As we feel the season shifting into the colder, calmer weather we can sense a shift in ourselves. It can be one of homeliness as a shield against dropping temperatures or it can inspire us to be outside in the changing weather itself. We can feel the need to set up our defenses as we did surviving amongst the trees, foraging and hunting what is left once the cold became apparent. And we can also find the weather brings a sense of clarity and calm if we choose to embrace the chill in the air. Both of these natural inclinations may be correct, or maybe a mixture of the two, but our yoga practice can help us acclimate to the familiar shift.
Fall can inspire cravings for rooted foods such as yams and ginger or deep spices such as cinnamon.
This is a physical example of the cravings of our energetic existence. To be rooted. To be grounded. To
be plugged into the earth, if not to avoid the gusts of winter winds to come but to prepare for the next big shift that happens with the marking of another calendar year gone. Fall can be about listening to these cravings, whether from the couch with a blanket and a book, from the kitchen while cooking for family or playing football in the yard where no one ever seems to get tired.
Yoga can help to root ourselves where we are and who we are. Tadasana, or Mountain pose can be a quick way to ground our energy. If you’re not sure what I am talking about then I invite you to try it.
Stand anywhere you’d like. Anywhere you can devote a moment of quiet to yourself. Imagine you are
pressing your feet into whatever you are standing on. It can be the floor of the office elevator or on the grass in your favorite park. Take a slight bend in the knees. This helps to release tension in the joints and forces the muscles of the legs to slightly engage. Now bring the navel in towards the spine. This takes any tension out of the lower back, a part of the body that takes a beating from daily stress and poor posture. Bring your shoulders up towards the ears then slide the shoulder blades down and over the muscles of the back. Bring the chin in towards the neck to elongate the top of the spine. Imagine that you are connected to the ceiling above you by the crown of your head.
Now here is the hard part.
Stay here. Stay quiet. Stay focused on your breath. Notice the way it moves in the body. Feel warmth radiating from your navel point. You are aware of the changes around you, even the subtle ones. And you are aware of the stillness within your body, growing and comforting vastness that never accelerates, never doubts and never diminishes despite its presence sometimes hidden. There we are rooted.
In my Yoga for Beginners class on Saturdays from 11-Noon, we will be exploring more on transitioning with fall. We will be working on gentle twists as a way to release our experience of summer, grounding as to not be swayed from who we are as things change and open palmed mudras to stir new experiences in us as life shifts around us.