Surrender into autumn
Autumn is a time of transition and transformation. We can see this all around us in nature, the leaves are changing colour to reds, gold and brown and the air is changing, we have already experienced strong winds and colder temperatures. Morning mists shroud the start of the day. Spider webs hang with silvery dew drops. Now is the harvest festival time.
The season of Autumn is dominated by the element ‘vata’, Vata is composed of the elements of air and space (ether) and it is also associated with the nervous system in the the human body. Vata energy can be chaotic, light, changeable and irregular like the wind. On a really windy day you may notice that children become very excitable and can often take a while to become calm when when it is time for them to settle down into their lessons at school. In adults this may be reflected as feeling mentally scattered or rushed and unable to focus properly on one thing at hand. Vata is anxiety run rampant.
With the abundance of vata energy circulating during the autumnal season our bodies and minds can become overwhelmed and out of balance, and this can lead to feelings of being unsettled, ungrounded and unstable. We blame the weather and mourn the departed warm summer months.
We can’t change or control the elements of nature and the seasons but we can use our yoga practice to help counter balance the affects of the elements that vata has on our bodies, it can have a drying effect in which case its good to massage oils into the skin such as almond or sesame seed.
Because of the irregular and changeable nature of vata its good to schedule your yoga practice for a regular time of the day or week at the same time and if possible for the same length of time too, this helps to build routine and calms the vata energy in and around the body. To help balance vata’s unpredictable energetic forces we need to focus on grounding and stabilising postures such as tadasana (the mountain pose) or vrkasana (the tree pose) mentally visualising roots growing out of our feet deep down into the earth to create a feeling of being grounded and stable. We can use spinal twists such as matsyendrasana to stimulate internal warmth and heat much need on a cold damp autumn day.
To start the day we can awaken, stretch and warm the body with a couple of rounds of surya namaskar (the sun salutation sequence) guaranteed to get a cold sluggish body motivated for the day and finally don’t forget to surrender fully into your practice, don’t hold on like the last leaf on the branch of an autumnal tree. Release and let go.