Dear Ayurvedic Abbie is a feature where you ask Abbie your most important ayurveda-related questions. Anything goes! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and your question may be in the next issue!
I call this time of year “Blue Fall.” Why do I feel blue every time Autumn comes around? I love the color of the leaves and the start of the football season, but somehow I always feel a little weepy. Would seasonal cleansing help me with this?
Dear Blue Fall,
I hear ya! For years I felt melancholy every Autumn. While I love the bright colors of the leaves— I live in New England, lucky me!— and the kids going back to school, I use to get a bit nostalgic and feel the need to take extra time getting my daily activities done. This is often what happens when we feel “blue”— we take a little more time to savor and become more aware of how our feelings are connected to our behaviors and the environment.
Ayurveda acknowledges that Ritu charya (seasonal change in our routines) is important to pay attention to, as we are part of nature and reflect the same elements in our body and mind.
When the heat leaves— as it does in nature when the leaves look as if they are on fire— what is left is very light, dry, hard and can blow away with ease. As we move from Summer (Pitta Dosha) to Autumn and early Winter (Vata Dosha), we are also moving from intensity to dispersement, from hyper-awareness and singular focus to a more floating and multi-focused energy. This can be a time of letting go and moving on.
Ayurveda has a lot to offer us to navigate these seasonal changes: food lists, pranayama, asana, deep relaxation and dinacharya (daily routine). I call these changes our “Seasonal Glitches”. Here are some ways I help myself transition, and be kind to myself when the residue of grief or letting go makes me a bit blue and I naturally slow down.
KT’s Top 5 Tips to Navigate the Pitta to Vata Transition without the Blues
- SLOW DOWN! Yep, this is the first step to a smooth transition from Summer to Autumn.
- Detach from sensory overstimulation. Let yourself have time and space to move through feelings and let them go. This means less TV or computer, and more walks (keep your ears covered from the wind!) to spend time in nature.
- Decrease processed foods in your diet and eat the bounty of the season! Use yummy warming spices and take special care to savor every bite.
- Practice restorative yoga daily. Even one or two supported poses that allow you to rest in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes will help you to surrender the mind and body, and aid in your seasonal transition.
- Use warm oil to massage your body before bathing. I like to use warming and calming aroma therapy in my sesame oil. If that oil is too heavy, sweet almond oil is a lovely option.
Don’t worry Blue Fall! This is a natural season to feel melancholy, but allowing yourself to move through those feelings will help you flow into the season of Vata with greater ease and resiliency. Autumn cleansing is about making space to rejuvenate and bring sweetness, softness, moisture and love to each cell in your body. Remember, you are of value, resilient, adaptable and deeply loved.