We’ve crossed the threshold into a quiet season. The days are clipped and the sunlight is filtering through a golden late autumn screen. It is cooler now and the nights are long. This piece is an introduction to gently warming practices to keep inner fires burning comfortably – not too hot, just right – as we dip into the end of the year. Here are some simple ideas for your daily routine, your kitchen, and a reminder to keep it all light on the outside too.
Move gently and focus on stretches and postures that lubricate your joints without pushing your edges too much. Ayurveda talks of the autumn season as being a time when cooling, drying winds stir up old pains both in the body and the mind. When planning your morning movement, think of softening crunchy edges and bringing fluidity to your system. Try mellowing out your moves and work with shapes that inspire slow, steady release of the spine, hips, and shoulders. If you are looking for inspiration, check out our recent blog where Alice gives great insight into some particularly perfect postures for the season.
If meditation isn’t already a part of your daily thing, there is no time like the present to integrate a short sit, everyday. Meditation needn’t be anything fancy, just a reminder that you are – right in the middle of your life – wholly capable of wrangling your mind back into calm and a state of peace, just by taking pause and doing less for a bit. Try a forgiving practice of noticing thoughts and releasing them like autumn leaves that blow, crinkling, into the wind. And always remember that though there is much in life you cannot control, your participation with and perception of it all is totally yours to own. Dr. Vasant Lad from the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque says “each singular breath has the power to change your thinking, just as each singular thought has the power to change your breathing.” You decide.
Mush = mellow to process. Eat warm, well-cooked foods that speak to easy digestion and coziness from the inside out. Try this recipe for kitchari if you wish, a classic Ayurvedic rice and mung dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and nourishes the internal organs of digestion with warming spices like cinnamon, clove, and ginger in a delicious brew of mush.
Breathe slowly. Make your exhalation longer than your inhalation. Practice three to five minutes of extending exhalations and allowing inhalations to be passive, even spontaneous, especially if you feel a rush to button up and scurry about preparing for winter. Slowing down the release portion of the breath might help bring back into perspective the steady passage of time, and that you have all the space and time you need to do all the things that need done.
Wear colors that make you happy as color is a perfect metaphor for perception of the world. It seems simple, perhaps even frivolous, but color therapy might be of service as the season shifts. Plus, finding hues that speak to you and reflect the metamorphosis at work beneath the surface of the crisp falling away season might inspire some active looking for the good. You could bemoan the process, watching a velvety rainbow of this year’s abundant growing season turn sadly brown. Or, look around to see the richness of autumn’s transition as brilliant golds turns to ocher, then mustard, rust to chestnut. In the desert, you can always look up and out for inspiration to the vast, brilliant azure sky. Thank you for doing your work, I’m right here beside you.
Peace for now,