Connect to the energy of autumn for a healthy body-mind and spirit.
there is much we can do to help balance our energies this season, especially during lockdown, you may have more time on your hands than usual; you may be realising that this time can be put to good use to help ourselves find the balance and do some good.
So, here are 5 helpful tips to practice during this time, helping you to make this November a Nurturing one.
1. Align your energy with the seasonal energy of Autumn
Go outside and observe nature, what is it teaching us? You will see that the leaves are changing, drying, dying, falling, decomposing into the earth. So Autumn is teaching us how to let go and go with the flow. Let’s take this time to have a clear out, release anything that’s not serving you anymore. Time to give up old grudges and hurts, this takes courage, the virtue of autumn is courage to live in the present moment, so we go outside, see all the beauty around us and at the same time the decay, the changes, it can sometimes make us feel sad, so cry, let that be a part of the release as when we cry we naturally release stress hormones in our tears. Mother Nature is always with you, so be with mother nature!
2. Dress warmly
Especially turning from late summer to autumn, we find one day warm, then cold then warm again, the wind can blow through you. So, stay warm, especially the neck where the wind gets in, keep the energy there protected, wear a hat, scarf and coat. While the summer energy was yang, there was warmth and it radiated outwards, now the energy is cooler, dryer, drawing in, becoming more yin, we need to keep the body protected, so don’t let the cold invade the body.
3. Stay hydrated
Qualities of autumn are dryness, cold, wind, so apart from keeping warm, keep the body hydrated. Hydrated internally with warm nourishing foods and drinks, like hot ginger, cinnamon, this builds up a strong body for the winter months. See below for Golden Milk Recipe – taken from Pukka Herbs. Also, externally keep the skin hydrated with warm oils such as sesame oil, oil before shower/bath, or during a night’s sleep for extra grounding. Warm baths with nourishing soothing aroma oils, lotions and balms can be a very nurturing and enjoyable ritual. Essential pols for this time are uplifting aromas such as: camphor, cedarwood, cinnamon, eucalyptus, geranium, juniper, lavender, lemon, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, rose, rosewood, sage and my overall favourite, frankincense! See Self Massage with Oil below.
4. Slow down
Days are shorter, so go to bed earlier and sleep in longer and get more rest – you have permission to do this at this time. Less light is available during the day, so correspondingly less energy available. We are moving from the energies of yang to yin, so our energies move from out to in, from radiating outwards to resting inwards, going with the natural flow of nature. This means not taking on too many new projects; don’t pressurize yourself with work load, new projects can wait till the spring when energy is starting to rise again. So now is the time to round things up, clear things out, get organized, clear a space in the mind, to breathe, to relax and to mediate. This is the time to start a daily meditation practice if you don’t have one established.
5. Move energy
We need to support the energy pathways of Lung and Large Intestine in autumn. Both Lung & Large Intestine like to feel calm but also be able to move freely to encourage the process of expansion/contraction and of course, detoxification. So, yoga that enables this is with movements that are slow, steady grounding and nurturing, also with the capacity to cleanse. So perhaps a daily morning practice of 20 minutes that can move your energy, get flow with the breath, clear out any stagnation, and prepare body mind to centre and align for deeper inner meditation and rest. For an afternoon/evening practice, perhaps introduce more Yin style yoga practices to encourage that natural going inwards that a Yin practice offers, more dedicated breathwork and of course more relaxation and meditation.
Keeping your energy in balance and in alignment with your own true nature and going with the flow is the key to staying healthy body – heart – mind this Autumn into Winter. Try out these below.
Golden Milk Of Bliss Recipe
1 Persons, Prep 5 min
This is a traditional Ayurvedic drink which has become popularised in recent years, if you have not tried it yet, this is the time!
A warm nectar to nourish you deep inside. It helps to replenish your nervous and sexual energies. It is literally bliss in a cup. It’s a great relaxant so drink this one warm before bed. This has all the benefits of Nourishing Almond Saffron Elixir, but with the deeper calming properties of warm milk, nutmeg and Ashwagandha. Almond - This delicious nut is sweet to taste, heating, heavy and oily in quality. It builds, strengthens and has aphrodisiac qualities that boost fertility. Cardamom pod - The aromatic essential oils in cardamom are used to help digest the highly nutritious fats in this replenishing elixir. Saffron - One of the remarkable things about saffron is that the colourful pigments are both water- and fat-soluble meaning its depression-lifting, blood-circulating, aphrodisiac qualities are easily extracted and only small amounts are needed. Turmeric root - A sprinkle of this golden magic helps bring warmth to your digestion and a little more life to your life. Because turmeric helps increase the flow of blood deep into your tissues and organs, it brings more nutrition and health to your whole body and mind. Nutmeg - Believed to ‘hold the energy in’, nutmeg is calming and helps to break the tiring sleep-awake-sleep-awake pattern of transient insomnia. Ashwagandha root - This is one of nature’s greatest gifts – it helps us sleep well, therefore giving us more energy. Its Latin name is Withania somnifera, alluding to its gentle soporific effects, which are accentuated when it’s used at night and with milk. Ashwagandha means ‘the smell of a horse’ – you won’t smell like a horse the next day, but you will wake with the grace, elegance and vigour of one.
What you need:
· 150 millilitres almond milk
· 2 teaspoons ground almonds
· 2 (gently crushed/split) cardamom pod
· 5 saffron strands
· 1 pinch of turmeric powder
· 1/4 teaspoon ashwagandha
· honey to taste
1. Gently warm the milk in a pan for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients (except for the honey). Ashwagandha powder has a bit of a funny taste, so if you prefer you can take an ashwagandha capsule when you drink the milk instead.
2. Pour into a cup and stir in some honey.
3. The ground almond sinks to the bottom, so stir before drinking. Enjoy!
Self Massage with Oil
The best time to give yourself a massage is before your morning shower or before evening bathing.
find the time and space where you won't be disturbed and treat this as a special nurturing ritual where you have time to connect to yourself
warm your favourite oil such as sesame or almond
sit naked on a towel, begin applying oil by massaging soles of feet, then every part of feet
work up one leg, massaging in the direction of the heart, then massage the other leg in the same way
now oil your hands and massage up each arm toward the shoulder
oil the front and back of your torso
oil your throat, neck and face.
finally rub a little oil into the scalp and the tips of the hair.
wait for 10 - 20 minutes to let the oil soak in before showering