This is a guest post from Lifestyle patient Caitlin Rose.
As the seasons change, we must change too. Not just in your typical understanding of dressing warmer and finding more indoor activities, but in the way that we practice self-care as well. In Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old medical system from India, we refer to fall as Vata season. A season of change, movement and lack of stability. With that comes the qualities of dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile. Focusing on preventing disease, Ayurveda says that we first must not add to the imbalances we are experiencing, such as adding more of these qualities into our lives, and second we should work to balance these imbalances with their opposites.
Vata is one of the most influential energies in nature as well as within the human body and mind, as it is responsible for all movement. We can start to see the imbalances it causes this time of year in feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and stress. Physically we see these imbalances as indigestion, lack of mental clarity, excessive occupation of time, insomnia, constipation and variable appetite. Ayurveda is different from western medicine in many ways, but one of the most important aspects is that as it looks at each individual as a unique combination of the five elements. Starting with this foundation, Ayurveda aims to cultivate health and well-being holistically; caring for the body, mind, and soul. Here are some changes we can all make to stay balanced this fall!
Diet: With the qualities of dry, light and cold in mind; we want to first eliminate raw or uncooked foods and work to add grounding, warm, cooked foods into every meal. This is a great time to add more fats and oils into your diet, especially Ghee, as well as more root vegetables and grains. Try to limit your intake of iced beverages, packaged foods and the flavors of bitter, astringent and pungent. Embrace the soups, stews, and casseroles! (When we start to think about the simplicity here, it becomes very simple. During a time of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and stress, bring on the comfort foods!)
Lifestyle: With all the movement around us, busy schedules, unpredictable weather and nature breaking down, it becomes more important that even to find a routine, a rhythm. The best thing we can do for ourselves right now is finding a routine that can help us feel grounded. Try to find consistency in when you wake up, go to bed, eat your meals, exercise and socialize. On top of that, tis the season for some extra self- care. Think comforting and warm! Treat yourself to a massage (Lifestyle Chiropractic’s team always knows how to put me back together), a steam room, hot yoga, longer showers, a day at the spa or a grounding meditation practice.
Movement: As the days become short and the temperatures drop, don’t forget to stay warm. Keep moving! Try to emphasize grounding, strong and slow practices. We could always stand to find some more awareness is any activity that we do, but this time of year it is especially important to slow down enough to really arrive in the movement that you are taking. Yoga? Hold your posses an extra breath… or five. Run? Work on distance over speed. Lifting? Try lighter, longer reps? There are many ways that we can slow down, and who knows, maybe it might be a challenging change of pace.
Overall, this is the time of year to slow down where ever we can; even if it’s just for a single breath to be more mindful. Pay attention to how you feel, before it turns into a total meltdown. Practice mindfulness and self-care and allow the comforting meals of fall be your medicine.