Have you noticed how your energy changes subtly with each season? That we feel more live in the summer and less energetic in the Fall for instance? Are you changing your diet, lifestyle and exercise routine to reflect these energy shits? In the Fall and Winter, I shamelessly retreat, cocoon, cut myself slack, and ride that lazier pace.
I hope this newsletter makes you think about the rhythm of your life.
The stop and go motions throughout the year drain me. Aren’t you also tired of getting started in January, after the New Year, but running out of steam in the darkest, coldest days of February, then starting again in May to get your summer body ready? Then you over do it in the summer, feeling stressed and overweight by the end of September. In October you worry about the coming indulgences of the Holidays and try to get ahead of the curve, working out hard in October so you can manage the Thanksgiving and December Holidays without too much damage?
Instead, I propose a different, kinder approach. One that respects the cyclical nature of our bodies and its energies. One that has helped me to maintain my weight within 3lbs of fluctuation between my summer body and my winter body without deprivation. One that has me committing to a regular exercise routine for 52 consecutive weeks. It varies throughout the year, cyclically, and is compatible with business and vacation travel.
We are an integral part of the Universal microcosm, with 4 seasons. Each season requires nature to adapt. We should too. The seasonal cycles help the earth rejuvenate itself, and it is no different for our health.
- In the fall, we should start to retreat our energy inwards, slow down and transition to a fall diet filled with root vegetables growing deep into the earth. We should care for our skin that is dehydrated inside (our GI tract and flora) and out from the summer heat and change our lifestyle to be less heat-producing and less competitive. Think about turning your attention within. Becoming more introspective.
- In the winter, when nature rests and rejuvenates, so should we, maximizing our sleep, restorative forms of exercise, working on our posture, spending more time at home reading books, journaling, listening to our feelings, our inner voice, doing less and caring for our joints, bones, and postural alignment.
- In the Spring, the energy shifts outwards. Sprouts and leafy greens are growing up and out, spreading their leaves. We feel a renewed interest with the outside world, our creativity sparks (green, the color of spring, is associated with creativity). Explore the world with new energy, meet new people, and try new activities. The cardiovascular training and weight training becomes more intense. Our diet shifts from more warming and oily foods to bitter foods.
- In the summer, when the sun is at its most intense and the days are longest, we are fully turned to the external world, feeling sensual, fun, extroverted, athletic and engaging in long endurance efforts. We make new friends, we have the endurance to engage in new projects such as a move, a career change, traveling. We spend our energy and consume cooling and hydrating fruits and vegetables to keep us from burning out.
In reality though, I feel that in America, we behave as if it was summer all the time. As if summer never ended. The Fall and Winter is so busy, people work harder than ever as year-end approaches, people get up just as early and go to bed as late as the summer month even though the sun goes down 3 hours earlier. The holidays lead to a frenzy. In the end, living in a perpetual state of summer depletes our energy, diminishes our digestion, immunity and joie de vivre. We end up burning out.
May I invite you to try something different this year?
- Stress Less and slow way down. This is your first tall order (and the #1 priority during my Yoga Body Lifestyle Master Class). Take a hard honest look into what you’re thinking and what you’re doing during the day and slow things down, let go of thoughts and negative self-talk. Do not invite new, harmful nonsense and stop multi-tasking. Be kinder to yourself and be less demanding.
- Go to bed significantly earlier (so shorten your list of daily tasks since you’ll have 3hrs less than during the summer).
- Start a home-based yoga practice to connect your mind with your body. That’s a great way to begin turning your attention inwards. Learn to practice at home alone, learn a few pranayama meditation methods and practice solo in silence, focused on yourself.
- Change your diet for a Fall-Winter diet that will favor seasonal vegetables, and longer warmer cooking methods such as soup making, stewing, and baking and reduce consumption of raw, cold vegetables.
- Care for your external skin using some of Ayurveda’s cleansing protocols because your skin is your FIRST line of immune defense (second line is the innate immune system and third line is your adaptive immune system) such as:
- Neti Pot to cleanse and protect your sinuses and respiratory system
- Oil pulling to cleanse your mouth of bad bacteria and prevent infection (hygiene of the mouth is directly correlated with cardiac health)
- Dry skin brushing from your extremities to your heart to stimulate the lymphatic system
- Oil massage to feed the protective skin microbiome as well as pull toxins coming out of your skin during a steam bath
- Steam bath in a sauna, steam room, under a hot steamy shower or a hot bath
- Care for your internal GI tract skin and digestive organs by doing a cleanse to start healing and strengthening the intestinal villi so it is invaders proof as well as to strengthen your agni (digestive fire in Ayurveda). The Fall-Winter foods are harder to digest because they tend to be heavier and fatter. If your stomach with its hydrochloric acid, your pancreas with its digestive enzymes, and your liver with its bile and your small intestines with its enzymes and assimilation powers are not up to the task, you will suffer from indigestion, food sensitivity, aches and pains, weight gain, brain fog, further weakening and depleting your body, instead of restoring and rejuvenating it over the course of the winter.
So this Fall and Winter, reorganize your days and weeks to mirror nature’s ways and seek deep rejuvenation and nurturing. It is what will help bring your body back in balance, whatever balance means for you: losing weight, healing a disease, improving your sleep, recovering from a physical injury, reducing aches and pains, regaining focus and concentration, lifting depression, etc.
Looking at the list of 6 suggestions to enter a more suitable Fall-Winter lifestyle, which one could you start focusing on now? You can let me know in the comments below.
If you want my help, I will be starting a second Yoga Body Lifestyle Master Class on November 1 to accommodate people on my wait list. Mark your calendar, I’ll be sending a separate communication for it.