At last, we have arrived in Fall. Crisp autumn leaves and apple cider nights. As the seasons change we start to align ourselves with nature, clearing the path to becoming more in tune with less resistance. We are in the element of transition. Much like in your yoga practice, transition is a vital term used to help us grow deeper into our asanas. We are told to let go of anything that does not serve us, but first we must ground ourselves.
To ground yourself is a practice connecting with the earth and creating energy that is connected within yourself. You become rooted like a plant, standing firm and inviting for nourishment. This practice allows you to be present, collect and organize your thoughts, harmonize with your vision. An ungrounded presence feels like chaos of distress, a daze, paralyzed. Fall transitions us into the air element. Air is known for harbouring an emptiness, a raw and exposed feeling with endless possibilities. This is vata dosha territory.
What is a dosha and who is vata?! In Ayurveda, health is a state of balance. Amongst balancing the body there are three doshas [enegeries] that we all have: vata [air+ether], pitta [fire+water] and kapha [earth+water]. Although these are energies that resonate within us they also correlate with the seasons. Fall corresponds to vata dosha. Vata is characterized as cold, dry, light, rough, subtle and clear. Preparing and grounding the mind and body is important during a season whose transition includes clearing, shedding and many irregularities in your current routine.
Tips for Vata
Here are some ways for adjusting to the new season without getting stuck or swept away. Lifestyle and dietary changes are a start, you won’t diminish if these adjustments aren’t for you. Small adjustments go a long way. With the season becoming more brisk we want to avoid cold, hard and bitter foods and focus on warm, softer foods which will help the body feel more at home. Drinking tea or room temperature drinks, eating sweet heavy fruits, cooked veggies and organic meats are nourishing ways to balance out your journey in the vata season.
Below is a delicious recipe that will aid in proper digestion, preserve moisture and eliminate waste.
Movement for Autumn
In this chilly season, we still want to have movement. Because we are entering yin season, it’s important we add a little yang activity to our lives for balance. Light exercises and meditation that improve flexibility and enhance balance is recommended. Taking short hikes, light bicycle rides, tai chi, yoga or even dance is beneficial in many ways. Meditating 5-10 minutes a day, affirmations and daily journaling are acts of grounding. A yoga pose that brings stability and focus in my practice is Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose). In Warrior II you can channel strength, stillness and reclaim your priorities with the gaze of a warrior.
Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart.
On your exhale, step your left foot back and toes facing the long side of your mat. Your left foot should be firmly planted on the ground.
Bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor. Bring your right thigh parallel with the floor and encourage your left hip to face forward.
Raise your arms above your head and reach your fingers toward the sky.
Grounding Yourself: Vata Dosha
Option to stay here or allow arms to come perpendicular to your legs and rotating arms counterclockwise making right arm over right leg palm facing down, left arm behind palm facing down.
Connect with the earth, strip down to the quiet essence of your being, agree to balance and savor the simplicity. Fall brings as much positivity as change comes over us. Find yourself again and fall in love.
I am balanced.
I am grounded.
I am rested.
Authum S. Rowe