September is often seen as the beginning of the fall season and is considered a “joint season” in Ayurveda, because it is a vulnerable time of year when it’s easy to catch a cold or get sick if your life is moving too fast or is out of balance. Slowing down from a busy, fun summer full of adventure and travels is not always as easy as it sounds, but is often necessary as we start experiencing less daylight, less warmth, and less vacation time! Ayurveda is a system that believes in preventative healthcare over treating patients after they get sick, so here a few ideas how to start a fall routine with prevention in mind.
1. Simplify your diet. Enjoy three warm, square, well-balanced, easy-to-digest meals each day (the composition of which will be different for everyone based on their Ayurvedic constitution). Consider doing a short cleanse or eating Kitcheri one day a week for the next four weeks to clean up your diet.
2. Abhyanga (oil massage). Offer yourself frequent oil massages before your morning shower or evening bath to help calm and soothe the nervous system from the stress around transitions. If you want to splurge, treat yourself to a few massages this fall with your local Ayurvedic practitioner.
3. Meditate. Consider adding a regular meditation practice (standing or sitting) to your morning, no matter what! Your practice could be as short as five to ten minutes to start, increasing the time after you are successful with five to ten minutes for two weeks or more. The concentration and focus required to meditate can be extremely healthy and beneficial in reducing stress or anxiety around new routines or seasons.
4. Asanas & Pranayama. Create a short or long routine that warms up your muscles and joints, enhances circulation, and decreases inflammation in and around your organs. Exercise and pranayama are both proven to decrease stress and improve digestion. And, strengthen your home practice with Yoga for the Seasons, Fall Vinyasa. Practice five days a week for at least one month to establish your new routine.
5. Balance. Practice moderation in life! Moderation is a valuable key to get you through transitions without getting sick. Keep an eye on how you spend your time and energy at work, in your social life, on the computer, and while spending money. Is this sustainable? If not, practice saying no for the next four weeks to establish stronger boundaries and create space to nourish yourself.
6. Creativity. Do something creative every day! Write a short poem or song, take a picture, draw, or paint, cook something new, start knitting or sewing, or anything to wake up your muse. When your muse is alive and in your life, there will be more energy and joy to bring to work, parenting, teaching, continuing education, and connecting to other inspiring beings.
Melina Meza, BS Nutrition, E-RYT 500, has been exploring the art and science of yoga and nutrition for over 18 years. She combines her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, whole foods nutrition, and healthy lifestyle promotion into a unique style called Seasonal Vinyasa. Her devotion to yoga and eating well, to teaching and nutritional counseling, and to traveling and experiencing different cultures combine to create a colorful and enlightening perspective from which to share that which she loves about yoga in its entirety. Meza is the author of the Art of Sequencing books and Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD. www.melinameza.com