Supporting Yourself through the Transition with Ancient Eastern Wisdom
The orange, yellow, and auburn beginning to spread across the canopy of deciduous trees rooted throughout the Kitsap area, rain finally falling from our skies, and a brisk chill in the morning air are evidence that seasonal transition is indeed taking place. This movement from the abundance of light, greenery, and growth of summer to the cooler, darker, and slower days of autumn brings change not only to the outward environment but within our bodies and minds as well.
Ayurveda is an ancient medicinal healing system practiced in India for over 5,000 years. To define it simply, in Ayurveda, each person is composed of a specific proportion of energies called doshas. There’s vata, pitta, and kapha. Most people have predominantly one dosha that manifests strongly and defines much of how their bodies and minds function. To achieve optimal health, Ayurveda utilizes diet, herbs, and lifestyle techniques to balance the doshas within individuals to yield optimal health.
The dosha vata is made up of the elements of air and space, which add up to create wind energy within the body. People whose primary constitution is vata tend to feel this wind energy negatively manifest as anxiety, an unstable mood, overwhelm, and they tend to have rough, dry skin and poor digestion, commonly experiencing constipation and bloating.
Fall is considered vata season as it’s the time of the environment slowing and cooling. Regardless of your primary dosha, most folks tend to feel the effects of vata season. Many of us feel it via slower digestion, an increased susceptibility to illness, flakey skin, anxiety, and quickly dissipating energy levels.
Good news though! There are plenty of simple ways (Ayurvedic & western) to counter the potentially negative effects of the energy shift that comes with this season.
Add moisture to the body:
Noticing your skin drying out lately? All natural moisturizers such as those from Wild Carrot Herbals, Weleda Skincare, and Booda Butter can help triage those scaly areas. Body and massage oils like those from Mountain Rose Herbs and Banyan Botanicals also make for excellent topical moisturizers, and a little massage will help to move any stagnant lymph fluid that may also come with the season. But don’t just add moisture externally, the true saviour in replenishing healthy wetness to the body during this time comes from within! Demulcent herbs like marshmallow root, slippery elm, and mullein help the body to produce mucus, which helps line your body’s orifices to help your immune system better fight disease, and to support the mucosal lining of your gut to improve digestion partly by helping with constipation.
Combatting the snap in the air:
Obviously, it’s time to bust out your cozy sweaters and embrace the process of layering for the variable weather of PNW fall days, but just like adding moisture to the body, warming from the inside out is key. Freshly steeped herbal tea is sure to bring comfort, especially if it contains warming spices like Banyan Botanical’s CCF tea (cumin, corriander, and fennel). Embrace cooking with warm herbs and spices during this time too, and don’t be afraid to dig into some hearty, even higher fat foods. A new cookbook from the WILLOWTREE shelves is sure to make your mouth water, and inspire you to get in the kitchen to make that bone broth stew or pumpkin bread with ghee. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom will help to warm your belly and light your digestive fire to aid with bowel movements too. You can find those spices in our bulk section for culinary use, or look for them in more concentrated doses on our glass shelves where they are often available in capsules, tinctures, and sometimes even gummies!
Ease your anxiety:
Ashwagandha and tulsi are two incredible Ayurvedic herbs that help the nervous system combat stress so that you feel less of it. There’s always western herbs like lavender, St. John’s wort, lemon balm, and passionflower that will also help you feel less vata energy and anxiety during this time.
In addition to bringing some herbal allies on board, consider creating a routine for yourself. This structuring allows less space for overwhelm and worry to creep into your consciousness while also helping you maintain your energy levels. Be sure to include time all to yourself in your routine to do what’s needed for you to feel grounded on a regular basis.
Taking a couple simple steps to acknowledge and balance the excess vata energy that comes with this time of year is sure to set you up to make the most of this gorgeous time. Now, sip some mindfully chosen herbal tea, dawn yourself in cozy layers, and get out there to enjoy some leaf peeping!
Sophie achieved her Bachelor’s in Science in Human Physiology in 2017 at the University of Oregon and completed her Master’s of Science from the National University of Natural Medicine in June 2021. She’s now a registered nutritionist in Washington State.
Sophie believes that daily food and lifestyle choices carry tremendous power to heal the body, support the environment, and plant seeds for a better quality of life. Her mission is to improve lives using food as medicine.
Sophie’s diverse background makes it easy for her to relate to different situations resulting in compassionate counseling. Clients come away from her appointments feeling seen and heard. Sophie’s recommendations can help you be ready, willing, and capable of accomplishing your health goals.
When she’s not counselling, you can find her enjoying a breath-driven yoga practice, relishing time cooking in the kitchen, exploring the vertical world through rock climbing or catching a wave out on the straight!
You can meet with Sophie at Willowtree Market.
Please call her directly to schedule an appointment.
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The twinkling starry lights are hung over Winslow Way and folks are journeying from afar to reunite with loved ones are sure signs that the glorious holiday season is upon us!
As magical and fun as the events and energy of this time are, for some, obligations at the end of the year can also be overwhelming and stressful. Along with the fantastical joy of celebrating, there are also major disruptions to daily routines, seemingly constant coordinating of travel plans and meals, and spending time with family members who may heighten your stress response. Add all that up, and it could equal your body needing a little extra love to make the most of these times.