Autumnal practice

I, like you, love this time of year.

lemon-cakeIt delights my senses. I make the dog wait while I collect jewel-toned leaves. I pause to listen to the gusting wind and honking geese. I bake a LOT: sweet, warm apple and berry-filled desserts. I may occasionally buy pumpkin spice candles. (NOT COFFEE, though. Mess with my coffee at your own peril.) I build fires to enjoy both their warmth and aroma. I usually don’t mind when the kids roll in piles of damp leaves.

The seasons alter not only our earth, but also our own selves. Moisture levels in the body decrease. Relaxation is affected. Digestion is compromised. You may notice that your skin becomes dry and cracked. Levels of nervousness and anxiety can increase. Insomnia worsens. Digestion becomes sluggish.

driveway-chalkAt the same time, though, creativity, communication and emotional expression have the potential to improve!

Ignore the patterns of nature and pay the price! This year, choose to honor them instead. It’s effective and enjoyable.

The shift to colder, drier weather is particularly disruptive to people with a predominantly vata (air/space-like) constitution. Such folks tend to be angular, thin, quick thinking and constantly on the move. If this sounds like you, read on!

A few ideas:

  1. Establish and reinforce routine. Regular meals, regular work schedule, regular bedtime, regular yoga practice. (The more you struggle with this, the more likely you need it badly.)
  2. Add moisture. Morning and evening, massage warm oil into your skin. (At bedtime, apply to your hair, too.)
  3. Keep foods warm, sweet, mild. Enjoy the season’s root vegetables. Prepare stews and soups. Get plenty of warm fluids, such as cocoa and tea. Focus on abundance and nourishment, rather than weight control. It’s a good time of year to add a few pounds, if appropriate.
  4. Add extra time to relax. (Not on the computer, iphone or TV!) Do this at home, please, not at the mall. Public spaces are usually built to overwhelm and seduce, not to calm and ground you.
  5. Invest in your (healthy) intimate relationships. Soon, it’ll be too cold to stay outside for long, anyways. So get busy indoors.
  6. In yoga, pay special attention to:
  • the standing strength-based postures such as Ardachandrasana (Half Moon), Utkatasana (Awkward) and Trikonasana (Triangle)
  • the forward folds, particularly Padahastasana (Hands-to-Feet pose) and Pavanamuktasana (Wind-Relieving pose). These improve digestion.
  • all of the twisting postures, which purify the nervous system.

legsConcentrate on the stabilizing, grounding, downward pull of the abdomen, pelvis, hips, legs and feet. Use the out-breath to settle, slow and calm yourself.

In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, this downward spiraling, inward, centripetal force is called apana vayu. Get to know it! Apana vayu connects you to the earth and keeps you steady on your feet.

Start the autumn well, and you’ll enter the holidays season renewed and replenished, with a deep reserve of energy.

Let the patterns of your yoga practice spill over into other areas of life. You and your loved ones will benefit, big time!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: