Beautiful Autumn is here, we feel the cooler air brushing upon our skin, move through subtle foggy mornings and its another wonderful chapter that we can all move through with ease, with a little help from our yoga and self care knowledge.
As we now see the changes in nature, the leaves begin to fall from the trees and the trees energy begins to reside. Moving its attention inwards, for nourishment and for the arrival of winter. We too, like nature, must allow our inner seasons to move through their natural cycles. We flourish and rebirth in Spring, we are motivated and create new ideas in Summer, we shed old layers, habits and learn to let go in Autumn, Winter brings a time of hibernation and honest reflection. What a ride right?!
Within Autumn we want to bring in postures related to the element of Earth. Autumn has the qualities of Vata Dosha which are dry, light, cold, rough, clear. The energy of Vata Dosha can bring about imbalances like dry skin, constipation, restless legs, cold hands and feet, dry cough, stiff muscles, trouble sleeping and grazing meals. If your natural constitution is predominately Vata then you will notice these qualities have a large effect on your day to day! (More about Doshas coming soon).
With the airy and dry qualities of Autumn and the noticeable changes all around us, it's time we welcome in the chapters of transformation. Change becomes easier to move through when we feel grounded. When we feel security and safety in our lives, do you feel stable within your life? When we don't feel like we have a foundation in life it's almost like taking the jump to buy a brand new car without any money in the bank. Energetically within our lives we have to have that trust and back up...it doesn't necessarily need to be money, but a knowing that we feel secure and grounded in all aspects of life. If we do not feel grounded or connected to our own responsibilities it's very difficult to take those steps or action towards change. We can feel anxious, fearful and will not want to budge out of our comfort blankets.
This is why in Autumn we ground ourselves, we slow down with the season, we allow ourselves to do less, we allow ourselves time for contemplation and we nourish our bodies and minds. We ground ourselves so we can move through 'change' with ease, its very normal for Autumn and the end of the 6 weeks to feel chaotic, messy and out of your control, but with practice you can harness the energy and ride it with grace!
This blog post breaks down a few yoga postures that can help bring the body and mind back into balance this season. Postures that are perfect for the long holds of Yin, that can inspire small micro movements and can be incorporated into a practice anytime of day.
Seated Neck Stretch
Come into a comfortable seated posture, if sitting on the floor isn't suitable you can do this in a chair. Take a few moments to settle the shoulders and allow the breath to be natural. Interlace your fingers behind your back and bring your interlaced hands to your right waist and hip. Slowly soften your right ear towards the right shoulder, you can stay here for 5-10 breaths OR 2 minutes. On your inhalation slowly lift the head and release the hands, when you feel ready, repeat the other side.
Seated Twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana
Sitting down with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg and cross the right foot over the left leg. Place your left hand on your right knee, the right hand behind you on the ground. Inhale as you create length and on your exhale twist to the right, closing the eyes and softly lengthen the collar bones, broadening the heart. Staying here for 10 long breaths. Gently release with an exhalation. Repeat on the other side. (Can also be adapted for seated in a chair).
Butterfly Pose - Baddha Konasana
Starting in a seated posture bend both knees up skyward. Let the soles of the feet meet and allow the knees to fall outwards, you are welcome to support underneath the outer thighs if the sensations feel too intense. Grasping the hands around the feet or ankles snuggle the heels closer towards the groin, on an inhale lengthen the spine as as you exhale gently reach the heart forwards. Be mindful not to round the spine and use lots of lovely props and cushions in front of you to aid rest in the posture. You are also welcome to enjoy this posture reclined! (So delicious!). Once settled into the posture, stay for 3-5 minutes.
Childs Pose - Balasana
Childs pose is a beautiful posture to calm the mind, as the head softens we withdraw from the external world and stimulus around us and we settle into our soft shell. Protected from busy life we have a little time here to think and breath. Starting in a table top position on the hands and knees, widen the knees and allow the big toes to touch. With an exhale allow the pelvis to sink back towards the heels. You can either support the head on the hands, extend the arms forwards or for our Yin variation put a bolster and cushions underneath the chest and upper body. Let the belly relax and soften through the body weight. If this posture isn't suitable for the knees, hips or ankles you can enjoy reclined butterfly or happy baby pose.
Reclined Twist - Jathara Parivartanasana
Begin by lying on your back and hug the knees toward your chest. On an exhalation soften both legs and knees to the right. Allow them to become heavy, if they don't meet the ground you can place a block or cushion between your knees. Extend your left arm straight out to the side and bring your right hand to rest on the left outer thigh. Stay here for 3-5 minutes, then repeat on the left side.
Supported Neck Release -
Place a block on middle height directly underneath the base of the skull, so that the front edge (the edge closest towards your body) of the block is along the occipital ridge. Your neck should be completely off the block; only your skull is heavy on the block. Relax your neck, allowing it to soften, and stay here for 60 seconds. Then, roll your head to the right, bringing your right ear as close as is comfortable to the block. Rest and breathe here for another minute. Softly guide the head and the tip of the nose back to neutral and repeat the other side. Before you get out of the posture release the block and allow the head to rest on the mat for a while, this could be a lovely posture to do at the end of practice allowing Savasana (Final relaxation) pose to follow.
When exploring all of these postures really give yourself the element of time, within Yin yoga we hold the postures for a long period of time. So these 6 postures could actually amount to a whole hour long practice. Allow yourself to be honest with the sensations you feel, don't push, rush or force yourself to stay in a posture if it's intense. Use props like blocks, cushions, bolsters or rolled up blankets to support the body while it settles into the posture, remember you should be at the happy medium or 'not too hot, not too cold' like goldilocks, that the posture should be justttt right!
Im excited to share more posts like this and would love to hear your feedback! Drop a comment in the post below, do you like these postures? Do you enjoy Yin?!
All my love,