Autumn is the time of year associated with transformation. Nature gives many examples of the change in falling leaves, cooling air and harvests full of seasonal vegetables and fruits. Like nature, your yoga practice and lifestyle habits should change with the seasons to enhance your well-being. Follow these tips to take an Ayurvedic approach to fall this year.
Ayurvedic Energy for Fall
According to Ayurveda, each season is associated with its own dosha, or energy. During autumn, the vata dosha is at its peak. This energy is responsible for the body's movement, process of elimination and the functioning of the nervous system. Linked with space and air, vata's qualities are rough, changeable, cool and irregular.
This energy is believed by Ayurvedic practitioners to have the ability to throw the body and mind into a state of imbalance during autumn, making you feel unstable and unsettled. Aligning your yoga practice and lifestyle with this energy may help restore internal balance and bring stability to your life throughout the season.
The Best Yoga Poses for Fall
During autumn, incorporate poses that focus on the large intestines and lungs into your yoga practice. These organs, in Ayurveda, are affiliated with the fall season, and focusing on them can calm your vata dosha.
The Half Lord of the Fishes, Revolved Triangle and Noose poses are twists that focus on these organs. For side stretches, try the Revolved Head-to-Knee pose, and for backbends, try the Camel, Bow and Bridge poses. Sun Salutations and the first and second Warrior poses are other poses that will align your vata dosha.
While practicing these poses, maintain a slow, steady and smooth pace. Vata energy is believed to increase the risk of injury and make the joints feel stiff, but taking your time and thoroughly warming up can prevent injury. If your body still feels stiff following a warm-up, picture yourself moving through warm, calming waters as you do each pose.
Following your sequence, calm your vata energy by holding the Shavasana pose, also known as the Corpse pose, for twenty minutes. This will center your mind and body while calming your vata energy.
Embrace a Seasonal Diet
Enjoy the fall harvest by eating seasonal fruits and veggies, especially root vegetables that reaffirm your relationship with the Earth. Warm up on cool days with soups and enhance calmness by consuming small amounts of sour, sweet or salty foods.
Vata energy can take a toll on digestion. If you are experiencing stomach issues during fall, sip on a warm tea made from cinnamon, fresh ginger and cardamom. This Ayurvedic mixture is believed to improve circulation throughout the season.
Make Lifestyle Changes for Fall
Alter your bedtime to get eight hours of sleep each night and rise with the sun. Regulate the effects of vata's unsettling nature by making moderate exercise part of your daily routine, and enjoy the silence of the season by vowing to curb unnecessary speech. Some practitioners opt to continue the theme of clarity by meditating each morning on the changing state of the season. Consider an autumn retreat at somewhere like the Art of Living Retreat Center, where you can practice and meditate in an Ayurvedic environment.
Incorporating all of these practices will help balance vata energy and keep you settled and stable throughout the fall season. In the season of irregularity and change, incorporating new habits and making them part of your daily routine will ground you and enhance your well-being until winter arrives.