Just like that, our weather in Seattle shifted on Thursday. I need a sweater and boots for venturing outside with my son between nap and dinner. There's a chill in the house when I sit for my early morning practice, even though the thermostat reads 70 degrees. It's fall.
In the modern world it's hard to imagine this time of year as a precursor to slowing down. Traditionally, it's harvest time in the northern hemisphere, followed by intense periods of darkness and hibernation. I like the idea of preparing to rest, but I'm tempted to just laugh out loud at the notion. Autumn always feels like I'm supposed to ramp up after busy, but relatively carefree, summer months. Time to focus, hole up inside, and be productive as rainy days become the norm. Make Christmas lists, figure out gifts, order a heritage turkey, make holiday travel plans, attend fundraising events, cook hearty meals.... I'm exhausted already. Autumn as a time to wind down? How quaint. And yet how necessary for our wellbeing.
So how does one balance a traditional approach to the seasons while maintaining a modern lifestyle? Through simple daily practices and rituals that can bring us into harmony with nature, even just for a few moments. We live in a culture of all or nothing, but I believe a little effort is truly better than none.
In yoga, the ancient science of wellness know as Ayurveda has a lot to offer. And it can get complex and overwhelming very quickly. I try to practice it lightly and make it manageable for my students and clients. I'm working on a series of blog posts for the coming months to explore Accessible Ayurveda and I hope you'll join me. My first tip for this transition from summer to fall? Think warm. Layer up, switch from icy drinks to hot ones, favor soups over salads. Try it for a few days and see how you feel. You might be surprised by what a difference a little change or two can make.