Autumn and Spring are probably my two favorite seasons. I love summer days on the water or at the beach, and nothing beats sipping a hot mug of homemade chai as you watch snowflakes fall. But there is something special about these two seasons. The weather is much milder than their preceding season; spring brings the promise of warmth, fall a cooling reprise from summer’s heat.
Autumn (as well as spring) is a time of change and transition. Children head back to school, workers return to more regular work hours (no more vacations and taking long weekends). The air becomes cool and crisp, the evening light isn’t quite as bright. Leaves change from green, to orange and red, to brown. Nature is going through its preparations for winter, when everything becomes still and dormant as it integrates, grows, and awaits spring.
It’s not too different for us humans. Whether we recognize it or not, we are an integrated part of the natural world around us. Even though life seems chaotic as we return to school and work – and it is – perhaps life is setting us up for success through this season of change and transition? Finding routine helps us to balance work, school and other commitments. This helps us to slow down as we transition from the go-go-go of summer to the quieter pace of winter. We change from shorts and t-shirts to long pants, sweaters and all things cozy just as wild animals prepare their dens with food and warm materials.
We can take a cue from nature to assist in our transition through autumn. Autumn is a Vata season and all about change and movement. Anything that brings consistency, stability, gentle warmth can help to balance vata – both in nature and in ourselves. Returning to a consistent schedule helps to balance change and transitions. Designate time for work, family and friends, and yourself. Gentle, but warming, movement keeps the body agile. A walk, a gentle yoga flow, or an easy bike ride all warm the body without becoming an intense workout. Consuming warmer foods such as soups, stews and casseroles. Taking time to bring quiet and stillness to the mind with meditation or concentration. Just as a gentle breeze can bring a sense of physical stillness even as the trees move in the breeze, so can meditation still the mind – it helps us to find that stillness even as our thoughts sway in the breeze.