Autumn: a time to ground down and connect. Summer energy is bright, vibrant, full of plans and long days, while autumn offers a chance to slow down and savor pause. Our homes get a little more quiet with school commencing, as do the trails and beaches. We live in a culture that functions as if we were in perma-summer, where taking time to rest feels indulgent or results in fear of missing out. Yet to cultivate balance, our bodies do best when we even out the buzz of summer with the grounding of fall. Everything in nature is cyclical – the moon, the sun rising and setting, seasons, and WE too are cyclical with our circadian and infradian rhythms.
If we think of spring as the planting of the seeds, summer as the ripening of the fruit, fall is the time to savor all the work we’ve put into ourselves through the course of the year. It’s also a time to savor and expose our eyes and skin to the last few days of warm sunlight and call in presence by observing the subtle shifts in leaves as they fade and drop from green to orange to red. It’s a potent time to ungrip and let go of the tendencies and narratives that may be stale and no longer serving us.
Below are some tools and techniques to aid your mind, body and spirit through the special transition from summer to autumn.
The importance of eating with the season
Eating seasonally is one of the most grounding things you can do for your mind and body. Our bodies are built to eat different foods during different cycles of the year. In the past, the weather was the limiting factor for what you could or couldn’t consume. And while being able to access mango and avocado all year round in Vancouver feels like a real treat, we want to make sure we’re eating seasonally for the majority of our meals. Why? The food we eat conveys important information to our gut regarding what time of the year it is. The body will run different programs based on the seasons.
For fall, this looks like consuming warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, paprika, cumin, and turmeric. Root vegetables are grounding, and opt for colourful ones like yellow squash, red beets, orange yams, and purple potatoes to get a plethora of antioxidants. Fall is also the season for mushrooms, which are nutrient dense and pair well with stews, soups, stir frys (or enjoyed as a main feature, like our mushroom ricotta toast). For fruits, apples are a fall staple, and pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and C and can be added to smoothies, oats, lattes (hello PSL), baked goods for fibre etc. Figs are a great snack that are high in fibre to keep blood sugar stable, and taste amazing dipped in nut butter. Bone broth, miso, kimchi, and leek are all great fall staples, as are herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage. In general, opt for more cooked foods and warm breakfasts like oats or omelets, and ditch the ice water or iced coffee for warm water with lemon and tonics, lattes, coffees and teas.
Some of our favourite grounding TurF meals include a Daily Soup, the Veggie Sausage Hash, Mushroom Ricotta or Kimchi Toast, and any and all of the lattes. Keep an eye out for some fall-inspired special drinks + bakery items!
Upgrade your warm bevies
Add bee pollen (rich in minerals and B vitamins), rhodiola, cinnamon and nutmeg to your morning coffee, tonic or latte. You can also never go wrong with a Golden Latte ft. turmeric, which is incredibly warming and anti-inflammatory. Reishi is another great adaptogen to add to the mix, supporting the immune system and deep sleep. We love Rainbo’s Reishi tincture which can be taken daily on its own or added to your warm drink or water. Especially for this season, we’re spicing things up with our pumpkin range: think housemade PS lattes + warming baked goods...
Stoke your inner fire
Now is the season to dive into those activities that really build heat. Saunas (we love Halsa across the road), hot yoga, and all of TurF’s studio programming will stoke that inner fire and get the blood flowing. Even a short dance session at home can shift your day, build some heat and elevate your immune system. Make a playlist (or ask your favourite TurF teachers for some recos), and get moving (we love a good shakeout after a few hours of seated work where the body is stagnant). As temps get cooler, long periods of computer work can feel more chilly, so it’s nice to tend to that inner fire every few hours.
Go inside daily
Arguably a ritual for all year ground – take time to get introspective, daily. This might look like breathwork or meditation, of which there are so many ways to cultivate a practice that works for you. Meditation increases the gray matter in our brains (an area responsible for regulating our emotions), lowers cortisol, increases focus, reduces blood pressure, alleviates anxiety, tackles depression and insomnia and puts the body in a state of heightened healing…if there was such a thing as a magic pill, meditation is probably the closest thing to it.
Rounded plow is a favourite shape to embrace the cozy calm of autumn. Laying down on a mat, you bring your legs overhead, putting a bend in your knees so that they fit nestled into your armpits/ears. You can catch your heels with your hands, forming a plow shape that is insular and amazing for the low back. You can slide a yoga block or towel at the base of your ribcage to act as a kickstand to help keep you in your shape. You can also let your feet rest on a block or blanket to fully surrender into the pose (see image below for further prop inspo!). With your knees close to your ears, your breath begins to sound oceanic and grounding. See if you can stay here for as many breaths as your age, and work up to 3-4 minutes. Come out slowly when ready, and knock knees in, feet mat-width apart for constructive rest to simmer in the post-plow glow.
When it comes to setting the scene for your moments of calm, it’s nice to burn something to ritualize the experience, like palo santo. Its scent is warming and very autumnal. You can also burn a candle to add some warmth to your practice.
We hope these tools and techniques inspire you to slow down, ground and reflect as we transition into a new season ahead.