Often the body takes a minute to catch up with what our environment has to offer us. A balanced yoga practice can help our bodies transition through the seasons with ease and grace. Incorporating the following key elements into our practice will help ease the transition along: warmth, energy, detox and restoration.
- Warmth: As you take morning walks, you’ll no doubt notice the cooler temps and lower humidity. This is a good time to start wearing light layers of clothing as you exercise. As the sun rises and your body warms up, you can shed a layer to maintain a comfortable body temperature, or add it back in if you find yourself chilly. Once you arrive at your destination, you might intuitively go for a warm drink now instead of a cold beverage to hydrate. Poses to add to your practice: Sun Salutations, Bow, Camel, and Side Bends like my favorite, standing lateral flexion (Parsva Tadasana), shown here.
2. Energy: Active, summer energy is much different from slower, Autumn energy. You may find yourself showing up for slower, warmer classes. Look for descriptions like yin, slow flow, gentle, mindful, etc. Intentionally slowing down the mind and nourishing the body through simple meditation practices, breath work and gentle asanas can keep you moving in a safe and comfortable way. Some poses to try: Crescent Twist, Side Angle and Legs up the Wall, shown here.
3. Detox and Restoration: Your body does a pretty efficient job of cleansing itself so I won’t say much about “detox” as it relates to yoga. I will say that taking a break from natural stimulants, such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cayenne could work in a detoxing and cleansing way. You may experience side effects from withdrawing from caffeine but 2-3 days is usually enough to get past it. Drinking lots of warm water can be a replacement for the habit of a hot beverage and keep you hydrated. Lemon is a source a vitamin C, promotes skin quality and aids digestion. Find fresh lemons if you can, but bottled lemon juice will work, too. As for restoration; yes, please! This may be a time when journaling feels right for you. A few minutes of writing each day can move busy thoughts from your mind and allow more focus. This journal doesn’t need to be shared with anyone; it’s just for you, your thoughts and your words- grammar doesn’t even matter.
Restorative poses are grounding, restful, energy restoring and all around awesome. Using yoga blocks, warm blankets, and comfortable bolsters, you are fully and completely supported in your poses. The poses are held an average for 3-5 minutes to allow stabilizing muscles to relax, softening your body with each exhale. Just thinking and writing about them feels good! The pose below is a favorite of mine:
Adding an eye pillow to block out light and bring heaviness to the eyes is a wonderful bonus. Take care and time when you come out of these restorative poses.
I truly hope you have a smooth transition into Autumn and explore the changes in your body and soul. What types of activities come to your mind when the cooler weather arrives?