Celebrating Autumn

 

AutumnAutumn is the season of transformation. We see this all around us in nature: leaves are changing in color and falling, the air is getting crisp and we are harvesting entirely different crops of fruits and vegetables.

It is associated with physical, emotional, and spiritual growth and transformation as well. We shift our emphasis from outward achievement to inner reflection and contemplation. It is a time for letting go, releasing what no longer serves us in order to grow and renew we need to make space for new things.

Autumn is a season for reflection. Our lives can get so busy that we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge completion. We tend to move from one task to another, and then to another still. Take some time to create gaps in between your tasks. Pause, give yourself a moment to reflect and take stock. Celebrate the completion of whatever you have done. Take some time to wind down, rest and relax in the evenings.

For autumn season, try making your yoga practice more consistent. Try to build a routine by practicing yoga at same time every day and for the same length of time. Keep the pace slow and steady and the breath deep and calm. Incorporating the ujjayi (ocean breath) is an effective means to bring warmth and calm to your practice. Moving fluidly, repeat poses or short sequences. Avoid making your practice too vigorous and give yourself more time to pause and hold poses for several breaths. 
Bring postures into your practice that are grounding, strengthening, warming, and calming. 

  • Sun Salutations increase blood circulation, bringing warmth to the chill of autumn. Practice them slowly and mindfully.  
  • Lying and seated spinal twists and side stretches calm the nervous system.  Make your breaths as full as possible to receive full effects.
  • Gentle backbends combined with forward bends are warming and calming. Backbends keep our hearts open to balance the tendency slouch and round the shoulders forward as a response to colder temperatures.
  • Standing poses ground the body and mind. Focus on the foundation of the pose for stability. 
  • Forward folds bring peace and calm to the body, slowing the breath and heart rate.
  • Below are some ideas for an autumn practice.

 
This may be a good time to commit to a regular meditation practice to help quiet and center the active mind. Meditate on grounding imagery, like a tree or a mountain. Below is a 20 minute guided mountain meditation by Jon Kabat Zinn.  Further below is a 12 minute grounding meditation to try. Get more ideas for meditation practice here.

You have to grow from the inside out.
 None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.
 There is no other teacher but your own soul.
 ~ Swami Vivekananda