Oh Autumn, you beautiful season you! This has to be one of my favourite times of year (although I think I say that about every season!). The leaves are slowly changing colour and starting to fall towards the earth, the days are getting shorter and cooler although the Sun still makes an occasional appearance and the mornings are brisk and clear. We find ourselves digging deep into the back of the cupboard for our woolly jumpers and the busyness and expansion of Summer is becoming a happy memory as we reminisce on the good times had while noticing a gentle pull of our energy inward towards the hibernation of Winter.
The symbology of trees shedding their leaves to nourish the soil and make way for future growth can be translated to our invitation to let go during this season. There is a transformational energy apparent in Autumn and too in our own lives. Perhaps you could spend some time taking stock of your thoughts and notice where you’re directing the majority of your mind ‘chatter’. Make space for this reflection and and introspecting as you gently and kindly weed out any negativity or unhelpful preoccupations that may have appeared, old wounds that are able to be healed or grief that is ready to be resolved. Change is a vital aspect of this season and leaning into this change will help the transformation occur more smoothly, rather than resisting it. Ask yourself what is no longer serving you and what you can let go of? Then, just as the trees release their leaves, let these things go with gratitude in order to make more space to blossom in the seasons to come (Yoga Journal).
On this note, Autumn is also a great time of year to pull up your woolly jumper sleeves and clear out some old and unwanted clutter from your home. Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of taking on the entire house all at once, instead aim for one drawer or cupboard at a time and enjoy the sense of achievement and space created when you finish the task (thanks for this tip Brooke McAlary). Not only will you feel more grounded, clear and minimise your cleaning, but that vase that’s been hiding in the back of the cupboard might just make someone’s day when they find it for a steal at the op shop! Channel your inner Marie Kondo and get stuck in.
From a Yin yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, Autumn is linked to the metal element and the meridian pair of the lungs and large intestine that run through the chest and arms. Yin yoga poses that help to balance the lung meridian include seal pose, supported fish, melting heart and caterpillar and you may notice these coming up a little more during your Yin Restore classes this season (5 Element).
Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, identifies Autumn as vata season and this can make us more susceptible to feeling unsettled and scattered. Grounding and calming practices are an excellent way to balance this. Breathe slowly and deeply, perhaps using pranayama techniques such as extending the exhalation: take a full belly breath inhale as you breathe in that crisp Autumn air, then lengthen your out breath so it’s a little longer than the inhale. Just a few rounds of this breathing practice is calming and will settle the nervous system. Grounding yoga poses such as the warrior series are excellent as are twists for settling any unstable energy (Yoga Journal). Also, take this as your permission (not that you ever need it) to have an extra long savasana at the end of your practice to replenish, reflect and settle that vata energy. Yes please!
Living in harmony with the seasons is a beautiful way to remain in tune with our natural rhythms. Take time this Autumn to look up and observe the stunning changes in the trees and nature around you, to breathe deeply and to let go of anything that is no longer in your best interests to make space for new growth in the future. And don’t forget that extra long savasana!