Autumn Changes in Mind, Body, & Practice
A few reminders from Yoga to You as we transition from summer to fall.
As our weather changes and the temperature drops, it’s important to tune into the changes of the body and the mind. Our bodies are colder; our joints become stiffer. We require more sleep as nighttime and darkness come earlier and earlier. An essential part of your yoga practice is noticing these changes in your body and attending to your body’s needs.
Most of you may not know that our business name, Yoga to You, has two distinct meanings. The most obvious and commonly known one is that we are a mobile yoga studio, traveling to the student. Another meaning of our name is the actual essence of our yoga practice. You practice yoga to return to you, to yourself. When the seasons change and our bodies and emotions begin to shift, we are reminded of our connection and that we are part of a universal consciousness. It is a magical time of year that can be experienced fully and mindfully. While we may practice yoga indoors in a warm studio during the fall and winter, we can embrace the meditative and intuitive parts of our practice when we venture outdoors again. Take a few moments to sit quietly in nature, listening to sounds far and near. Feel the coolness of the air, observe and be content with being a part of the universal spirit. This is yoga in its purest form.
It is also important to balance the sun side of your yoga practice with your moon side. Hatha yoga is comprised of two words “Ha” and “Tha.” Ha is the sun side of your practice: heat, energy, and high pressure. Tha is the moon side of your practice: coolness, meditation, and low pressure. It is beneficial to stay connected to both sides in a balanced yoga practice. Practice restorative shapes when the body is calling for it; nourish your moon practice (the low pressure side) of your mind and body. In the fall, it is recommended to increase the restorative elements of your yoga practice. Below are a few examples of restorative poses that may inspire warmth in the body and clarity of the mind.
Gently place youself on your back in Savasana or Corpse posture while covering yourself with a blanket. Quiet the mind and breathe gently.
Another example is to position yourself on a bolster to lift the heart upwards towards the sun, stimulating blood flow and circulation.
A third option is lying down in a fetal position, compressing the front side of the body and flooding the back of the body with blood flow. Finally, a YTY favorite is placing your legs up against a wall or splay them over a chair. In this pose, the blood flow will drain from the feet and travel towards the heart.
During your practice in these poses, the breath should be normal, easy, and natural. Most people believe that we increase our circulation and blood flow when taking large breaths in and out. In actuality, we create more blood flow and circulation in our body when we breathe less. It is said that an experienced yogi numbers his years in the breaths that he takes and the number of heartbeats in his chest. Therefore, the yogi wants fewer breaths and fewer heartbeats because this practice results in a younger spirit. This youthful vitality is reflected in our bodies when we breathe less rather than more. This is especially crucial as we move into the coldness of winter and our joints become stiffer. We will desire more blood flow and circulation to ease our aches and pains. So, breathe naturally and notice the difference!
Along with spending time in nature and taking more restorative yoga postures, it’s also essential to think about what we put into our bodies. Drinking warm fluids is one easy way to boost the immune system and create a little warmth in our bodies, nourishing and calming the body and the mind. Yoga to You’s favorite wintertime drink recipes are Spicy Saffron Milk and Golden Milk. As the owner of YTY, one of my personal favorites is hot water with one full squeeze of lemon, a tablespoon of honey, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. This particular beverage is especially meaningful to me as my grandmother passed this recipe down from generation to generation. This drink will add warmth to the body and make the soul happy!
We hope that this blog encourages you to embrace this most amazing transition of summer to fall. It truly is a spiritual and magical time of the year.
Namaste. And happy autumn!