Updated: Nov 8, 2019
Vedic thought suggests that there are particularly auspicious times of the day, month and year that contain powerful energy and great potential. These special times are called a sandhi, and the fall equinox is one of them. They are times to retreat within, set intentions, and reassess the direction in which we are heading. The fall equinox is a time of balance of light and dark, but sometimes we don’t feel so balanced ourselves at this time. The excesses of summer can catch up with us and leave us feeling depleted and unprepared for the coming winter.
I know that some people really struggle when it begins to get dark earlier and the temperature starts to fall. I don’t mind it; in fact I think it feels cozy. The long, dark evenings make me want to stay home and snuggle and I’m not a fan of the heat of summer anyway, so I’m always happy to trade my shorts for jeans. Rather than resisting the changes and continuing to eat salads and wear flip-flops for many months to come, it’s best to modify our behavior – even just a bit – to help us manage the shifts around us, all of which we can’t control anyway.
According to Āyurveda and the practices of ritucharya, we should modify our diet, herbs and daily activities to honor the changes in Mother Earth. Fall is ruled by vāta, which is comprised of air and ether – both of which can make us cold, dry, fragile and ungrounded. And if we continue to eat salads and ice cream like we did all summer while also running ourselves into the ground with a busy schedule, we are sure to end up in a state of dis-ease. This recipe for disaster is easily preventable with the help of the tools of Āyurveda.
Some simple ideas to begin to implement now that it is fall is to let go of eating raw foods (those are best saved for the hot summer months) and instead eat warm, cooked, nourishing foods, while also making liberal use of oil – not just in your food but also on your skin. Using ghee to cook your food is an excellent way to lubricate your body from the inside, while also massaging your skin with sesame oil prevents your skin from being dry and rough. That same sesame oil can but put in your ears and nostrils for further protection from the elements.
Slowing down and being careful not to over-extend yourself is especially important in fall, as this will quickly burn us out and deplete us of precious ojas, or primal vigor. Taking time daily for a gentle yoga practice and meditation can go far at this time of year. Making sure we get plenty of sleep is imperative, as this is when our body repairs and regenerates itself. Ideally we should be asleep by 10pm at the latest.
Taking chyvanprash daily can help keep us strong and healthy. This herbal jam is not only delicious, but full of good stuff to boost our immune system, improve digestion and keep us grounded. Also taking the herb ashwaganda or shatavari (depending on your constitution) will help your body and mind adapt to stress and keep your energy levels maintained.
Making sure to get proper sleep is imperative at this time of year. This means being asleep by 10pm and rising around 6am. The hours of 10pm-2am are the best hours to be sleeping as this is when the body most effectively repairs and renews itself, and if we stay up too late we miss out on these quality hours of sleep.
Sometimes making changes in our life is easy, and sometimes it is very challenging. Rather than overwhelming yourself by trying to make too many changes at once, try doing just a couple of these suggestions and then adding on as you are ready. If you feel you need extra support, I am always available for consultations.
Equinox blessings to us all!