November 4, 2012

Living With The Fall Season: Earth Harmony & Slowly Welcoming Stillness (part 4)


{Living with the Fall Season Part 4}

Harmony through proper food, meditation, and, movement therapies.

This is part 4 of a 4 part series on how to better live in harmony with the seasons.  Below are some ideas on the essence of Autumn as well as some self-care practices you may like to integrate into your life this time of year.

DOWNWARD movement, dry wind, clear SHIFting of emotion.

Leaves fall, and geese migrate South as the energy of plants and trees move from the once green leaves to the roots of the nourishing earth. Our bodies dance with these shifting energies through our posture, moods, cravings, and thought patterns.

The fall is about movement. Sporadic and whimsical movement that precedes the stillness of winter and follows the exuberance of summer. The cooling of the fall air is a reminder to us that, though there is a time to shine with fierce action (summer), there is also a time for calm and inward reflection (fall and winter). 

As The Energy of The Fall Moves, So Shall We The brightly fading of green leaves to yellow, orange, and red calls for a time to allow our bodies and minds observe the changes that occur to us within. In the Autumn, there is a downward and inward pulling of energy in all that is nature. 

We can see this in the plant world, where all of the nutrients go from the leaf and flower (spring and summer), settling into the roots (fall and winter). The autumn is a time for inward thinking, feeling, nourishing and reflection of the year past. The fall is our final dance of the year;  a time to stir our physical movement, thoughts, and emotions up, all in preparation to slowly tuck them into the depth and stillness that is winter. 

A Multitude Of Body Types

Why is it that some people experience fall and winter as a place of power, while others feel a sense of mourning? This may very well depend on your physical, mental, and emotional constitution. In fact, the spring can trigger a seasonal depression. I know, for  spring/summer lovers, this sounds crazy!  I'll write more on this in the it is a topic of fascination for me. 

For the person who thrives in the warmth of spring in summer, the fall may be a foreboding season of times to come, dark and dreary. On the other side of the spectrum, another may feel at ease with the clearing, sweeping movement of the fall winds; anticipating the deep, quiet stillness that is to come with winter's chill. 

A myriad of threads weave together our thought patterns, personality types, and body types. In order to find true health, we must see them as a whole not only within our own bodies, but also the nature that surrounds us. For, we are nature. We are all akin to the little cells on the surface of the earths skin. Very different body types, personalities, and species fill the many nooks, crannies and activities that help make the world go round. Trying to force your body to like a particular season without thinking about it logically (Levels of moisture, dryness, heat, cool, wind, stagnation, etc.) is like trying to navigate a central point of the ocean without a compass!

I wish that our school systems had a mandatory class to help individuals better be in touch with their own constitution---getting to know their body type through the senses so that health care becomes common sense. For example, if you have a moist and a mucous ridden cough or sinus infection, avoid eating dairy. Dairy too is moist and sticky, it will only contribute to the copious amounts of mucous. Being healthy, is so much about common sense. You likely have already made the milk to mucous connection, but, just think how much closer using your common senses can bring you to healing. It is all about listening to how certain flavors, temperatures, and textures affect your body. If you are interested in learning more about constitutions, and unfamiliar, go to the library and check out some books on The Four Humors, Ayurveda, and/or The Chinese 5 Element Theory. These traditional areas of study all help to break down different body types, how to find your own body type, and how to bring balance to your body type.

I suppose we do live in the computer age--you can also find some fantastic resources such as Todd Caldecott's website with many helpful articles on Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Unani Tibb (Tibetian medicine). If you are interested in the four humors, (my first constitutional love as a teenager), here is a quick review on wikipedia.

I know this may seem so overly simple, but, you may be astounded at what kind of "Zaireeka!" moments you come up with with such simple, yet intentional reflection. Take notes, look again later. Maybe the symptoms of depression, pain, and moodiness, are connected to a certain food item you always crave. What vitamins, minerals, and flavors make up that food or plant medicine? Cultivating an ability to listen in is right and a gift. It is your body's way of tipping the scales of balance between you and the world around you.

Harmonizing Acts of Self-Care---On Grounding.

  • Movement Therapies: Cultivate Patience and Stillness through slow movement therapies such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. Here is a 3 minute video with instructor, Esther Ekhart on "Yoga for Neck Pain" and here are some stretches you can do at the office to open the heart from Yoga Journal.
  •  Breathing Meditation: There are some great resources out there such as this guided meditation video with Harshada Wagner. If you live in Lexington, KY I have listed a few practitioners on my resources page for yoga, meditation and energy work practitioners. There is also the Shambhala Center of Lexington, which I have yet to visit, but, I have heard wonderful things about!
  • Seasonal Eating: Root Vegetables...they are now in season and all the nutrients are sinking to the ground!  It's a beautiful time to enjoy them. Sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes etc. Spinach and greens are also in season.  Though, for our 2012 fall's all radishes, ha. When you eat veggies in the cooler months, it's a great time to cook them slowly, with warming spices. I love making a big pan of roasted vegetables on a Sunday that I can eat throughout the week. I often make a batch of quinoa on a daily basis to serve with it.
Well, that is all of this year's Living With The Fall Seasons. Wishing you a healthy, happy, inspiring Autumn season.


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