Flow Into Fall – Seasonal Yoga

By Libby Scanlon, Prana Yoga Center
This time of year the signs of our shift from summer to fall start to enter our field of awareness. The leaves on the trees start to turn, the geese offer their distinctive calls, the angle of the sun shifts.  Even when the temperature creeps up to mid-summer levels we know in our hearts that it’s really just summer’s last gasp where cooler, drier weather is forthcoming. The Autumnal Equinox begins September 22nd at 9:21 am where night and day are the same twelve hours in length all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning, “equal night”.  From this point until the vernal equinox in the spring, there will be more hours of darkness than light.
How does this transitional time of year affect our wellbeing and our yoga practice?  According to ayurveda “science of life” fall is a “vata” time of year with the air and ether (space) elements predominant.  Autumn is cool, windy, dry, unstable, invigorating, mobile, clear-all qualities of the vata dosha.  These qualities can leave us feeling off kilter, unresolved, and out of sync.  To balance the vata nature of the season it is best to minimize light, airy, drying foods and increase warming, oilier, heavier type nourishment (think soups and stews). Regarding asana practice, it is best to minimize vata increasing practice (quick, movement oriented, vigorous) and instead focus on slow, gentle, warming type of practices.  Asana that promotes a greater sense of grounding, warmth, stability and focus are all vata pacifying. Energetically, the balancing effects of nadi-shodhana (alternate nostril breath) help us find our center and more fully enjoy this beautiful transitional season.

A great time to start a meditation practice as we begin to look inward or transition into fall with your existing dedicated practice use these questions borrowed from  Seasonal Yoga :
  • Take time to consider what is your own personal harvest?
  • Who has helped you to achieve this and how could you thank them?
  • As the trees let go of their leaves, what do you wish to let go of?
  • And what seeds do you want to incubate over the winter, ready to grow and blossom next spring?

Explore your transition as you flow into fall and remember…
Sunlight and shadow go within. Focus your senses. Face the challenge. Balance sunlight and shadow. Blend with the path. This is the way of the Tao.  -Tao. 56