Updated: Nov 9, 2022
I'm one among many to fall in love with fall every year. As L.M. Montgomery put it, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Every year I relish settling in with a chai tea latte, wearing fluffy sweaters, smelling cinnamon scented candles, breathing in the crisp air… it's all so delicious!
The thing is, while autumn holds an abundance of sweet little pleasures, it can also be quite challenging. Such as getting back into a rhythm of school and/or work after a summer of fun, fighting that continual heavy drowsiness, and feeling the shift of the days growing shorter. The changes in temperature and lessened amount of sunshine can cause our appetites to awaken, while our bodies struggle to receive the restoring, deep sleep they need. These events in turn can put us in situations where it feels easy to be frustrated by the amount of effort it takes to complete something which would normally be much easier to get done. Our motivation to be active can also decrease, while our desire to nibble on surgery, high-carb snacks goes up.
These are the reasons why I created a Yoga to Welcome Autumn practice to make the transition into this season one of ease. And also why I’d like to share some of my favorite tips & tricks for supporting our bodies and minds as they make all of these adjustments for us.
My first and favorite tip: slow down a bit, take a deep breath, and remember that feeling funky during this season is normal. If your body is needing to take things at a slightly easier pace than usual, it picked a beautiful time of year to do just that. Drink in the crisp air. Savor nature’s annual, and yet always original, fall display. Feel the warmth on your hands as you hold a cup of your favorite autumn beverage. Listen to the crunch of the leaves under your feet. I feel like I say this a lot, but it’s so important to show yourself compassion and understanding- especially now. Find your own unique piece of autumn to enjoy, then rest in that moment, take a few deep breaths, and remember, not always being on the top of your game is normal sometimes.
My second tip: practice gratitude. You’ve heard it before. There are several studies on the physiological and even physical benefits that gratitude can bring. But personally, I find it extra beneficial to practice gratitude during this time of year because it helps balance out those feelings of not being or doing enough, that tend to creep in more easily around this season. Usually starting in August, I challenge myself to find at least 5 things to be thankful for each day. Wanna hear what today’s were? 1) delicious raspberry jam 2) waking up early 3) cute plates 4) fresh bread 5) gel pens…. You probably can’t tell, but I wrote those down as I ate breakfast. It's not necessary to write them down though. Just having something you’re thankful for, that you can keep in the back of your mind in case you need to grab onto it when dispare tries to creep in, can tremendously help to overpower negative feelings with positive ones.
My third tip is- replace, don’t disgrace (I admit that's cheesy, but it's catchy, so it stays lol). There’s a good reason why your body is saying, “Eat more fries, and donuts!” right now. And the reason is, that as the weather gets colder your body burns more calories to stay warm. Thus the craving for an increased caloric intake. Unfortunately, there’s also a reason why the cold season is known as the cold season (as in siffling nose cold). Speaking of, in this yoga practice you'll find some helpful auto-massages to help reinforce your immune system. Often the most readily available calories are empty and coupled with an overload of sugar (which will not help your body in the long run). A solution to this would be to replace empty, sugar-high calories, with ones that will not only assist in giving your body energy to stay warm, but will also have some nutritional value to boost your immune system. These would be things like nuts, fresh fruit, baked goods instead of fried, etc. Below are three of my favorite fall recipes to equip you in this quest! The important thing is to listen to what your body is telling you, and give it a healthy response. Of course there is such a thing as over-indulgence, so remember loving moderation as you respond to your cravings with nourishing nibbles.
I hope these tips and recipes will make adjusting to this autumn season a bit more gentle for your mind, body and spirit.
May your mugs be toasty, your sweaters fluffy, and your hearts warm!
Healthy Chai Tea Latte
20-30 black peppercorns
15 whole cardamom pods
2 sticks of cinnamon bark
a handful of fresh ginger (chopped)
1/3 L plant milk of choice (plus some for foam)
pure maple syrup to taste
2 tbsp black tea (loose leaf preferably)
-Crush all the spices together (except for the cinnamon).
-Let the crushed spices, cinnamon, and ginger simmer in the liter of water for 20-30 mins.
-Stir in the plant milk and pure maple syrup to taste, then turn off the stove.
-Add the black tea and let steep for about 4 mins.
-Strain into a cup and top with milk foam and/or powdered cinnamon.
Pie Baked Apples
2-4 fresh apples
2-4 tsp of butter
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1-2 handfuls of nuts (raw or roasted, personally I prefer roasted)
honey for drizzling (you can use maple syrup if you prefer the taste, but it won't stick as well)
-Thinly slice-off the top of your apples. Carve out a small-medium hole inside the apples. With your knife, poke a few holes around the sides of your apples to ensure an even bake.
-Place the apples in a baking pan with 1cm of water at the bottom.
-Place about 1 tsp of butter in the center of each apple, then drissel with a pinch of vanilla.
-Sprinkle all the apples with ground cinnamon and ginger.
-Fill the remainder of the carved-out hole of each apple with the nut of your choice, then drizzle generously with honey.
-Place the sliced tops back on each apple, then bake at 175°C (340°F) for 40 mins.
Butternut Lentil Tostadas
(I won't give proportions here because it really just depends on how many you want/how big your butternut squash is)
Small Soft Tortillas (if they're burrito size, then just cut them in fourths)
Baked Butternut squash
Vegetable Cube de Bouillon
Shredded cheese of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
p.s. To bake a butternut squash just cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, and lay both halves, with the cut side down, in an inch of water, and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 30-40 mins.
-Puree the butternut squash, and add some olive oil and salt to taste (I usually use about half a squash for 2-3 people).
-Cook the lentils with the cube de bouillon in the water
-While the lentils are cooking, heat up a large frying pan, then sprinkle a tiny bit of olive oil in the pan. Place a tortilla in the pan, move it around abit to soak up some of the olive oil, then turn it over for the other side to soak up the rest of the oil. Toast on both sides evenly.
To assemble, spread the butternut puree on the toasted tortillas, sprinkle the lentils and shredded cheese onto the puree, then add a dollop of greek yogurt and place an avocado slice and some cilantro on top.