One of my favourite seasons. Towards the end of September the next season begins to draw in. Already I’ve noticed the leaves beginning to turn orange and red colours, conkers falling and that general feeling of being ready to let go of the summer. With our yoga practice the change in the season signifies a time to change our practice.
This transition of seasons and the increased windiness in Autumn can elevate our Air element (Vata dosha) meaning that to find an energetic balance we need to spend time in poses that are strengthening, grounding and that create a sense of steadiness.
As Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us, we are all made up of the elements Air, Ether (space), Fire, Water and Earth which correlate with the Doshas (mind-body types) - Vata (Air and Ether), Pitta (Fire and Water) and Kapha (Earth and Water).
As you can see, for Vata who is made up of the Air element, Autumn increases this dosha putting people who are dominant in Vata off balance. This can be experienced as feeling overly anxious, not being able to focus or feeling overwhelmed, unable to commit to anything or just feeling a little all over the place. If that sounds like you, skip to the yoga poses below to find out what yoga poses can help you feel back to harmony.
If that description doesn't seem like you, perhaps you're more Pitta or Kapha.
Pitta has a more fiery nature, loves a challenge and is naturally competitive. How does Autumn affect a Pitta, we all know that fire gets stronger with more air, right? Those windy Autumnal days, especially at the start of the season when it's still fairly warm are days when a Pitta may experience feeling off balance with irritability, getting into conflict easily, rashes, getting hot under the collar - think the colour red! To feel more calm and peaceful, check out the yoga poses below.
On a side note, don't fear late Autumn to Winter is when Pitta starts to feel great! Colder days, darker skies (not that Pitta is a depressive! Pitta is sensitive to the light) and increased dampness makes for a perfectly pacifying environment.
If you're not easily overwhelmed or a hot head, then it seems like you may relate more to Kapha. When in balance, Kapha is a kind hearted soul who loves to help, you are a grounded person, warm and full of love to give. How does Autumn affect Kapha? You're in luck, the start of this season is just right for you. The extra air helps Kapha feel lighter and the warmth helps to release toxins and other stuff that leads to congestion. The transition in the season can help Kapha feel more expansive and positive. Since this dosha is already grounded and steady they can withstand this elevation in air. Check out the yoga poses below to find out how to use your practice to maintain your glorious harmony.
Vata - Especially great for grounding and building focus. To balance excess Vata, bring mindfulness into your practice - notice your standing leg and the support from your foot, notice the foot pressed into your leg, notice the breath - that steady rise and fall with each breath. Hold for up to 5 deep breaths each side.
Pitta - Tree is a positive challenge - perfect to balance Pitta. Find your way into your version of tree, try adding a new element such as raising your arms over head, or closing your eyes and try to keep that tree steady for at least 5 deep breaths each side - or more if you can!
Kapha - add Tree pose into a vinyasa flow. It's great for Kapha to keep moving, perhaps moving from this pose to the pose below (Dancer) or Warrior 3 to make the most of your natural strength. These poses are very expansive and open the chest, helping Kapha to breathe deeply and release congestion. Hold for up to 3 breaths
Vata - Anything where a balance is involved works well for Vata. This pose is wonderful for teaching Vata the meaning of support as well as focus. Again, bring mindfulness into your pose, notice how you get into your pose, how does it feel, notch how your hand to foot creates support in your body. Repeating the mantra, "I am safe, I am supported" will help create an inner support and an introspective practice. Hold for up to 5 deep breaths each side.
Pitta - Another positive challenge, only this one opens that heart centre (Anahata chakra) helping to increase feeling of self love and kindness without having to be woo woo - this pose does this naturally. Hold for at least 5 breaths each side.
Kapha - Just as I mentioned with Pitta, Dancer opens the heart but also the lungs allowing the breath to flow and the Prana (life force energy) to energise your whole body. This is an empowering pose and as a Kapha is naturally strong and steady you will be able to utilise your positive aspects. Hold for up to 3 breaths each side.
I'd love to know how you get on with incorporating these concepts into your yoga practice, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Big love, Emily xx