As the weather changes and we feel the impending chill of winter, there are many steps we can take to ground in the season of autumn. If we look to nature as an example the trees are getting rid of what doesn’t serve them and preparing to go inward to survive the winter. In Ayurveda (a 3000 year old healing modality in India), the sister medical system of yoga, fall is a time of energy circulating through the rough dry air. In autumn we can feel overwhelmed and out of sorts. There are many yoga poses that can help balance us in this unstable time.
Traditionally in Ayurveda there are three types of doshas or energies. Just as each person has their own type of dosha, seasons have doshas as well. The dosha for autumn is vata. Vata energy is cold, dry, irregular, and moving. Vata includes the elements of air and space. Vata in our body is associated with the nervous system and can effect our mental health. While we cannot control the weather shifts and the vata energy that is associated with fall, we can control how we center the energy. Yoga is definitely the practice that will help us with our internal balance during this vata time.
Scheduling your yoga practice for the same time every day for the same length of time helps balance the vata energy. Daily routine will slay the dragon of vata and establish a more settled energy in your body. The lungs and large intestine are the organs that are associated with fall, so we want to concentrate on poses for those organs.
Here are the most helpful yoga poses for the fall vata dosha:
Twists: half lord of the fishes pose and revolved triangle. Half lord of the fishes pose will stimulate the digestive fire in the belly and therefore help the large intestine. Revolved triangle opens the chest to aid breathing and thereby helping the lungs.
Side Stretches: janu sirsasana will stimulate the digestive organs including the large intestine.
Back bends: bow pose, bridge pose, and camel pose. Bow pose activates the organs of digestion. Bridge pose stimulates both the digestive organs and the lungs. Camel pose strengthens the organs of the abdomen.
Sun Salutations: To keep our body warm with the changing weather of fall, sun salutations will invigorate all parts of your body and aid in the settling of the winds of change that happen with fall.
Savasana: the final rest pose will stabilize the chaotic vata energy.
Fall is the time of transformation. Of letting go. Just as the trees are letting go of their dead leaves with the wind aiding in the seemingly turbulent time of transition into winter, we too can get caught up in the moving energy of fall. If we recognize the vata energy and work with it through yoga, we will calm the feeling of overwhelm that happens at this time of year. Giving ourselves room for reflection, staying quiet, and coming to Shree for yoga are all great practices for this seasonal shift that presents itself with vata tempestuousness.