Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Changing of the Seasons

The changing of seasons is underway, even though if you're in the Atlanta area there's been barely any change in the temperature since about mid-June: a near constant low to mid-90's. So you may think I'm mad to talk about the seasons changing. But what inspired this post was that I have noticed how the days are just a little bit shorter which means the sun is sitting just ever so slightly lower in the sky. If you open your awareness you can sense the subtle changes in the angle of the light, the shadows and where the sun sits in the sky. I believe wholeheartedly in the significance of honoring the change of seasons, eating according to seasons (even though I may not do it all the time), and allowing the change in the rhythms of the earth to guide our own biorhythms. It's easy with electricity and heat/ac, being indoors the majority of the time, etc, to become extremely disconnected from the earth and her cycles but when I do remember to open my senses to them I feel a great peace.

The upcoming fall season is probably my all time favorite of the seasons. I get such a strong sense of inspiration from the change in the sun's position, the stronger gusts of wind, the crisp mornings and evenings with still warm days and of course the ever magnificent colors the leaves become. There's an energy that is ignited that is just spectacular. It the season that I connect to the most.

I recently had a consultation with an ayurvedic doctor during which she determined my body constitutions or "doshas." For those of you who are not familiar with Ayurveda, each person's body is comprised of 3 dosha: pitta (heat/fire), vata (air) and kapha (earth) - this is a VERY simplified explanation of an unbelievably complex and amazing system of health that is from India. We are all dominant in at least one of these 3 doshas and some of us have 2 dominant and on some occasions there are people with all 3 having an equal amount of presence. I was found to be a vata/kapha dominant with pitta just behind almost making me tri-doshic. That being said, we all have all 3 doshas within us, it's just a matter of how strong or dominant each one is. In addition, any of these doshas can become 'aggravated' causing us to have different imbalances based on the dosha that's been aggravated. So, after a hellaciously hot summer like ours in Atlanta, most of us that have spent anytime outdoors probably have a pitta aggravation so we may not only feel overheated, we may have had some increased frustrations/anger/short-temperedness rise up and we may also have encountered skin rashes. Some quick off the top of my head suggestions for calming pitta are eating cucumbers, watermelon, cilantro and pears. I just recently learned that adding a tsp of rosewater to an 8oz glass of water and sipping on it during the day can calm a pitta aggravation too. When balanced, pitta is the energy that drives us to complete our tasks and get things done.

So, now that we prepare for autumn, my beloved season, we run the risk of aggravating vata. When vata is aggravated, we can feel spaced out, ungrounded, anxious or worried and feel very cold to our bones. So, as the temps begin to cool off, we can start to make and eat yummy soups, stews and other warm, soft, well-cooked, heavy and slightly more oily foods and dishes. Enjoying a cup of your favorite herbal tea is also really nice. Vata is the element that is connected to creativity and speech. To keep from it becoming aggravated, it is also important to have a more regular daily routine and eating habits and to get plenty of sleep.

At the end of winter beginning of spring is when kapha begins to become aggravated and it's right about then that we've all been hibernating in our homes during the coldest time of year and things have been damp, heavy, cloudy and of course cold. This is when we might feel extreme sluggishness or be getting over a cold or sinus infection. With this type of aggravation it's important to continue some kind of exercise routine, to vary your daily routine some, and eat lighter less fatty/oily foods. Kapha energy is grounding, and has the energy of structure in Ayurveda.

All that being said, enjoy the end of this incredibly hot summer but more importantly, start thinking of all the fun and joyous activities to do this fall as the weather turns to amazing autumn.

Breathe. Run. Jump. Sweat. Smile. Take Care. Observe. Breathe. :-)

The photo for this post is from Evgeni Dinev's portfolio on Free Digital Photos.

I got some of the info on the dosha's and their qualities from the Blue Lotus Ayurveda site.


Mira Mokhat said...

This was an amazing post! I never knew any of that. Yet another reason to find an Ayurvedic doctor here...I too LOVE autumn...so "crunchy" and crispy and cool and colorful... :-) I was just saying to someone yesterday that summer ending is not so sad bc we have autumn to look forward to right after. You know what else is so nice about the fall? The back to school prep for the kids...all fresh new paper & folders & pencils (i know kinda hokey) but Kapil's niece from india is starting school this week and i had the pleasure of sharpening her brand new #2 pencils in a traditional old school pencil sharpened, I loved it! Don't make fun of me...but I found true pleasure in that :-) Jyoti you are so smart this info was really amazing!

Jyoti Kaneria said...

Thanks so much Mira!!!! All the feedback from you and several others is just really what keeps me going, that and I just feel GREAT since I've been writing and like I've said before, it really helps me get it all into my daily practice too and helps readjust my attitudes and frame of mind! I also loved the back to school stuff and honestly, I LOVE sharpening pencils too! too cute!