Autumn is a time of change, the weather is changing, the air is getting fresher and crisper, the leaves are starting to fall and the crops are changing. It is a period of transition. Autumn is a time for self nourishment and reflection It is a time for slowing down, letting go and feeling grateful. We have said goodbye to the summer(which is heartbreaking I know!! 🙁 ). But change is good!!! It is important to change with the seasons and embrace the transition and adapt our Yoga practice and our lifestyle to stay balanced.
According to Ayurveda(Yoga’s scientific sister) there are three dosha or energies. We believe that we all hold these doshas in our bodies in different quantities. The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between the three fundamental bodily bio-elements or doshas called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We are born with a dosha constituent but food, lifestyle, weather and seasons change our dosha constitution amd sometimes brings us out of balance.
Each season governs a dosha and Autumn is known as the Vata season. Vata is made up of the Air and Space elements.These elements are most prevalent during Autumn and we have an abdundance of them in our body during this season. Vata governs movement in the body, activates our nervous system, reflects our mental health. Excess Vata can lead to feeling of being not in control of our emotions,feeling nervous and anxious., having dry or chapped skin, suffering digestive issues such as constipation, gas, bloating, sleep may be light or interrupted, feeling spacey with scattered feeling and excess thinking or worrying.
To balance our Vata element it is best to focus on grounding to balance the excess Air in our bodies and to bring warmth to counter the drying influence that come into play this time of the year.
I have compiled my top tips to stay balanced in this Vata season, both Yoga and everyday tips 🙂
On our Mat:
On a mat we focus on our awaken our lungs, massaging our large intestines, flowing through twists, side stretches, Warrior poses. Sun Salutation and heated yoga sequenes, Back Bends and enjoy a long shavasana. My top Yoga asanasa for Autumn are:
- Twists: standing twists such as Reverse Tianhgle & Reverse Side Angle and seated twists such as Marichyasana C
- Side Stretches – Side Angle Pose
- Warrior 1 & 2
- Sun Salutation
- Back bends – camel, Little Bridge or your favourite back bend
- Heated sequences – bring some warmth into your practice both to balance the dryness and coolness of Vata and the change of temperature but also to burn and shake off any anxieties that sometimes Vata can bring.
- Shavasana – enjoy a long shavasana to balance the moving energy of vata
Routine is very important for excess Vata. Keep to a routine, having a regular time for your Yoga Practice, ,meal times, bedtime etc.
- Eat cooked and grounding food such as root vegetables.
- Eat at the same time everyday.
- Enjoy warming foods and stimulating spices like garlic, fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric to your diet.
- Eat lots of warm soups and avoid uncooked food as these are vata inducing.
- Sweet, salty, sour tasting foods are known to calm vata
- Warm Teas with fresh ginger, cardamon and cinnamon. Great to get our circulation and digestive system going and to warm the body
- Aim for your 8 hours sleep a night
- Enjoy silence when possible. Excess Vata leads us to over talk so it is good practice to settle into calm quiet time.
- Try to commit to a regular mediation practice such as a Yoga Nidra.
- Regular excercise
- Gratitiude – Autumn is a time for gazing inwards and reflecting on all the things we are grateful for. There are many techniques to practcie gratitude such as 1st thing when you wake in the morning place your hands on your heart and think of 3 things you are grateful or gratitide journally perhaps at night writing down all the many things you were grateful for today. You can visit my post on gratitude for more ideas and a Short Yoga Sequence.