Shifting Your Yoga Into Autumn
Autumn is the time to take stock of our vital energy stores and move with the seasonal shifts into practices that embrace the inherent needs that this time brings. Saying goodbye to the season where we are most fully expressive, expansive, engaged and social. Gathering the last impressions of summer things start to settle into a different rhythm.
I’ve noticed some changes happening lately in my daily practice. With the natural urge to sleep a little longer, the cooler mornings, darkness coming on earlier and the urge to up the ante with stronger more invigorating practices.
The innate needs of the body/mind are expressing themselves. Each day as I listen and tune in to my energy I find the body gravitating to practices that are more energizing, held longer with a sense of building strength and inner resilience.
It feels like a conditioning time, a time to put in some effort after the peak and heights of summer where my practice was more opening and expressive in nature.
Body gravitates to more rounds and applied with mudras and bandhas again the resilience builds. Mind held in stillness as the prana concentrates itself increases in clarity and I find this time of the year is when I am most productive on projects, plans and affecting things through to their endpoint.
Sun salutations have a definite edge to them – there is a directedness towards clear precision and alignment, time to address any bad habits, investigate alignment from the inside. A natural impulse towards doing some seriously fast rounds with breath retentions – waking up the inner fire of Manipura - the pranic store-house giving me plenty of energy for the day ahead.
Plank is a favourite held posture, drawing the energy into the centre of my being where it can be concentrated. This builds up my inner fire which can smoulder through the day as lasting vitality.
Pranayama – Breath of Fire – Body loves loves loves, mind loves loves loves. Kapalbhati to keep the nervous system clear and vital. Bastrika to boost immunity and strengthen the abdominal region.
This is why I love my daily yoga practice so much. Its informs, inspires and ignites my passion further.
Reading this poem by Robert Frost I am reminded of the continuous flux and flow of life just like the seasonal shifts. Everything goes through a cycle of newness, maturity, decay and death – we are constantly somewhere in this continuum of life. Yoga helps us to embrace those shifts meaningfully and attune us to the subtle forces that are often in the background of our awareness. Through a daily practice we can connect more deeply with those forces and in that connection find a true sense of harmony and balance from the inside out.
“Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”