The Season on Autumn: A time of letting go, change, and a time of returning to self.
Walk and listen to the sound of the footsteps
Walking on the grass
Walking on fallen leaves
The sound of footsteps on gravel…
Breathe while listening…
Without any sense of hurry…
Listen to the sound of the breath and the footsteps
–Yoga through the seasons by Sandra Sabatini & Silvia Mori
Activity for the Spirit
Take a walk in a favorite natural place and experience the placement of each foot on the earth as you slowly walk in nature aware of your breath, your supportive skeleton and the sensations of your body in this movement. Your exhalation expresses the practice of letting go so you may receive again. Touch in with the sensations you experience and the emotions that present. Allow them to flow through and out of you.
At the end of your walk, breathe in, raise your arms up overhead and feel the Gratitude for all you have received in this experience and in your life. End with eyes closed, one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach returning to the constant rhythm of the breath. Feel and Relax!
Autumn brings a sadness for me as I let go of the beautiful bounty of the harvest and growing season, as I become aware of the fading heat and availability of sunlight. I let go of visiting friends and extensive travel. I feel the pull and invitation of my energy to begin the journey inward.
This autumn holds even more of these elements as I and my family prepare for our migration Southward to Virginia, our new home. How I will miss the familiar! Our home, our community, our friends, family and practice. The comfortable, predictable familiar!
As we sort through our material possessions we have carried with us so long, and pass them onto loved ones, it is bitter sweet. I am so very aware of the joy and sorrow as I let go to let in. As My life, as I know it, begins to die, I parallel the natural world. Holding the hope of rebirth in the new beginnings of Spring! It is only through this process that I can experience rebirth. I am willing and open to this experience. May I learn the Graceful ways as nature teaches me.
May the following Mind, Body and Spirit suggestions, ease you into your rebirth as you experience the transformative qualities of this season of letting go.
Love and Blessings to all,
Ideal Autumn Foods
Seasonal foods are best for our nourishment. Foods that will be of substance for the energy level of the body throughout the winter. Foods that are warming, grounding, and moist will offer balancing qualities in a dry time of year. Bitter and astringent foods such as cranberries, pumpkins, dark leafy greens, root vegetables. These foods will also help to release accumulated summer heat. Adding building foods like Coconut oil, oats, figs, and sesame seeds are ideal.
A Balancing Fall Spice Mix
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. ginger powder
In an iron skillet or heavy bottomed skillet, dry roast the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds using medium-low heat until you can detect their aroma in the air. Place seed to cool in a wide mouth bowl to cool completely.
Grind them to a uniform consistency using a grinder or mortar and pestle. Pour back the grind-ed seeds into the wide-mouth bowl and add the turmeric and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into an airtight storage container or spice shaker.
Add to foods and feel and enjoy the warming and nourishing qualities!
The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell
The Science of Life
The snowflakes twinkle with a soft glow as I tilt my head up towards the sky to feel them as they land gently on my skin. I feel the wetness created as they are heated and change states. The silence and stillness around me help me to focus on the moment, this time of transformation and stark beauty.
For me winter holds a melancholy feeling. I begin remembering the loss of people, places and things. I long for the familiar, the ease of certainty. Why do things have to change?
How can I embrace change as the snowflake? How can I remember the balance of letting go and letting in? When I am willing to let go of the past, a newness floods in. I am recreated! New loved ones, experiences, and circumstances allow me to grow in different directions and stretch beyond what I ever thought possible.
When I remember this principle, I appreciate the tempering this season offers in all ways. Great opportunities to come in the Spring of a new time.
Namaste (I honor the light and Divinity within us), Debbie
Debbie Vigneri, Devoted body worker, student of Ayurveda, Student and Instructor of Yoga and Health Coach
May you have great ease as you let go, may you grow and flourish beyond your wildest dreams. May the information and suggestions offered here benefit you in every way.
Seasonal Foods as Medicine
The environment provides nourishment, health and sustainability. What types of seasonal foods are available that provides health, well-being and energy?
- Starchy and root vegetables (potatoes and squash)
- Wintry weather greens: sea vegetables, kale, collards, chard. Artichokes later in the winter
- Warming Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, cumin, salt, black pepper, chilies, and vinegar in moderation, unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup, raw honey and molasses
- Warmed and spiced milk (cow’s or goat’s), and yogurt
- Raw or roasted nuts and nut butters
- Moisture filled grains, such as wheat, brown rice, and oats (cooked with extra water)
- Fruits that are heavy, moist and have building qualities such as, oranges, bananas, dates, figs, papayas, mangoes, grapefruits, and lemons (in late winter)
Proteins, such as lentils, small beans, tofu, eggs, and most meats
Winter Spice Recipe:
(from: Kate O”Donnell: The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, pg. 269)
Providing the balancing tastes of salty, sweet and sour. These spices induce warmth and movement of prana (energy/circulation)
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp., turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. pink salt
- To taste cinnamon powder (1/2-1 tsp.) or i/2 tsp. sugarcane
- 1 tsp. ginger powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper (optional)
In a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet, dry roast coriander and cumin seeds (only for 2 mins. or less until their scent is in the air). Set aside to cool. When thoroughly cooled combine with other ingredients and grind (with hand grinder or mortar and pestle). Store in a recycled glass spice shaker or glass container with a tightly fitting lid to preserve freshness.
- Dress Warmly protecting ears and neck from the sharpness of the cold, wind and cold temperatures
- Swab the nostrils and ears (outer) with sesame oil
- Use a humidifier in sleeping space at night
- Sit in a steam room or in a hot bath
- Moderate motion such as, yoga, dancing or walking
Self-massage with warming sesame oi in the morning and if needed at night. Heat your oil and mix a favorite essential oil to further enhance relaxation of the nervous system (para-sympathetic branch of the central nervous system). Start at your feet and work your way up toward the head. Arms and legs receive long strokes, circular motion at joints, abdomen and scalp. After at least 20 mins. take a hot shower to facilitate passage of the oil applied, into the pores of the skin for deep penetration. Avoid using soap and blot dry the skin.
Practice sitting quietly after some Mindful Motion Yoga, and sense the breath. By growing the length of your exhalation, your body will now sense a calmness and enter into the para-sympathetic nervous system (the energy or prana can be directed to resting and digesting). Follow our video for the technique specifics.
Mindful Motion Yoga
Due to the elements (air and ether) that make-up this season, grounding and connecting to the earth for a sense of stability is essential to establishing balance. With each posture, practice deep, complete breathing.
View our videos on YouTube for the following suggested daily postures (asanas):
“Every body can do yoga!”
- Goat Pose (grounding and direction of energy downward for stability, strengthens the legs and adds to lower body circulation of energy/prana)
- Yoga Mudra (alleviates constipation, lifts the mood, eases sciatica, low back discomfort and headache tension)
- Bridge Pose (relieves back pain)
The fruiting energy of summer!
Of the ten thousand trees
Along the banks of the river
The apricots have just come into flower
In the wind of a night
Summer is the season of bright light, heat, activity and abundance. Nature invites us to come and play in the garden of life! Long, hot days and the abundance of fruit entice us to feel the support of our world and the call to thrive and bask in health and well-being. Numerous health studies indicate that this vital connection to nature is beneficial to us physically emotionally and mentally.
Balancing Summer Foods
- *zucchini, broccoli, leafy vegetables, celery, green beans, and fennel root) are all bitter and astringent
- *Lighter dairy products that are sweet (milk, and ghee – clarified butter)
- *Quinoa, basmati rice and barley, grains that are light and neutral (in acidity)
- *Grapes, pomegranates, melons, limes and fruits that are sweet, cooling and neutral
- *Coconut products (water, milk, meat, sugar)
- *Mung beans, tofu, and lean white meats and fish)
- *Cooling spices and herbs, such as fennel seed, coriander, cilantro, cardamom, mint, and turmeric and aloe juice
Cooling, calming, and slightly dry
May you feel and absorb the energy of this season in every way that feeds and nourishes you! May you thrive and flourish!
Shanti Shanti Peace and Blessings, Debbie
The Season of Heat
To keep cool (especially if you tend to run hot) consider trying the following:
- *Avoid the heat of the day (12-3pm)
- *Wear light colors to reflect the light
- *use a straw hat to keep the head cool, and the delicate tissues of the face and neck protected (apply sunscreen to protect the body)
- *Expose the eyes and skin to the early morning light
- *Choose cooling physical activity especially water play (swimming)
- *Take walks under the light of the moon
- *Avoid spicy hot foods
- Sip coconut water or fruit water (cut up fruit into water), and Drink room temperature or cool water
- *take short naps
- *Take cool baths and showers
- *eat light, cool, and watery foods
- *massage the skin with coconut oil scented with cooling peppermint essential oil
- *Avoid overextending or scheduling, increase play and down-time
A cooling refreshing drink that will calm irritable and overheated moods
3 cups of water
¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/3 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tbsp. coconut sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp. hot water
Mix together all the ingredients in a small pitcher or 32 oz. glass.
Serve in 2 tall glasses that are chilled or place juice in the refrigerator to slightly chill.
Enjoy and savor the coolness!
Intentional Yoga Summer Moves
Breath of Cooling Green
Find a safe and quiet space in nature where you can take a small circular walk barefoot in the grass. As you breathe allow your feet to step feeling all the sensations in your feet and body. Imagine breathing the energy of the earth through your feet and up through the body and out of the crown of the head. As thoughts come to mind, acknowledge then and detach, allowing them to drift away as if they were fluffy clouds in the most beautiful summer sky. Come back to the sensations of the breath and the body. Enjoy this meditative and connecting walk for at least 5 minutes.