As the autumn winds creep in and the summer glow fades, it seems Mother Nature is once again reminding us to let go instead of hold on with faith that after a period of rest, new growth will appear. The change in season is an invitation to come inside and pay attention.
It may seem obvious that you are adjusting your outer life to acclimate to the changing weather outdoors, but what we often forget is the shift that is necessary in the inner realm when seasons change. Aligning with nature helps you live in the path of least resistance. If you really tune in to your body and spirit, you'll notice an inner calling for a necessity to shed in the autumn season.
Time to Let Go
You may have heard your yoga teacher say something like, "Let go of what no longer serves you" as you move through class. While this common saying speaks truth, have you ever really contemplated what areas of your life might benefit from this philosophical idea?
It might mean something as simple as completing an out-breath in any given moment, or as complicated as walking away from an outgrown relationship. When you embrace the cycle of letting go, rest, and rejuvenation as the year moves forward, autumn is the time for a deliberate pause.
"Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop." - Rumi
In anticipation of a New Year, autumn is a time when you can take stock of your life, determine what is serving you well (like a yoga practice, dedicated meditation time, or evenings spent with friends), and what is not serving your highest good (drinking every night, going to bed too late, or succumbing to anxious thoughts).
With the support of Nature on your side, consider the following ways you might shed your dead leaves at this time of year:
Let go of grudges.
Be easier on yourself.
Take a break from self-improvement. Spend this season being in love with yourself exactly as you are.
Let go of your thoughts and feelings of insecurity. Replace them with affirmations.
Simplify your schedule.
Limit your time on social media. Remove notifications and the need to check your phone ALL OF THE TIME.
Clear up your clutter. Throw things away. Weed out what is weighing you down.
Try to stick to a daily routine and schedule in more downtime than usual to prevent imbalance.
Time to Get Grounded
Your yoga practice is a powerful way to bring harmony into your physical and subtle body. It provides you an opportunity to look at your daily practice as a way of removing whatever is in the way of your flourishing, authentic life. It is a wonderful time to ask yourself, what brings you joy and nourishes your mind, body, and spirit?
When we look at what we want to incorporate into our lives to bring us into balance and harmony, then we can remove "waste" from our systems and prepare for an abundance of health and vitality.
The science of Ayurveda teaches us to live in harmony with nature. Autumn corresponds to the Vata Dosha, and is characterized by the qualities of coldness, dryness, and excessive movement (think - wind). An imbalance of vata can lead to anxiety and nervousness. Ayurvedic medicine believes “like attracts like,” as well as that opposites help a person achieve balance and harmony. In the fall, we have a tendency to do what nature does and continue in a pattern of movement and forward motion without taking time to stop, pause, and turn inward.
Ayurveda is not a quick-fix approach. Instead, it believes slow and steady adjustments to our daily choices, thoughts, and actions have the power to prevent future health concerns and alleviate current issues over time. Yes, time. So get ready to practice that patience.
In a yoga practice, we can include grounding, earthy, and calming poses, which are ideal to help you feel centered. Earth energy helps to balance excess wind/air energy. It’s better to move more slowly in your practice, spending a little extra time in each pose. Flowing too quickly or in a hurried or forced way can aggravate Vata, which is prone to overexertion and fatigue. Don’t rush!
Enjoy and relish every transition mindfully for a Vata-pacifying practice.
You can bring harmony back to the body and mind by slowing down, giving room for reflection, and creating a state of ease with our relationship to change. Below, you will find a few suggestions to get you started. Please try not to feel overwhelmed. Instead, keep in mind that just one or two intentional shifts can have a dramatic impact and that it is important not to over-extend yourself. This is a perfect opportunity to embrace going slow, being intentional, and remaining open to the possibility that for you, less may truly be more. What’s important here is to follow your inspiration, and to keep things as simple as possible.
Additional ideas include:
Focus on one thing at a time.
Create routine around rituals - morning & evening.
Make time for daily relaxation.
Eat foods that are well cooked, moist, and soothing.
Take a healing restorative or yin class to feel more grounded and rested.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule and greet the day with gratitude.
Meditate for 5-20 minutes.
Follow your breath for 1-10 minutes.
Practice Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, alternate nostril breath.
Feel your body being grounded with a body scan.
Take a slow, warming bath.
Listen to slow, relaxing music.
Enjoy a warm cup of tea with lemon and a little honey to help with detoxification and stimulate elimination.
Close your eyes, pause, and smile. You are enough.
Autumn is a wonderful season. May you be inspired to let go and get grounded with resilience and grace.