With the Autumnal Equinox on September 22, change is coming. As we transition into fall, the season of transformation, from the heat (pitta) and carefree summer months it is important that we change with the season.
In fall the days get shorter, the nights longer, the weather cooler, the air crisper, the leaves change colors and mother earth yields new crops of fruits and vegetables. Often the body takes a minute to catch up with the environment.
In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, Autumn is characterized by the vata (that which blows) dosha. Vata is light, cool, dry, rough, variable, quick, subtle and wind-like. Vata regulates the nervous system, the levels of moisture in the body, how relaxed we feel and how well we digest food.
In this transition from this time of fire (summer) to a time of wind (fall) we will need to honor the opposite qualities to balance the season. We need to create warmth, stability, slowness, nourishment, moisture, routine and rest. There is no better way to make this transition than with in your yoga practice, food choices, and your daily habits.
It’s important, especially this time of year, to eat three meals a day, preferably at the same time each day.
Warm water and lemon is a great way to get your day started by promoting digestion. To calm vata, emphasize warm cooked, moist foods and avoid raw veggies and salads. Warm soups are great this time of year. Seasonal root vegetables are perfect to keep your connection with the earth. Sweet, salty and sour tastes are all calming to vata. Through gentle cleansing and balancing the body at the change of the season, you’re giving yourself the best chance of optimal health throughout the remainder of the year.
Your practice for the fall season
Practicing at the same time everyday can be very beneficial for the vata energy of fall. There is no better time for routine than now.
Your asana practice should support the lungs (breath) and intestines (digestion) with slow sun salutations savoring the breath, twists to cleanse the intestines, inversions and forward bends all of which soothe the vata dosha.
Include in your practice poses with gentle forward folds. Balasana (Childs pose) Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), Uttanasana (forward fold) even Eka Pada Kapotasana (pigeon) with a forward fold will all help us to keep our focus inward and make this transition a little easier.
As the weather cools off our joints tend to stiffen due to lack of circulation.
Throw in poses that will build heat to keep the body active and the circulation flowing freely such as Navasana (boat pose) and Uttkatasana (chair pose).
Practicing breathing just out of your right nostril will help keep the body warm.
Remember: don’t over do it! vata types can exhaust themselves; make your practice strengthening, not draining. With aggravated vata a restorative practice is best.
The 5Elements Earth Flow class is the perfect class to build heat, detox the body and mind, and ground any excess vata energy. We offer 5Elements Earth flow everyday of the week check our schedule to see which time works best for you!