easing the transition to fall

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Ricardo Almeida ©

As the rain aggressively fell outside my second story window, I was reminded of the small joys inspired by the season of fall in the Pacific Northwest. The crisp air in the early morning, the colorful change on the trees, and the pumpkin spice aroma wafting about brings with it a delightful memory of the warm fall season.

With school back in session and summer vacations long past, fall brings about a whole new routine. Shorter days gently shift our focus, increasing the importance to refocus to make the best of our waking hours.

Take these four practices with you into your fall to help refocus your mind, body, and soul thus ensuring a smooth transition into this new season.

 

Journal on your favorite activities of the summer.

Allow for a summer wrap up to take place to tie up the loose ends and prepare for the fall months ahead. Take time to reminisce and remember the joys of your summer. What specifically happened that was really great? Do you have pictures from the experience that you would like to frame? Is there an opportunity to make it a tradition next year?

Find a new routine.

As the daylight hours shorten and the weather changes, our routines will shift as well. Find a balance between activity and rest that feels right to you. Specifically, what shifts in your routine do you need to make? What’s a good time for you to wake up, get exercise, go to sleep? What other activities do you need to integrate into your daily/weekly schedule?

Create a meal plan.

Fall months call for warmer, heartier meals. Find a few meals you enjoy for the week and write out the list of ingredients needed before you go grocery shopping. Don’t have time to cook during the week? Add a new routine of prepping your meals on Sundays or sign up for a meal delivery service in your area that will bring the food to you (prepared or raw)!

Practice gratitude and appreciation for all you have.

It can be all too easy to focus on what’s lacking and what you desire, especially as we move into the holiday months ahead. This practice leaves a feeling of emptiness inside. Instead, start early with a regular gratitude practice to get in an appreciation routine. Nothing is too small to be thankful for. Start a daily gratitude journal. Write down what you are thankful for each day. Share with others and spread the joy of gratitude!

 

Refocus this fall season by taking the time to wrap up your summer. Be mindful of the habits and routines you wish to take into the fall and practice gratitude to set yourself up for the holiday season. Share with us tips in your routine that work for you during the fall months and enjoy these last few days of summer!

 

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Megan Kountz

Yoga Teacher & Life Coaching

understanding the basic energies we are made up of

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fireAyurvedic medicine is a natural remedy that I prescribe to. After years of relying on western medicine, I have shifted my truth to a science that dives deep and locates the root of issues when we experience discomfort, pain, illness, or disease. Put down your prescription pad and get out your notepad.

Ayurvedic medicine recognizes that we, as human beings, are connected to everything around us. What we put in our bodies and our external environment- including climate- influence our internal state.

The ‘makeup’ of our body can be categorized into three different energies. We call these energies Doshas. Our three Doshas consist of Vata (air and ether elements), Pitta (fire and water elements), and Kapha (earth and water elements).

As mentioned early, each Dosha is energetically related to a climate or season. For example, Pitta is strongest in the summer and early fall months. When the weather begins to shift to a cooler front we move into Vata season, late fall early winter. At the start of late winter, we move into Kapha energy staying here through early springtime. Most people’s personalities reflect the season their Dosha identifies with.

The basic attributes of each Dosha are as follows:

Dosha ChartAll body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during late fall and early winter, but those who are predominantly Vata (you can be more than one dosha if the results are close) are more susceptible to it. Stay tuned later this week for my article on how to find balance during the Vata Season.

If you are interested in finding more about what Dosha’s you are made up of, please take the test on Deepak’s website to see which ones resonate with you. http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

mindfulness

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active present

I’ve been thinking, talking, and writing a lot about “being present” as it is, more than ever, a reoccurring theme in my life. Fall is this natural time of “airiness” with the wind swirling and leaves falling we feel a sense of movement. Any time we experience movement, it has the ability to uproot us, to make us feel uncomfortable in our own shoes and restless in our mind. One of my favorite ways to find balance in a mental storm is by meditation and focusing on the present.

Oh no, did she just say meditation? Yes, yes I did. But before jumping to a conclusion about your feelings towards meditation, please read on.

Think of a task today that you might typically move through without thinking, as a part of your routine. For example, brushing your teeth. Typically, our mind might wander to what’s next- (the airy movement)- thinking about what we are going to wear, eat for breakfast, and do once we get to work. Instead, can we add mindfulness to these moments by finding the details in the task? Come back to brushing your teeth and focus your attention on each individual tooth, the feeling of the brush over your teeth, and the taste of toothpaste in your mouth. When we slow down to focus, to feel all the sensations, we ground ourselves in the present. And guess what? This is a version of meditation.

You can meditate doing anything you wish.

Meditation is the act of being mindful in the moment. You can meditate as you walk to work, brush your teeth, talk on the phone, and answer emails at work by cutting out other distractions and focusing yourself in the now.

Today, I challenge you to be present in the little tasks, appreciate them for what they are. Use this presence to ground yourself into the fall season and find balance as the leaves start to drop. Be rooted in yourself, your tasks, your life and find stability as the movement continues and the seasons change yet again.

how we fall

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It’s the first day of tryouts and you are ready. Game on, practice done, this is your day. Mindset is EVERYTHING. Then, you get out there on the field, into the meeting, on the phone, in the classroom and seem to forget everything you had once practiced. Why? Maybe it was that one question or move that threw you off. Maybe it was over preparing or your mind playing tricks on you. We may never know.

 

Anyone been there? Fail; flop, ouch on a big day?

 

 

We all stumble, and we all fall. And it’s ok to be angry or disappointed for short while after. (Emphasis on short.) Don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up over it. Be your best friend. Encourage yourself. We need five positives to out weigh a negative comment. It is our reclamation that shows our true character.

 

Those who are great, people we look up to like Henry Ford, Walk Disney, Bill Gates, Einstein, Edison, Lincoln, and Oprah have all failed. But they all had the courage to get out there and attempt for something more. Whatever the move was in a relationship, at work, on a team, infront of a crowd, or standing up for you it takes courage and confidence. We must put ourselves out there, in a vulnerable place, and be okay with it not working out every time. Eventually, if we try enough it will work. And we won’t let the failures hold us down.

 

Pick yourself up, move past the disappointment. Set your mind and goals on the next. Take one action to solve the problem or move forward from it. Then, take a step to move away from it and towards the next. And after that, the next step… and the next…and next. Keep moving, keep pursuing.

From Batman Begins we are reminded of this in a conversation between Bruce and Alfred.

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Bruce Wayne: I wanted to save Gotham. I’ve failed.

Alfred: Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Bruce: You still haven’t given up on me?

Alfred: Never.

 

 

Never give up on yourself. Failure is the opportunity to try again, only this time wiser. Never stop chasing what you want and deserve. We are not here to be average. You are here to be great in your own, personal way. And when failure knocks, the next day is our second chance.

 

Equinox: Tuesday, September 23rd

Thoughts

Today is the first day of a new season; you get a fresh start. Congrats! As you breathe in the air today, embrace the change as we step into fall. The first day of fall, commonly called the equinox, holds an equal amount of day and night. When I picture this in my brain I see a teeter totter in the park that has found perfect balance. With this balance of solar and lunar energies we are encouraged by the universe to move with nature to find balance in our lives.

 

As we discuss the concept of equilibrium, I can’t help but think about all the areas of our life that we work to create balance. Work to life balance; healthy to enjoyment balance; workout to relax balance; sleep to waking balance.

 

For my yogis out there, we often work to find balance in our asana practice. While tree pose, or vrksasana, is somewhat easy to find initially, it is not as graceful to maintain. Sound familiar? Our balance each day depends on our emotions, what we have eaten, drank, etc. With these components all varying significantly from one day to the next, there is no way for us to find consistent balance in our “balancing” asana/ yoga practice. However, this is the very beauty of life and the practice of yoga!

 

While we can’t ensure balance, we can work towards a happy place with balance. Finding a point of focus, or dristi, helps us remain balanced during periods of movement and unease. Forgiving yourself when you fall out of balance. Being compassionately loving to ourselves as we become aware that we have moved out of balance makes it easier to move back into equilibrium.

 

We also find this “balance” within through a higher awareness. Notice when you are doing too much of one thing and practice your yoga (whether it be the physical practice or not) to stay mindful as we move into this fall season focusing on maintaining a balanced perspective.