26 Oct 5 Ways to Embrace Autumn
‘Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like’
This week, I returned from a stunningly sunny yoga retreat week in Italy to a very rainy Cornwall. With the imminent change of the clocks, darker days and colder weather I was feeling a little less than positive about the changing seasons!
I realised I needed a serious shift in my attitude to autumn. I had to stop focusing on what I was losing with the end of summer and instead celebrate all that I had to gain this October. So I set an intention to embrace and celebrate autumn this week. This became the theme in my yoga classes too. As I focused on my intention I found more and more to celebrate.
Here are 5 of my favourite ways to embrace autumn. They have really transformed how I feel about this time of year and I hope they will inspire you too.
5 Ways to Embrace Autumn
eat well & enjoy warming foods
In Ayurveda Autumn is a time of year when the Vata dosha is predominant. The Vata dosha is represented by the wind and has light and cold qualities. If your Vata dosha is out of balance you might notice that your mind is really busy, you can feel anxious, irritated, fearful and unsettled. You could also struggle to sleep and have digestive problems. You can help to bring this Vata energy in to balance and nourish your body with nourishing and warming foods.
I went to the local farm shop and bought the most incredible array of local seasonal vegetables. Blonde beetroot, multi coloured carrots, giant parsnips, cavelo nero and swiss chard. These will make amazing warming soups and roast vegetables. I’ll also be incorporating lots of hot spices into my food eating curries, and drinking turmeric lattes and ginger chai tea (plus the occasional healthy hot chocolate). I’d absolutely recommend starting the day with porridge topped with hot fruit and having plenty of root vegetables for lunch or dinner.
Read, write, draw & dream
The darker nights means more time spent indoors. This is the perfect time to get back in to the things you love that you might not have had time for over the frenetic summer months. So I’m going to stock up on some great books and spend plenty of time curled up with a novel, I’m also researching some great new recipes and doing some creative writing.
Now is also the time to be creative so paint or write or knit or play an instrument or do anything that inspires you creatively. You could also dive deeper into your yoga practice, attending a new class, a workshop or trying something new in your home practice. It’s also a great season for organising and planning so I’m going to be spending time thinking about where I want to travel next year and daydreaming about my trip to Bali in February. You could start thinking about your dream trip or yoga retreat!
turn inward & let go
Autumn is a season of letting go and taking stock. Unlike summer where a lot of your energy and focus are directed outward, autumn is the season to turn inwards, to wonder and reflect. Just as the trees lose their leaves in autumn so we must let go of anything we no longer need, whether that’s clutter in your house, an attachment to summer, negative thought patterns or old beliefs that are no longer serving us. By letting go we create the space to welcome in the new.
Spend some time sitting quietly with your journal or notebook and think back over the year so far. Contemplate what you’ve learned, what’s really working for you and whats not, what you want to do more of and what needs to change. Remember to be really kind to yourself as you do this, avoid judging yourself and make space for gratitude and to celebrate your achievements.
take a deep breath (or 10)
In Chinese Medicine the organ of the body associated with the autumn is the lungs. At this time of year practicing pranayama (yogic breathing) will help to energise you and warm your body. Right now I like to practice this really simple and calming pranayama:
- Breathe in deeply, through your nose, for a count of 4
- Breathe out fully, through your nose, for a count of 8.
- Try taking 10 breaths like this whenever you feel you need them throughout the day.
take care of yourself
Your energy levels might be lower as you move from the vibrant, high energy pace of summer in to the colder months. Honour this by getting plenty of rest and taking time for yourself. Have a massage, curl up on the sofa with your favourite film, take a long bath, or pamper yourself with a homemade beauty treatment. Try guided mediations and practice yin and restorative types of yoga. It’s pretty likely that you’ll find it more difficult to get out of bed at this time of year.
Remember you don’t always have to be moving at a hundred miles an hour. Let go of thinking you ‘should’ be doing something or achieving something at all times. Wrap up warm and stroll through the stunning Autumn scenery and be inspired by your natural surroundings as Lao Tzu says ‘Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished’. Autumn is a time to slow down, honour your energy levels and adjust accordingly.