The lungs and large intestine correspond to fall, along with change and old age, so it’s important to have extra awareness in keeping these organs healthy this season. Lungs open to the nose, control breathing, the skin (including the opening and closing of the pores), and our inspiration, while the large intestine rules elimination and how we flow with life.
The Ayurvedic dosha that is most active in the fall is Vata. Vata means “that which moves things” and boy can it, especially the mind and nervous system! Vata is made up of air and space, and its qualities are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear. Vata is aggravated by the 3 tastes: pungent, astringent and bitter and Calmed by the 3 tastes: sweet, salty and sour (in moderation, of course). Being composed of the air and space elements, the very essence of Vata is prana, or our vital life force. Vata pretty much describes fall so in looking to stay balanced this fall season we can use Ayurveda’s tools for balancing Vata.
When Vata is over expressed in the system it can manifest as crackly joints, dry skin, poor circulation, anxiety, emotional insecurities, nervousness, fear, ungrounded-ness, depression, loneliness, indecisiveness, unreliableness, agitation, noisiness, disruptive/unfocused, and self-destructiveness. Remember the universe, our minds, souls, and bodies speak to us in subtle ways first and only get louder and more expressive when we don’t make the changes we are being guided to make…….it is our choice and responsibility to take proper action on our awareness.
When Vata is in balance it can be experienced as an enthusiasm for life, inspiration, creativity, love for travel, activeness, fluid movement in the joints, body, mind, and life, grounded-ness, security and belonging-ness, deeper connection to spirit, an open mind, clarity, and Joy. Vata in balance is bliss.
Let’s look at some of the things we can do this fall to be in balance and experience the gifts that fall, and life, offers us
Food & Herbs
Fall is a good time to store some of your energy and eat more warming foods to protect the digestive fires from the cold winter that is next in the cycle of life. Keep your immunity strong by eating mostly cooked foods, root vegies, winter squash, barley, rice, more protein, roasted foods, warm drinks, and spices like garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger to support the lungs and alleviate dampness. Remember sugar depletes the immune system. Excessive intake of cooling and dampening foods (like greasy foods, pastries, raw foods, frozen drinks, dairy) can cause coughs or upper respiratory tract infections. Fall is a great time of year to start your mornings with a bowl of warm oatmeal with ghee (clarified butter), cinnamon, and stewed apples.
Ashwagandha! As some of you know I Love Ashwagandha, it has been a true blessing and support through my most challenging transitions so far in life. In Ayurveda Ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded and commonly used adaptogen. So if you are looking for a supportive and healthy way to help reduce stress give Ashwagandha a try. It helps the body adapt to stress without unwanted stimulation, and supports natural sleep cycles by helping the body to maintain adequate energy levels so it may calm itself down and enjoy a rest sleep. During the day, it helps support the immune system and musculoskeletal systems, both of which may be compromised by stress.
Elderberry Syrup and Elixirs are beneficial during this season. Elderberry potions help our bodies disarm the virus and flush it through the body quicker, strengthening the mucous membranes, improving energy, calms the body, and tastes yummy……you can put it in oatmeal, on your pancakes, take it by the spoonful or get creative.
Elderberry syrup is one of the most popular cold remedies in Europe. Elder has been used for centuries and is one of the most well documented herbs for colds and flus.
As with your food please make sure that you acquire your herbs from a trusted source that offers integrity and respect for nature and the gifts she offers our bodies so we may flow with greater ease and harmony on this Earth. I invite you to watch my YouTube video on Eating consciously and honoring your food.
What we purchase and give our time and attention to is what we support……….honor the value in that.
Whether given to yourself or from another both offer a closer connection to your body, soften your tight muscles and nourish dried out joints while unblocking stagnation in the muscles, to allow proper circulation of nutrients and oxygen and the body. An afternoon or evening oil massage can help improve your quality of sleep. Also remember dry brushing is a great way to prepare the skin for oil massage and support the Lymphatic System.Daily Self-Massage: In Sanskrit, the name for oil is “Sneha” which is also the word for love. Daily self-oil massage is an offering of loving practice to your body and after some practice you may find it easier to accept yourself just as you are. Try to work abhyanga (oil massage into your schedule once a week and see how that small but powerful change makes a difference in how you feel. For a stronger effect commit to doing abhyanga every day for just one week. Instructions are posted on my blog
.Professional Massage: Offers relaxation, restoration, and mental calmness. Massage also helps us feel more centered in our bodies and increases range of motion giving more clarity and fluidity as we move through life.
The king of Ayurvedic therapies for the mind and for achieving optimum mental balance and peace. Warm herbal oil is poured over the 3rd eye calming the mind and nervous system while nourishing the hair and scalp. Shirodhara is an excellent way to calm high Vata in the mind, it can improve attention and help with headaches and other bodily muscle tension by calming the nerves. Many experience, for the first time in a long time that their mind becomes quiet and the unease of anxiousness goes away. Please call me if you’d like to experience a Shirodhara session.
Neti & Nasya
Neti and Nasya make a perfect pair to help keep the sinuses open, nourished, free, and the mind calm. Dry sinuses are easily irritated by pollutants, pollens and dry air resulting in excess reactive mucus production and an endless cycle of congestion and post nasal drip. Neti is a nasal irrigation technique that uses saline to decrease nasal secretions and rinse and de-congest the sinuses. Nasya is the administration of herbalized nasal drops into the nostrils to cleanse, lubricate, purify and repair the sinuses while calming the mind. Instructions are posted on my blog.
These should be warm, grounding, and soothing this season. Good E.O.’s this fall are Bergamot, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Silver Fir, Frankincense, Rose Geranium, Ginger, Jatamansi, Lavender, Mandarin, Palo Santo, Patchouli, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang. The lungs and skin are the ways we absorb essential oils, use them aromatically or on the body mixed in a carrier oil/lotion.
Keep your neck protected from the cold winds as this can create tension and make you more susceptible to catching a cold/flu, wear layers, enjoy a hot bath (with a an aromatherapy bath burst or salts), light some candles to warm the room, bring in the warming jewel tone colors of fall to your home and wardrobe, keep warm during your sleep avoiding cool air from blowing on you, and of course enjoy a warm oil massage.
Breathe work and meditation
Our breath has the ability to return us to a more balanced and centered place, it can assist your body in reducing blood pressure, slowing your heart rate, and eliminating toxins more quickly.
Deep breathing promotes energy flow, blood flow, and overall health. It helps make the body feel safe.
Deep breathing also oxygenates the system, provides a gentle massage to our internal organs allowing adhesion’s to release, and increases circulation.
When our body is calm and we are aware of the thoughts we are tuning into we can more clearly feel how the words we speak resonate with our bodies and just how powerful they are……they send a vibration, a ripple effect out……breath, enjoy a moment of stillness, tune in, and feel yours. Visit my Blog for an easy Breathwork Meditation, visit one of my classes in the Salt Room or at Galaxy Pilates, or watch my YouTube video on Alternate Nostril Breathing or Meditation on the Senses.
A yoga practice during fall/Vata time of year should be one creating warmth, serenity and nourishment. Practice at a slow, smooth and steady pace. Draw into and move from your power center or hara. Focus on the foundation of the pose to create stability. Do not over extend or deplete yourself, your practice should be strengthening, not draining as it is much easier to exhaust yourself in fall. Be present in your practice, stay warm, and conclude your practice with a long relaxation. Visit one of my Salt room classes.
Lung and Large Intestine support
If you suffer from constipation spending extra time on your abdomen during your self-massage practice will encourage regular elimination of stools. Daily oil massage encourages the soft release of these muscles, bringing ease back to your bowel movements.
Grief and Sadness are housed in the lungs while how we are flowing with life can be seen in the large intestine. Connect to and get to the root of any grief and sadness that surfaces embracing, acknowledging, and letting go, without projecting them onto your current moments. Look at your elimination and be honest with yourSelf on how you are flowing in your life.
Our lungs can weaken and build excess mucous during the fall from the air and when we indulge in cooling foods or activities. Keep the lungs and colon protected from the dryness of fall, they both need lubrication to protect against the cool dry outer air as this will help keep dry coughs, stuffy noses, sinus infections, and constipation from manifesting. Neti and Nasya benefit the lungs while herbs like Triphala (such a blessing to your digestive healthy) benefit the large intestine. Proper eating for the season benefit both organs.
Spend some time going within, facing and letting go, get some spiritual support, create a vision board, practice fire ceremony, embrace all aspects of your Self, or any ritual you enjoy to let go of the past and bring in a new experience. How can you best use this energy to let go and define your life? Connect with or reconnect with a spiritual practice that inspires you. Visit on of my meditation classes.
Your nervous system is depleted by stress so spend more time doing things that lift you up with people that lift you up while enjoying the moments you have in your world, it will warm your heart during the cold nights.
I hope that everyone enjoys the fall season forgiving yourSelf and others if and as needed, letting go of and completing what you are no longer needing in your life while seeing the blessings in all experiences, and expressing gratitude for all that you have and are.
The sense of belonging doesn’t have to be reliant on other people. Acts of self-care and care of your body and home are ways of putting down your roots and strengthening your sense of “I belong.” Light some candles, bring in the colors of fall, and do things that make you laugh and smile. It can take time to become rooted invest in yourSelf, your inner peace, and your comfort.
Enjoy being balanced this Fall.
Posted in: Ayurveda, Bodywork
Tagged With: aromatherapy, ayurveda, massage, selflove, vata