The last few days of summer I find myself dragging and anxious to get back to a routine. I feel dried out, worn out from festivals, barbeques, and crave nothing more than a slight chill in the air to keep me home, snuggled up under blankets and exploiting football season to justify my Sunday naps. The season of summer vacation comes to a close. The heat begins to fluctuate up and down every other day. The leaves dry up and fall as the winds kick up a notch. The daylight shortens and sunsets seem to creep their way earlier into each evening. The school year begins, our schedules fill up with commitments, the winds gain speed, the rain becomes cold, and fall officially settles in.
The first day the temperature drops below 60 degrees, I find myself relieved and soothed that the fall is on its way. I am overwhelmed with comfort thinking about wearing hooded sweatshirts, high-laced boots, shuffling through orange and yellow leaves, and eating all things spiced and pumpkin-related. Autumn romances me and rekindles my love and for Chicago yearly because it invokes a sense of calm, quiet, and rest.
While a detox or cleanse can be beneficial for the body, it is not a privilege everyone will be able to take on, and can sometimes be too much of a shock to the system when not done properly. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your life to get in tune with the fall season and keep your body and mind in a balanced place that will aid in replenishing and vitalizing your immune system.
Nourishing your belly (Food & diet)
- Increase your intake of room temperature water and warm liquids such as almond milk, chai tea, ginger tea and other spice-filled teas. Reduce iced beverages, sodas, juices, white wines and other cold liquids.
- Increase warm comfort foods such as rice, qinoa, wheat products such as cous cous, pasta, and oatmeal. Enjoy things such as homemade cheese, honey, sugar, olive oil, ghee, sweet juicy fruits. Increase your intake of well-cooked vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, arugula, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and collard greens. Eat nuts like cashews, almonds, and pistachios to serve as good protein sources. Sesame seeds are especially balancing during fall.
- Avoid dry cereals, crackers and chips. Limit your intake of barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, dried fruits. Cut down on raw vegetables and salads. Keep away from un-ripened fruits that aren’t local.
Nourishing your body (Yoga asana)
- Standing Postures : Your yoga practice should include postures that are grounding to counteract the outside winds and help you stay rooted. Standing postures will help to reduce irritability, keep the mind clear, and help one feel stable. Postures such as Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1), Vrksasana (tree), Trikonasana (triangle), or Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (revolved side angle).
- Twists: Utilize twists to help bring movement and compression to the internal organs to facilitate moving toxins out and creating space for nutrients, oxygen and blood flow. Twists provide an internal massage to areas such as the digestive system, liver, kidneys. Poses such as Garudasana (eagle), Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle), Parivrtta utkatasana (twisted chair), Ardha matsyendrasana (half lord of fish)
- Restorative poses : Make sure to practice poses that help to calm the body and mind and allow yourself to let go into poses. This will help you to reduce stress, calm anxiety and relieve yourself of anxiousness. Balasana, (child’s pose), Setu Banda Sarvangasana (supported bridge), Supta Baddha konasana (reclined cobblers pose), Janu sirsasana (head to knee forward fold) are all poses that help keep the mind in a calm state and keep one grounded.
The autumn season gives us yet another chance to start again, to get grounded and create a new routine. As opposed to the spring season when we are trying to clear things out of our system and shed our winter layers, the fall offers us a detox that is about slowing down, getting rooted and keeping the system nourished and healthy as we prepare the body for winter. Take the opportunity to stabilize your senses, get your twist on, drink your chai and take a nap.