Summer is coming to a close over the next few weeks. There was a lot of fun to be had these past few months and now we transition into a different season with activities that invite us more inward. It's a powerful time of year to have an awareness that we have been losing some sunlight with each day that passes as we come closer to the heart of winter, where things become more silent.
As we enter into September, take note what nature is doing. The fruits of the season are shifting to apples, pomegranates, pears, pumpkins, squashes, and some remaining dark greens. Grains are fully available such as wheat since it is a warming and heartier grain to sustain through the upcoming months. This is all to prepare the body by eliminating any excess heat from the summer and begin to build up the digestive fire for a colder climate to come.
It is all about the little things that we can do to prevent disease, as it is all about the little things that can contribute towards the formation of disease. We have the power to choose, for the most part, which way the pendulum swings.
Here are some simple actions to take to support the transitioning:
1) If you haven't already, starting with self-oiling practices (called self-abhyanga in Ayurveda). Sesame oil (more for Vata), Sunflower (more for Pitta), and Safflower or a light coating of sesame (more for Kapha.) Remember to warm the oil and apply it before showering.
2) Nasya oil is the administration of an oil or medicated oil into the sinus passages to ensure that dryness does not occur and wreak havoc.
3) Ensure that you are staying hydrated with electrolyte boosting beverages. NOT COLD OR ICY. Warming teas (for Vata/Kapha) such as Tulsi, Cinnamon, Ginger, Ajwan and mint, chamomile, chrysanthemum (more for Pitta.) Hibiscus/Rose tea is tri-doshic.
4) Getting to bed earlier than what the summer has invited. Meaning that during the summer it is easier to stay up later because of the enthusiasm associated with the season but as nature goes into hibernation, so should we follow. Bed by or before 11pm is ideal.
5) Awaken around 7 or earlier and get a move on. Get the blood flowing and lymphatic system stimulated.
6) Exercise is important for so many reasons and exercising in the morning is the best time of day to exercise, according to Ayurvedic Medicine. If any exercise is done at night, it should be less stimulating and vigorous followed by a calming/cooling/soothing/gentle practice such as bathing in epsom salt with lavender, rose and even sandalwood esential oil drops added. This is to ensure that the excess pressure created by stimulating activities is reduced in the nervous system in order to support optimal rest.
7) Be mindful of eating three meals a day, generally. Follow the Guidelines for Healthy Eating to support better practices around digestion.
8) Gauge whether you had enough Vitamin D intake during the summer. You can suggest to your primary care physician to test for Vitamin D levels. Note that they should be above 50 to be considered a hormone and a vitamin in the system. Studies have shown that less than that and numbers lower than 30 or even 20 can indicate some imbalanced activity within immunity and mood. Supplementation may be essential. Additionally, adding Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E all help from various perspectives the state of mind, immunity, and digestion.
9) Eating seasonally is an ideal way to maintain health. First, know your constitution. Then know where/how far you are imbalanced and see how to match it up with the season. Think warm, soothing, oily, nourishing, building foods/beverages, as we transition with the foods/beverages that help to eliminate any excess heat from the summer.
10) Food for thought: In Ayurveda, we look at three primary aspects to health and maintenance thereof. First, Agni, which is the quality of the digestive fire. Next, Ama, which is the state of toxin in the body. Finally, Ojas, which is the state of immunity. Essentially, we want to RESTORE AGNI, REMOVE AMA, AND REBUILD OJAS.
11) As one thing ends, another always begins. Similarly, as summer ends fall begins. Take time to slow down and "smell the roses." Notice what is present for you in this moment. Time speeds up when we let the mind get the best of us. Anchor in the moment by taking note of what is exactly showing up in the moment. Resisting the reality of what is real in this moment is what can cause more anguish and sorrow. Use the breath to anchor the mind to the body and follow the breath in the body to notice what feels contracted, versus expanded. What feels constricted, versus open? Accepting the reality of what is, can be challenging but what is more challenging is when we resist what is...right now. Slow down! So much is happening and when we try to forecast the future or hold onto the past we miss out what's happening now.
DISCLAIMER: This information is meant for educational purposes only and not considered medical advice. Any changes in lifestyle should be reviewed with a qualified practitioner and/or primary care physician if you are currently under their care for specific conditions.