“We’ll have a warm Halloween.”
HA! Ahahahaaaha! Bwahahahaaa!
We throw a driveway party every year (the MOST fun now that we have a big crowd of middle-schoolers – angst, yes, but still with a good, clean sense of fun and puppy-dog exuberance), and my costumes always revolve around an: “I am warm enough” theme (it’s limiting). My friend Mike usually has a slightly obscene Unicorn situation/theme going on. The absolute best.
Now into the mid-Octobers, we find ourselves in: “Honest to God, it’s fall”, territory – fall blew ONNNN in. I finally had to put away my comfy sandals. We had our first fire. I got out my teddy bear coat.
I hear fall outside my window, FLINGING around all of my early-decor – the Apothocary sign, the candelabra, various skulls, a raven (who caws when you pass), a crow, and pumpkins, so many pumpkins (I recently discovered yellow ones). The very day I put out my Graveyard, the wind smacked it ALL around. I am finding headstones hither and thither.
Still so much to do: the fairy lights, the cobwebs…my floating head needs her wig. I’m in the market for a crystal ball. And a Fortune-Teller, if you know one.
The rats are out, though, and the big one insists on riding in the stroller.
Fall is my favorite season: pumpkin this, pumpkin that, smells of cinnamon and wood-smoke (I accidentally burned pine today, which, as it turns out, is VERY smokey, sorry, Ray). Crunching through the leaves. Halloween: the very best holiday (wigs, eyeliner, panache). Apples. Picked or groceried. The Pumpkin Farm visit. Gettin’ out the hats and gloves. Sending people to school.
I like the smell of fallen leaves slightly on the rotty side. Earthy, mmmm.
Sweata weatha, thank Gawd!
It’s not all pumpkin patch and cider though.
So! The week of the fall equinox (September 22), I had: a puking migraine, two sleepless nights (one kid related and one all my own), crying jags at work (luckily while alone), extreme fatigue, two fights with my husband (where peace has recently reigned and that MAY have been my fault), and sick-o kids. I realized I had plantar fasciitis, putting a temporary kibosh on my sanity-walks. I kept not eating all day. Needing to nap, waking up tired. Unable to make decisions. Flying all over the place but getting rather nowhere.
What the crack is going on?
It’s that rascal Vata storming around again! Running amok, she has me in a head lock!
Vata is the predominant dosha right now – brace yourself
Fall is a time of transition. We can feel vulnerable. We get that back-to-school cold. We get a little raw, inside and out, like wind-chapped skin.
Fall is rough and dry and has Vata written all over it. I definitely feel like a piece of leather.
Throughout the year, each of the three doshas is more present in our environment according to the seasons. Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons: Vata season, which goes from late fall into early winter; Kapha season, from the coldest, darkest part of winter into spring; and Pitta season, from late spring to early fall.
Vata season qualities:
- Roughness, harshness
- Lightness and dryness in the air
- Cold and cool temperatures
- Movement and activity
These environmental factors influence us by increasing the SAME qualities in our minds and bodies. The light, rough, cold and dry qualities are depleting to the system, lowering our immunity and resistance to illness. This is why the onset of fall and winter can trigger many seasonal imbalances, such as allergies, colds, fatigue and digestive sensitivities.
How can we build up our energy reserves?
Building Fire and Earth at this time of the year is the goal here: warm colors, warm bodies. Orange, red, brown, dark yellow. Baths or long showers (Kris). Aromatherapy. Scarves. Hot food every meal. Candles (unless you leave them lit all night, like me). Hot yoga, but go easy in there (Pastora).
Cozy down, Dig in
Take extra good care NOW, and then we will survive when Holiday Insanity hits; we will be fortified. Reserves. Last year my vata post was around the holidays, and I’m hoping that this year we can get warm and fuzzy before we get swooped away.
Vata loves a routine, even if she doesn’t know it.
If this summer was a free-for-all, then it’s time to get back to some predictability.
Vata thrives on regularity and routine, even though she FEELS like flying by the seat of her pants. This means getting up and going to bed at about the same time every morning and evening; eating meals on a predictable schedule rather than “grazing” or skipping meals or eating on the run; and planning time each day for exercise, rest, and relaxation.
Easier said than done, OK?!
The Vata in me would love to live spontaneously all the time, but I know that going that route tends to be hard on me, tuckers me right out. Sometimes when I get derailed from a routine, I will, Vata-style, completely throw in the towel and go with the wind. This does not serve me well.
When I have a Vata-takeover, we end up getting to a rill late hour in the day with no foreseeable plan for dinner, but hey – there’s a really cool bat collage in the foyer! There is also: one cleaned out drawer, one appointment made, and one toddler allowed to sleep til 5 PM (I cannot bear to wake him).
Schedule OFF, frazzled mum, frazzled kids. I can be a right pinball machine. I gotta do this routine thing.
Routine without militancy
BUT…I need to figure out how to follow a routine without getting TOO rigid – how to remain flexible and fluid while following a (loose) every day plan of attack. Life is messy, things come up. So I have to find balance between schedule and room for flowing with the Universe.
Snafu: If I have DECIDED I am going to follow a routine and then the routine gets derailed, I’m in trouble. #1. I stop doing the routine immediately. #2. I’m either mad at someone else for messing with my plan or I’m beating myself up for not following the plan. It’s super fun.
So I’m saying that we need a routine, but lets not get too worked up about it. If (when) disruption hits, we can steady the course sooner and get back to business. Move on!
Let’s avoid being dead inside…
Mystery is important, right? Magic? Mischief? I know you love that stuff. Make room.
Although routine pacifies our sweet Vata, we can also live a little. There is something to be said for spontaneity. Impromptu fun is food for the soul. Maybe build INTO the schedule a time for spontaneity to occur? Does that miss the point entirely?
My mother-in-law, Barb, is a very spontaneous person. I love this about her. Being with her is light and joyful – she lives in the moment. So engaged with life. Always helping people, playing with kids, and laughing. At 80 years, she looks 55 to 60, easy. Still gorgeous. She loves to both tell and listen to stories – especially about the family. She is interested in the world.
Stay interested, stay young.
Keep it up!
In Kundalini Yoga, they say: Keep Up!
As we create a daily balancing routine that nourishes our mind, body, and spirit, we are going to feel more energized and centered in the months to come. Make the routine fun – or, at least, build some fun into it. For example, start a bedtime tea ritual with all the fancies: tea cup, saucer, lemon, honey. Get into it; stick that pinky out!
Heck, start a WHOLE bedtime ritual: bath, foot massage, tea-time, and maybe a chat with the Universe. Journaling? Too far?
Food during Vata season:
Fire up the crock pot (my husband just broke mine but then finagled a free one, so, forgiven), do a little baking, focus on casseroles, soups and stews. This is the time of year that Ayurveda says go for a little more animal protein, so have some meat if you want. Warming and grounding foods will mitigate the dry, cold and light qualities of Vata.
- Eat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).
- Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas – it’s still important to hydrate at this time of year. Make a fresh ginger tea – put a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a thermos and fill it with hot water. Or use tea bag. Geez.
- Eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, lemons, pumpkins, carrots, beets, asparagus, quinoa, rice, mung beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and ghee are a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods.
- Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter and helps pacify Vata. Don’t eat to be uncomfortably full, but allow for a bit extra.
Nourish your body during Vata season
- Bundle up! You might enjoy clothing made with soft fabrics in earth tones and mild pastel shades, which calm Vata. Make sure your throat is warm and covered (at least when outside).
- Have your home and work place well heated and be sure that the air has enough humidity. And Vata is extremely sensitive to moving air, so avoid drafts.
- Give yourself a gentle and slow abyhanga massage in the morning or before bed. Use a nourishing, warming oil such as sesame or almond. You may also want to gently rub a drop of sesame oil inside your nasal passages, which tend to become dry during winter.
- Stay home! Hibernation mode!
- Go outside. Resisting it myself -it’s blustery -but when I went out today I was like: “THANK YOU GOD”. Just needed to be out.
- Shift bedtime to a bit earlier – it’s dark early, get in there! And keep bedtime consistent, if possible.
Thank you, thank you and thank you for reading. Please comment below – I love a comment! It helps me!
8 Comments Add yours
Dear Jenny, you honor me by including me in your very informative and humorous post! I love reading it and I will make myself a warm cup of tea asap! Thank you for being the warm, loving, caring person that you are. My son is so very fortunate to have you in his life. (Do you need a larger crock pot??) Take care, Sweet Jenny! Love, Barb
Hi Barb! Love you! We could use a large crock pot if you have.
Love this post, just what I needed to read today!
Thank you my sweet friend!
I sound like a broken record, but I love this post. Thank you Jenny! You have a special gift with communication—you do, so take the compliment! Your posts are so funny and relatable. And filled with useful knowledge, novel ideas and even wisdom. So thank you, truly. Thank you also for the admonition made to me specifically to not overdo it with exercise—it cracked me up, and uhm, touché! It’s interesting because basically everything you said we typically desire that is good for us in vata season is what my body and mind wants during this season. Meaning, for whatever reason, I seem to live more in alignment with how I should be living during vata season—not so much the case in other seasons—maybe this is why Fall is usually my better-adjusted-happier season? Thank you again. Keep them coming!
Hi! Thanks, you.are so kind. I think you are happier during fall because your pitta has some relief! I’m glad this is a good time for you, I like to think of you happy! Thanks for being my champion, thick amd thin.
I have a picture for you
Love it Mike! Thanks.