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Springdale, Arkansas, United States
Yoga and reading are my passions - followed closely by cooking plant-based meals. My husband is my guinea pig for my recipes and thankfully he's a willing subject!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Yoga for the Autumn Season



 Autumn is the season for transformation.  Leaves are changing colors, then drying and falling from the trees, the weather is changing, and totally different vegetables and fruits are ripening for the harvest.  During this season of change, just like nature, we must also change by adapting our daily habits, yoga practice and food choices for the season.  Through change, we can stay grounded during this shifting season of Autumn.

Autumn is the Season of Vata Dosha
According to Ayurveda, yoga's sister science of medicine, there are three primary doshas:  Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  During Autumn, vata, composed of air and space, is the most prevalent dosha.  Vata governs movement in the body, as well as activating the nervous system and the processes of elimination.  The qualities of vata energy are cold, dry, rough, light, changeable, irregular and moving.  Vata energy also affects our nervous system which can be reflected in our mental health.

Our bodies and minds can become out of balance and overwhelmed  in the Fall with the abundance of circulating vata energy.  We may feel anxious, changeable, ungrounded, and unsettled.  Other signs of vata agravation include constipation and bloating.  If you have vata predominant consitution like me, it's even more important to take action to find balance in Fall.  To bring our energies back into balance, we can incorporate yoga poses, food and lifestyle choices that are opposite in quality to the vata dosha qualities to bring them into balance.

Yoga Asana (Poses) and Pranayama (Breath Practice) for Fall
Poses that support the lungs/breath and intestines/digestion help to calm excessive vata energy.  Examples would be:  forward folds (both standing and seated); Child's pose, gate, tree pose, Warrior 1, goddess pose, a slow steady Sun Salutations; Cobra, Locust, Bow, and seated poses like Hero.  Compressing the internal organs helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system.  Indulge in a long Savasana (final relaxation) using an eye pillow or a cloth sprayed with lavender to help ground you and encourage a restful sleep.  Try to do your yoga practice at the same time each day and for the same length of time.  Practice right nostril breathing.

Foods and herbs for Autumn
Eat lots of cooked foods that are warm and moist, including soups.  Avoid raw vegetables and salads that increase vata.  Eat two apples a day to encourage elimination.  Drink warm teas made with warming ginger, cinnamon and cardamom.  Choose cooked root vegetables to increase the grounding connection to the earth.  In general, sweet, salty, and sour tastes are calming to vata energy.

Everyday Living for Fall
Try to get a good eight hours of sleep nightly, awakening with the sun.  Engage in moderate exercise - maybe a walk outside to take in the Fall colors.  Enjoy periods of calming silence.  Consider using a neti pot to help keep the lungs clear of phlegm.  Treat your skin to  luxurious oil moisturizers.  Commit to a regular meditation practice.  

So, enjoy the changing season - have a Pumpkin Latte or piece of pumpkin bread and slow down.

Namaste,
Carrie



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