Hello Yoga Friends,
Autumn has certainly arrived, and how beautiful and bountiful it is. The last hurrah before we bundle up for winter. This changing-over time is associated with the vata dosha (air/ether constitution) in Ayurvedic terms. Although we each have our own unique, individual combination of doshas, we are all affected by a higher vata energy this time of year.
As the temperatures cool down our immune systems are compromised, and the erratic weather creates a feeling of instability and vulnerability. We may feel inspired by the expansive burst of colors and have a lot of great ideas, but if we do not stay tethered to the earth, we’ll be too scattered as we multi-task to get everything done by the winter solstice. Inevitably, this time of year we’ll have a lot on our plate, but forget to eat; make sure those lofty ideas are nourishing for yourself and others.
The nature of autumn, when the leaves dry up and plants die off, lends itself to a sense of insecurity and fear of loss; that there “won’t be enough,” or that we will “not be be good enough.” If our vata energy is exacerbated, anxiety may overcome our common sense and our racing minds may keep us from resting deeply. If we look to nature and remember that before the plants die off they drop their seeds and go into their roots to insure the continuation of the cycle. In our outward, overstimulated society it is sometimes hard to remember that we are part of nature. We too should connect more deeply to our roots and save some seeds for future use. Autumn is a time to conserve our energy, lest we deplete our reserves.
Eating warm, oily, sweet, well cooked, regular meals, like soups and stews and root vegetables, helps us to stay grounded and nurtured. How about a baked butternut squash with ghee, honey, and toasted cashew nuts? After dinner, instead of turning to your computer, or some other nervous system stimulant, visit with friends and family over hot herbal tea or warm milk with ginger and turmeric to insure a restful night’s sleep.
When practicing yoga in the fall, your movements should be fluid and slow, like moving through warm water, and repeat postures held for shorter amounts of time. Balancing postures help keep us centered within the expansion we crave. The seat of vata in the body is the pelvis, so hip-openers will also soothe the vata energy and aid in digestion and elimination. Although the vata tendency is toward flight, it behooves us to rest and digest; find the off switch for the sympathetic nervous system and nurture the parasympathetic instead. So, restorative postures are always good for high vata times. Inversions are good for the same reason, and they balance the endocrine system, as long as they are within your capability and not strenuous.
This week I have begun the Autumn Sequence of my Four Seasons Yoga practice to help us stay connected to the earth as we flow with the wind and reach for the sky this fall. I’d love to share it with you, Wednesdays and Fridays 8AM – 9:30 AM at the Morada Lane Yoga Studio. I also teach a class inspired by these ideas on Wednesdays 5:30 – 7PM at Shree Yoga Taos.
Wherever and whenever you practice yoga, it should leave you feeling calm, centered, and loved, like a warm autumn embrace.
who represents death, destruction, and the end of a cycle
Karpura gauram karunavataram, sansarasaram bhujagendra haram,
sada vasantam hridayarvinde, Bhavam Bhavani sahitam namami.
White as camphor, compassion incarnate,
essence of the universe, wearing a garland of snakes,
ever residing in the lotus of my heart,
to Shiva and the Goddess Mother together I bow