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A Yogi’s Guide to Autumn

Yoga in WimbledonLast week I came home from my summer holiday to find that somehow in the week we were away the UK had put summer to bed and autumn was upon us.

Not that it’s been particularly cold but while I was still embracing the flip flops, everywhere else I looked people seemed to have moved on to shoes and boots, the frappuccino/cold brew advertising given way to pumpkin spice latte, getting up to teach early vinyasa this morning, it was dark and dare I say it but shops selling Christmas cards!

It all made me feel a little bit sad… I love summer, the light evenings, living outdoors, flip flops! I hate the slow descent to the cold weather, once it’s here I’m fine, I like the coziness, open fires and sparkly lights but in the meantime…. I decided to google ‘yoga in the autumn’ to see what I could do to make the transition a little bit easier!

It turns out this Sunday the 23rd is autumn equinox, the official start of autumn so what better time to start getting prepared for the changing seasons.

In Ayurveda autumn is the season of vata dosha, who’s attributes are dryness, airiness, roughness and movement. There are lots of things you can do at this time of year to combat these qualities

  • Start your day with a cup of warm water – it’s time to hydrate and warm yourself from the inside to defend yourself from the dryness of the season
  • Eat soup – the best time of year for a delicious bowl of body and soul warming soup, yummy!
  • Eat root vegetables – make that a root veggie soup! Root vegetables have the quality of the earth in them and are therefore a very grounding food, a great antidote to all that airiness!
  • Use warming spices – Spices like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, pepper, cumin, and turmeric serve to not only make things more tasty, but are warming and can also help ease digestion
  • Establish a routine – as vata is airy it is often blamed for restlessness and air headedness, create routine to combat this.
  • Yoga! – Try grounding and heating poses but take it slow and focus on the breath and mindful movement. As its associated with air vata dosha is easily disturbed so slow movements with intention are the order of the day (or season!)

Fantastic poses for the season

Grounding poses are perfect for this time of year but how about combining this grounding with some gentle forward folds? Child’s pose and standing forward bend are both grounding and turn our awareness inward, winter is a time for connection to the home so poses that focus on internal space make the move from summer to winter easier.

You don’t need to do dynamic practice to build heat in the body. Try boat and chair pose that use the biggest muscles in the body and can really get that internal body heat going!

As mentioned above creating a routine really helps the transition between seasons so try and create a regular routine in your practice.

How about some pranayama?

I wrote a blog earlier in the summer about breath in Yoga and how to use it (check it out if you missed it!) Kapalabhati pranayama builds heat and energy.

To practice this breath, using the abdominal muscles, forcibly exhale your breath through your nose in one sharp breath. As your abdomen retracts, allow this movement to passively pull your next inhale in like a bellows, and then forcibly exhale again. (Think like a dog panting but in and out of the nose!)

Savasana

Let’s not forget autumn is when the studio gets cosy, it’s dark and chilly out but inside the lights are dimmed, candles are burning and all of a sudden there doesn’t seem to be anything better than snuggling under a cosy blanket for savasana and completely surrendering. Sounds delicious!!

Maybe this autumn thing isn’t so bad after all… I’m off to put on some boots, buy a pumpkin spice latte and to kick up some early falling leaves. See you in the ‘autumn’!!

Lisa

See the full timetables for Jiva Wimbledon and Jiva Earlsfield here and book your space online.

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