This Fall I’ve been waking early and taking a walk in my neighborhood park, McGorlick Park, feeling the morning light on my skin, and enjoying the trees as they change daily. I’ve been embracing the process of of letting go and distilling that the Fall season offers. It is the perfect time to reflect and see what isn’t essential in your life and let it go. By releasing the unnecessary, we create space for the recognition of what we do want and for who we are. Fall is the time to contract and draw inwards—the time to study, meditate, and embrace more focused internal activities, plan, and store up only what is essential for the deep hibernation of Winter yin. I’ve been spending alot of time journaling, harvesting my dreams, and clarifying my vision for my life. It’s been very grounding and I feel more connected to my inner voice. I invite you to try some of these practices this Fall to help you refine your essence and connect with your deepest self.
3TBSP LEMON JUICE
1/4 CUP RAW HONEY
2 TBSP COCONUT OIL
Honey has powerful anti-viral and anti-microbial properties! In clinical studies, honey has shown to be just as affective in alleviating coughs as over the counter cough medicine. Honey is also known to help alleviate allergies. According to this article, taking a few teaspoons of local raw honey a day prior to pollen season can be affective in boosting your immunity to pollen!
Lemon juice is often used in home remedies for a good reason! It is known to help boost the immune system and also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. I personally like to drink lemon juice when I have a stuffy nose. It helps to clear my sinuses so I can breathe better.
Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and contains lauric acid, which is anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Coconut oil can be used to help prevent colds by boosting the immune system. Once the cold is set in, coconut oil can help reduce the length of sickness and can be quite soothing when added to warm honey-lemon water or tea.
Mix these three ingredients together and you have yourself a super immune boosting syrup that will help alleviate coughs and sore throats!
101 Uses for Coconut Oil from Wellnessmama.com
- In cooking as a great oil with a high smoke point. Great for baking, stir-frys or as a dairy free replacement to butter.
- Taken supplementally for daily energy
- As a coffee creamer when emulsified into coffee (The only way I’ll drink coffee)
- On the skin as a basic lotion
- In homemade lotion bars for soft, smooth skin
- In homemade deodorant or deodorant bars
- As an eye-makeup remover
- As a cloth diaper safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom)
- In making your own Remineralizing Toothpaste
- To lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
- To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
- To support healthy thyroid function
- In homemade Mayo without the high PUFA vegetable oils
- To help increase sun tolerance and avoid burning
- As a naturally SPF 4 sunscreen
- In homemade lotion recipes
- To get rid of cradle cap on baby- just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth
- Topically to kill yeast or yeast infections
- As a delicious tropical massage oil
- It’s high Lauric acid and MCFA content helps boost metaboism
- A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair will help get rid of friz
- As an intensive nighttime facial moisturizer
- Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower)
- Rubbed on lips as a natural chap stick
- Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection
- Directly on the perineum to help heal after birth
- As an incredibly intensive natural conditioner- Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours
- On feet to fight athlete’s foot or tor fungus
- In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to sooth irritation (also great for baby!)
- Can help sooth psoriasis or eczema
- There is some evidence that regular ingestion of coconut oil can help prevent or reverse Alzheimers
- With apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice that actually works
- In natural Homemade Sunscreen
- In healthy brain boosting snack for kids like Coconut Clusters
- In a filling and energy boosting Brain Powder Smoothie
- Rub coconut oil on the inside of your nose to help alleviate allergy symptoms
- Nursing moms can take 3-4 tablespoons a day (and Vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients
- There is some evidence that coconut oil helps digestion and may even kill intestinal parasites or yeast
- Mix a tablespoon with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost (do NOT take this at night!)
- Can help improve insulin levels
- Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil helps improve gum health
- Can help improve cholesterol ratios
- Blend a tablespoon into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold or flu
- In Homemade Natural Bug-Off Lotion Bars
- As a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe
- Better for high-temperature cooking than olive or vegetable oils
- Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins
- After initial heat is gone, can help speed healing of sunburn
- Is an immediate source of energy when eaten and isn’t stored as fat
- As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora
- As a naturally antibacterial skin cream
- In natural homemade diaper cream
- As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
- When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite
- To season cast iron skillets
- It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help lessen arthritis
- Can reduce the itch of mosquito bites
- Can help resolve acne when used regularly
- Can be rubbed into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth
- I’ve used in kids ears to help speed ear infection healing
- On split ends to de-frizz
- A small amount can be rubbed into real leather to soften and condition (shiny leather only… test a small area first)
- By itself as a great tanning oil
- Mixed with salt to remove dry skin on feet
- Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily
- Can help improve sleep when taken daily
- Can be used to speed healing of fungal infections when taken internally and used externally
- A tablespoon melted into a cup of warm tea can help sooth a sore throat
- To help sooth the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy
- It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium
- Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth
- Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
- By itself as a natural deodorant
- By itself or with baking soda as a naturally whitening toothpaste
- For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally
- Some evidence suggests that the beneficial fats in coconut oil are helpful for those with Autism
- In homemade vapor rub
- As a safe cooking oil for deep frying
- A tablespoon taken before each meal can help improve digestion
- Can be taken in warm ginger tea to sooth heartburn or nausea
- As a completely natural baby lotion
- On hands after doing dishes to avoid dry skin
- Mixed with catnip, rosemary, or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent
- Can be used on mom’s nipple and baby’s mouth to help treat thrush
- Many use it as an anti-aging facial moisturizer
- Use to make coconut cream concentrate for a brain boosting snack
- Can be used internally and externally to speed recovery from UTIs
- When taken regularly, it can help fight candida
- When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production
- Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
- Can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
- On cuticles to help nails grow
- Rub into elbows daily to help alleviate dry, flaky elbows
- Add to smoothies to give them a nutritional boost
- Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development (especially when taken with Fermented Cod Liver Oil)
- In any recipes where vegetable oils are used
- Whipped with shea butter for a soothing body balm
- One reader swears by using coconut oil to treat yeast infection. She suggests soaking a tampon in it and inserting the tampon for a few hours.
- Naturally clears up cold sores
- Ingesting coconut oil daily can help with allergy symptoms
- Ingesting coconut oil daily can increase mental alertness
From Fruit to Root: Seasonal Practices for Body, Mind and Spirit
Take a look around! This present moment has within it a story to tell about your wellbeing.
If we choose to stay in optimal health then paying attention to the natural cycles around us are of utmost importance. In the wisdom healing traditions of the east, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the transition between seasons is the time when we are most prone to getting sick or out of balance.
September is a transition month from late summer to early fall. We see this in the way the days become cooler and shorter as leaves begin to change color. This is the time when apples are ready, potatoes and winter squash begin to ripen and the last of the tomatoes are picked. Michael Meier, the farmer at Seven Arrows East describes how the unpicked fruit falls from the plant and goes back to the earth to add supported nutrients to the roots. “The crown of the perennial plant begins to die back from its outward expression toward the sun, so its energy is sent downward, concentrated and sustained in its roots.”
In a similar way our bodies begin to do the same thing in the fall. We play hard in the summer, enjoy the sweetness of NJ peaches, blueberries and corn and then, as autumn begins to wave her multi-colored locks in the wind, fall brings the energy of settling down, rooting into projects and making commitments.
As the transition happens in the world around us as well as in our bodies and minds, there are a few things we can do to find ease. Transition whether good or bad is a vulnerable time for most and can come with a bag of mixed emotions. These five tips help establish firm and optimal health both physically and mentally during the transition between seasons.
Touch the earth. One of the many ways to do this is stand barefoot on the earth. Inhale as you raise your arms above your head with palms facing the sky. Exhale and lower the arms palms facing down. Feel the energy of nature around you move through you.
Abhyanga, (self massage with oil). Our skin is our natural layer of protection from the outside world. If the skin is dry and cracked, it is easy for germs to take root and grow. If the skin has natural lubrication it can fight off germs more easily. Don’t worry the oil you use will be absorbed into your skin and not leave an oily coating on your skin or clothes. Here’s how to do it. After a shower, use a good cold pressed almond oil or sesame, which can be purchased at Dean’s or Healthfare. You can also mix your favorite essential oil in the base oil. Frankincense, rose, jasmine and sandlewood are all excellent oils for the fall. Start with the feet and massage up the legs toward the heart. Massage from the arms to the heart. Circle around the belly and low back, shoulders and face. Allow a few minutes for the oil to absorb before you dress. Abhyanga increases circulation, protects the skin, boost the immune system and grounds scattered thoughts.
Cook for yourself. Pay attention to the food you eat. Visit one of the many farmers markets throughout Monmouth County. See the bounty of colors that appear this fall. Establish a connection with what is growing locally. Cook simply. A little salt and ghee or clarified butter on fresh steamed root vegetables like potatoes, daikon or beets can open your sensitivity to the sun, wind, earth and rain that came together to create the food.
Awareness and gratitude. Experience each day for what it is- rain/sun, cold/hot, sun/clouds, solitary/social, work/play. All of the manifestations of weather and the elements are necessary. Be aware of how the weather makes you feel without judgment. If we are aware in the moment of what we hear, smell, see and even think then we can release worry about the past or future. Attunement to the present moment will automatically align us with the seasons and inspire a desire to take optimal care of this body for the long haul.
Even if life is challenging we can always be grateful we are alive and have another breath and another opportunity. This helps to keep your mind clear and in the present. It’s unrealistic to try to always “be happy”. Life happens and we need to experience the varying degrees of emotions life holds, while holding a realistic view that the happiness and sadness both come and go.
A balanced life comes from awareness. As the seasons transition from summer to fall we can nourish our body, mind and spirit through food, massage, connecting with the earth and staying grateful.
Balance Vata Dosha this Fall
Are you always rushing? Taking on too many tasks simultaneously? Is it difficult to complete projects? Are you finding your skin and lips drying out and your joints cracking alot? Are you experiencing insomnia or having difficulty sleeping? Are you spacey and ungrounded? Do you feel anxious, nervous, or afraid? Are your emotions swinging all over the place-one minute you are ecstatic and the next full of grief? Are you constipated or gassy? Feeling confused, isolated, or lacking in goals? If you are experiencing any of these things, your Vata dosha may be out of balance.
According to Ayurveda, Fall is the season when the wind element or Vata Dosha increases in all of us. Those who are predominantly vata dosha have a particularly difficult time and will deeply benefit from adopting some simple Ayurvedic suggestions to help keep the wind element in balance this Fall.
To help you stay grounded and connected, take care of yourself by eating warm nourishing foods, plenty of time for relaxation and quiet, a steady routine, loving touch through massage, and make time for intimate relationships with friends and family. Add more sweet, salty, and sour tastes in your diet. Eat plenty of root veggies with warming spices to boost your digestive fire this Fall. Soups are particularly helpful and we love soup as the weather starts to get cold!
Add this yummy cashew cream on top of your favorite root veggie soup to add more sweetness into your life!
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup cold water, and more as needed
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar or maple syrup (optional)
To make the cashew cream, soak the cashews in cold water overnight.
Drain cashews. Add them to a food processor and pulse a few times to grind them up.
With the motor running, drizzle in fresh water (start with 1 cup), stopping a few times to scrape the bowl of the food processor down. You can continue to add more water depending on how thick or thin you’d like the cream to be; you may want it as thick as whipped cream, or you may want it to be closer to the texture of coconut milk. Keep adding water until you like the consistency.
For a savory cream, add the lemon and sea salt. For a sweet cream, add the maple syrup, cane juice, or sugar. Feel free to vary flavorings as you like!
Join Leigh Evans for her Vata Dosha Dinner, Sun. Oct 6 at her house in Brooklyn. Share a meal together and learn ways to balance your Vata dosha this fall.
contact Leigh - firstname.lastname@example.org
What does abundance mean? We think so often in terms of monetary gain. I believe that when our eyes open to the idea that everything we need is right here in the NOW then we have it the abundance nail on the head. Abundance can manifest in having so much beautiful organic food that you can give it away, finding all the herbs that you need to heal yourself in the “weeds” growing outside and feeling love and friendship so richly that you can relax in who you are.
We manifest our world through being honest. Then through visualizing specifically what we want. I wanted to live closer to nature, near water, I visualized it, believed it was in the works, stayed positive to the idea of it coming soon and Mae asked me to move to Seven Arrows. I need to build blood, pray for healing and the farmers teach me how to tincture the yellow dock that is growing outside. The jars are here and the vodka was left over from a wedding. I didn’t spend a penny. That is abundance. In order to receive abundance we must create the cause through generosity.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra we are taught that asteya (not stealing) brings wealth. The other side of not stealing is generosity. When we can give away the beautiful new hand dyed scarf that we just paid a pretty penny for to the teenager who adores it or give away our last $20 to someone on the street, without regrets, then we create a force of generosity that exceeds the limitations of our ego. Everything we need will be right before our eyes if we open up to this way of living and give what is ours to give freely to others. There are powerful ways to make offerings, whether great or small. If all you have to give is $1, a stick of butter, a flower or leaf to someone who has helped you, your teacher or the Lord, in your mind you can multiply that and see millions of yourself holding millions of the object you are offering. Mind is the most powerful thing.
Another way to generate abundance is through the act of sympathetic joy. When you drive by beautiful mansions, see people living a life you would like, hear of those with lots of wealth, health, whatever sounds abundant to you then WISH THEM MORE. May they not just have a million dollars, may they have a trillion. May they have many houses, cars, yoga vacations, beautiful scarves, etc. May their body always look that beautiful, may they always have a perfect relationship, may their children always be perfect, etc. Don’t start thinking about corporate american and the collapse of the economic system at this point. Its mind training! It destroys jealousy. It creates the causes for us to see ourselves living abundant lives.
And lastly, gratitude is the icing on the abundance cake. We would never be able to see what’s in front of us without being grateful everyday for the things and people in our lives. It helps to extend gratitude to those who have harmed us in the past and we can see how we grew from various situations. We can be grateful for being alive, having clean water to drink and air to breath. We can be grateful that bees are still alive on this planet and pollinate our food. We can be grateful that we have a home, the technology that we have to read this, enough clothes to cover us appropriately in each season….
This has been my experience. These simple techniques of generosity, sympathetic joy and gratitude have brought me to a place where I can truly say, “I am content. I have an amazing life. I am so happy and grateful to be alive and for everyone and everything in my life.”
We fear what is best for us. We compromise the highest goals for the mediocre and make excuses like money or time. Money and time don’t truly exist. Visualize who you want to be today, and what you need to get there. Then open a crystal clear portal of intention and stay positive in the belief that it is happening. When doubt arises, look at it and say, “huh, there is doubt, I have a choice not believe that”. We manifest our outer world through the inner world.
“Humans are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.”
- Lao Tzu