice Dirgha pranayama, the three part yogic breath. Sit up tall, close your eyes and if helpful place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart and inhale filling the belly, the ribs and the chest; on the exhale release the breath first from the chest, ribs, then belly. Go easy never forcing the breath but allowing it to fill all 3 parts when ready. This breath helps to relieve stress by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system and to bring your focus inside.
Most importantly remember with a smile to enjoy the ride as the earth turns. It truly is glorious like you.