It is fall in NorCal. But by what standard? It is 90° F and I have tomato plants happily fruiting.
Ayurveda has a system for working with the seasons and the affects of seasonal weather change on the body. But since the beginning of my ayurvedic studies I have struggled to apply the rules developed in a place that has 6 seasons, warm weather monsoons and only slight summer to winter daylight change. It is clear to me that the indications given for seasonal changes of diet and cleanses were not going to work in other parts of the world.
I have always focused on high level principles when applying Ayurveda rather than nuanced specifics. I love to play with the big movements of nature, to creatively see specific issues through the lens of Ayurvedic principal rather than struggling to be adherent to a system that was created in a specific time and place. But I have never really been able to do this with the seasons. The grip of ‘Seasonal Cleanses’ based on ‘Dosha Fluctuations’ as prescribed in the texts and adopted by the internet is hard to think past.
But thanks to Climate Chaos I am going to abandon this attempt. Our weather patterns are not following any routine related to historical experience anyway. It seems foolish to hold onto received ideas of seasonal cycles. In this instance (and in many others!) blindly following traditional knowledge will only blind us to learning what this new reality means for us.
How do we help our bodies deal better with weather change? How can we manage when we do not know what to expect?
We have to build Resilience to whatever the future might bring our way. For me the core of Resilience is:
Working to control Vata everyday.
Defending your Agni before all else.
I am going to come back to this theme again and again as there are so many way to do these things. Here are 2 simple things you can do to increase your resilience:
Control Vata with Oil and Heat ie Abhyunga: Do it every day to as great an extent as you can. If you have 1 minute oil your feet and hands with whatever oil you have handy. If you have 20+minutes heat the oil (fancy oils available here), massage thoroughly, let the oil absorb fully then steam yourself. Read here if you have forgotten how to do abhyunga.
Defend Agni with Cinnamon. Have you noticed how appealing cinnamon is these days? It has been for me! I am listening to this and adding it to everything. I trust my body as an instrument which is designed to sense balance in a chaotic world. Ayurveda provides us with the principals: cinnamon is warming and moistening. As the days cool but before we get rain Cinnamon is a perfect spice to support Agni, control Vata and help Kapha develop strength. Plus it helps ward off sore throats and coughs.