Let the fall season inspire your practice
Autumn is a gift to the senses. The cooler weather, comfort food, vivid foliage, and smell of pumpkin spice flavor everywhere. After a hot and active summer, your body is ready to adjust to the natural, energetic shifts of the fall season. You can easily incorporate these synchronicities into your beginner-to-advanced yoga practice with a few simple, yet grounding adjustments.
Aligning with the fall season seems instinctive and your body is certain to start craving fall foods and herbs, too. Will you be ready to go with the late autumn flow of the vata season? Autumn officially begins in mid-September and goes till late October. Now is the time for implementing changes into your regular yoga practice, switching to new supportive poses, and gathering favorite fall recipes.
The unstable nature of vata
Seasonal energies are real. Autumn brings dry, cold, windy weather.
Vata is associated with the elements of wind and air. Picture yourself standing with your feet firmly planted on the ground when suddenly, a strong burst of wind wraps around you and throws you off balance. You’ll teeter at the mercy of the wind gust while trying to grab hold onto something to stabilize you. That’s an example of vatic energies that can throw you off-balance.
Vatic energy quickly changes, is disruptive, and can easily get stirred up. We see that demonstrated in nature with the leaves changing color then dropping from the branches, the heightened stress with return-to-school responsibilities, and air temperatures dropping in a snap.
One effective way to support the ungrounding nature of vata is to establish a daily lifestyle and yoga routine. Be consistent with what time you wake up, when you eat your meals, and exercise during the fall. Everyone’s susceptible to seasonal vata imbalances after transitioning from the fiery nature of the summer season of pitta.
A calm breathing approach
During vata season, bring in a sense of warmth, grounding, and stability to your yoga practice and extend it beyond the yoga mat. Focus on calming the autumn vata by practicing yogic breathing exercises called pranayama. Alternating your nostril breathing can be very beneficial and support your particular constitution.
Nadi Shodhana, the name for alternate nostril breathing, channels air throughout your body in a concentrated flow. Adding purifying pranayama to your regular practice will help reduce stress and anxiety.
Be gentle on yourself
Some gentle flow yoga pose suggestions for vata:
- Gentle warm-up poses
- Gentle and restorative asanas
- Standing and balancing poses
- Grounding poses
- Twisting postures
- Gentle inversions
- Focus on pranayama breathing
Warm foods to eat in the fall
What are the recommended foods and fluids to reinforce immunity, strength, and energy during the autumn season? Select warm, moist, and grounding food options, which are sweet, dense, oily, spiced, or salty.
Some excellent fall food choices include:
- Avocado, banana
- Apples or pears – cooked in pies, apple sauces, or crisps
- Grapefruit or oranges
- Apple or pumpkin butter
Steamed vegetables (not raw)
- Sweet potatoes, potatoes or yams
- Spaghetti or acorn squash
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Olive oil
- Animal meat
- Soy – edamame, tofu
- Mung beans