Greetings and namaste!
It's August, and it's midsummer here in Tennessee! I hope you all have been able to stay relaxed and cool so far this pitta season, while still enjoying the beauty, peace and abundance mother Earth has to provide us this time of year. Here in Tennessee, there are so many state parks, swimming holes, waterfalls, lakes, hiking areas, neighborhood parks, nature preserves, farms, community gardens and so much more, so hopefully you have found time in your schedule to go out and get into nature!
Besides getting outdoors and being in nature, another easy way to attune with the natural rhythms of the seasons is by EATING what's IN season. One of my favorite things about summer is the bountiful and healthful eating that is available to us. If you're not sure where to get local, seasonal food, I'd recommend checking out the downtown Nashville Farmer's Market at the corner of Rosa Parks Blvd & Jefferson St. It is open every day 8am-8pm and also has a food court that offers various local & international menus, and there is an international grocery store inside that carries mainly Indian ingredients--a great place to take your Ayurvedic cooking ingredients list. In addition, you can visit one of the many weekly neighborhood farmer's markets such as the 12S neighborhood farmer's market every Tuesday 3:30-6:30pm at Sevier Park, the east Nashville farmer's market every Wednesday 4-7pm at Shelby Park or the west Nashville farmer's market every Saturday 9am-12:30pm at Richland Park.
If you're ready to take the plunge and dedicate yourself to a full growing season of local, farm-fresh veggies, I would recommend joining a farm CSA, which stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." Pretty much, you become a paying member of a farm and you're provided a weekly share of fresh-picked crops that you pick up at a designated location. I have been a member of various CSAs since 2012, and for the past 4 or 5 years I have been a member of Jeff "The Barefoot Farmer" Poppen's Long Hungry Creek Farm, which is located about 70 miles northeast of Nashville in Red Boiling Spring, TN. What I love most about my CSA is there are flexible payment options that make it affordable & accessible. In addition the CSA is organized like a private farmer's market with other local vendors that join weekly or monthly so you are able to pick your own veggies and purchase other items like eggs, tempeh, cheese, mushrooms, bread and even local ethically raised meat if you eat meat. Also, there is a monthly potluck so folks can gather together and share meals, which creates an uplifting and inclusive community around the farm.
In yoga, the term "Sangha" in its most basic understanding means positive associations/ community, so the way I see it, Long Hungry Creek Farms has developed and, quite literally, nourishes a vibrant, diverse, loving sangha that comes together through a sense of "livity"--a Rastafari term that refers to a connection to Divine vitality through natural, healthy living. If yo want to find out more about my favorite CSA visit The Barefoot Farmer's website or email the CSA director Natalie Ashkers and let her know that I sent you :-)
While there is more to Ayurvedic meal planning than just eating seasonally, getting in the habit of learning to eat what's in season to the best of your ability is a great way to tune into the Earth's seasonal patterns, and connect to your own subtle seasonal patterns, too!
Next month I'll offer an Ayurveda 101 in the concept of the 3 doshas of Vata, Pitta & Kapha, how they interact with the hours of the day, the four seasons and your body's unique doshic constitution (called your prakriti) and what happens when your doshas become imbalanced/ disturbed (called your vikriti). Then for October, November & December I'll dive deeper with demystifying the doshas starting with the "master dosha" Vata. Stay tuned!