I grew up in Los Angeles, so seasons were something I only heard about in movies or saw when we went on vacation; it is 72 degrees and sunny on most days. Sure, we had a few cold days in late winter, but fall is especially hot. It is the time of the warm Santa Ana winds, and while my family on the East Coast were bundling up for Halloween, we were coming up with costumes that could contend with record-breaking October heat.
Now, living in Northern California where we have much more distinct weather phases and a seemingly wider variety of trees, the shift from summer to fall has become one of my favorite times of year. I love watching the leaves on our giant sweetgum tree in the backyard fade from green, to yellow, and finally, to a fiery red I thought only possible in the Northeast. I love switching to cozier clothing and testing out different soups on our slow cooker. I enjoy shifting our meal menu away from lighter summer fruits toward heavier squashes and pumpkins (and of course, pumpkin spice lattes).
These shifts were a little less appealing when I was residing in a warmer climate. Who wants to wear sweaters and eat soup when it’s 80 degrees outside? Although, who am I kidding? When I still lived in LA, a sweater became my uniform the minute it turned September, even if I was baking, with shorts and flip flops, of course.
You see, I always liked the season of fall in theory, but now living somewhere where nature so dramatically reflects the shift of the seasons, I realize that it’s not just the idea of fall that I enjoy but the tangible transition. Like that shift from warm summer nights to crisp fall mornings.
Because these changes seem to be so much more glaringly obvious where I now live, it has encouraged me to use nature as a guide for how I should change my life with the seasons, and the results have been remarkable! I feel healthier, sleep better, and even look better, as I am paying more attention to how my skin responds to the weather.
By the way, this is not magic. This is the root of the Ayurvedic approach to living.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic form of ancient medicine that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. The intention behind this system of medicine is to preventative, which is a bit different than most allopathic doctors’ treat-the-symptom approach.
Ayurvedic doctors do this by looking not only at the patient but also at what is happening in their outer lives and the greater world. Treatment approaches include suggestions for diet and lifestyle, based on both a person’s individual makeup (what is called your dosha) as well as in consideration with what is happening in the larger world, i.e., the seasons and where you live.
The word “ayurveda” means the science of life, and though it is one of the oldest continually practiced forms of medicine in the world, many of its treatment modalities have been confirmed by modern science and research.
The key feature is looking to nature to guide our choices, especially as it includes taking cues from the sun.
The Modern Dilemma
Electricity can be considered one of the greatest inventions of man, but it also can be considered the most dangerous. Electricity disconnects us from the natural processes happening around us. For example, when we should be getting quiet at dusk and preparing for bed, most of us throw the lights on and sit in front of a flickering screen (Guilty, by the way! I need at least thirty minutes of America’s Got Talent for my day to feel complete).
Or when we should be rising with the birds and the sun, most of us are hitting snooze for two more hours of sleep, before finally rolling out of bed and right over to our coffee maker.
Another way modern living disconnects us from the natural rhythm of nature is the foods we eat. If you live near a supermarket, you have access to foods that are not necessarily seasonally appropriate. Many fruits and vegetables are imported from other parts of the world, so we think our diet doesn’t have to shift with the seasons, but that’s actually one of the first places Ayurvedic doctors will suggest making changes.
If we can look to nature for cues, we can actually get very clear guidance on how to live in harmony with the changing seasons.
Here are 5 things Ayurveda can teach us about the shift from summer to fall:
- Stay hydrated. Ayurveda sees everything from the lens of the 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Fall is considered vata season, which means it is ruled by air and ether. You can see this in the drying out of the leaves (or your knuckles) and the winds. Just as the trees dry out, so can we. This means it is a good time to drink more water and eat more water-based foods. It’s also why keeping an Enfuselle hand & body lotion in your glove box can be helpful.
- Get grounded. Fall is a transition season, like spring. It’s the process of shifting from the hot, sunny, and exciting summer energy toward the cooler, darker, quieter energy of winter. Everything is shifting and it is often windy, so this may be a good time to get your feet firmly planted. Do movement modalities like yoga and dance classes that use your feet and get you in your legs. Say no, and leave space in your schedule to rest. Resting is an activity!
- Stay cozy. For many in the United States, the shift toward fall also means the shift from hot weather to cold. We can reflect this in our clothing, with incorporating sweaters and boots, but also our foods. Though you may love your salads and shakes, fall can be a time to switch to warmer choices. One Shaklee customer reported drinking the Life Shake™ Plant Protein in rich chocolate hot and loved it. And I can’t say it enough, but spooky season is also soup season!
- Get quiet. Fall is the bridge between the outward energy of summer toward the more inward winter. The days get shorter and colder and though we may not be bears, humans could benefit from a little hibernation-like energy. This means thinning out your social calendar and working in more quiet time to read or be with family. If you are having a hard time winding down, try Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex, which uses powerful herbs to help soothe your nervous system without making you sleepy.
- Stay local. One of the best ways to honor nature’s changes is through the foods you eat. If you live somewhere more rural, or even have your own farm, you see the shift from lighter summer fruits toward heavier squashes. Turns out pumpkins are not just for decoration! They can be incredibly healing. Some benefits of pumpkin are a high content of vitamin A, antioxidants, and potassium. And it is versatile! From stews, to pasta, to pies, to (duh), pumpkin lattes, there are myriad ways to include it on your daily menu.
Sarah Ezrin is a freelance writer, world-renowned yoga educator, popular Instagram influencer, and mama based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her willingness to be unabashedly honest and vulnerable along with her innate wisdom make her writing, yoga classes, and social media great sources of healing and inner peace for many people. Sarah is changing the world, teaching self-love one person at a time. For more information please visit her website www.sarahezrinyoga.com.