Taking care of ourselves in Autumn

October 5, 2017

So I think it is safe to say that Autumn is well and truly upon us - the nights are drawing in, the mornings are crisp, and ground is strewn with crunchy, golden leaves. Without a doubt, Autumn is a beautiful season and is definitely one to be enjoyed with all of the senses. However, for some of us, the darker mornings and cooler temperatures can lower our mood and motivation, and have us yearning for the feel of the warm summer sunshine on our skin again. So as we move through Autumn and into the Winter months, taking a bit of extra time to look after ourselves is more important than ever.


Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, believes that everything is made up of certain qualities, or doshas. Autumn is governed by the Vata dosha, and it's qualities are: dry, rough, erratic, cool and changeable. So it is possible that during the windy Autumnal months we may find ourselves feeling unsettled, anxious or scattered, and may have trouble sleeping or switching off; however, there are lots of things that we can do for ourselves to counteract these qualities and bring ourselves and our bodies back into balance.








A grounding Yoga practice


As we observe nature around us transitioning and 'stripping back', we can think about slowing down our Yoga practice and maybe including some grounding poses, staying close to the floor, and spending some time holding restorative poses, deeply relaxing the body and mind. Some good asanas, or poses, for your Autumn yoga practice could include the following:


- Child's pose (Balasana) - Sitting the bottom back on the heels and either taking the arms in front of you or taking them back towards the feet, and really feeling the hips grounding and rooting down into the mat

- Taking a few slow and steady rounds of Sun Salutations to build a gentle heat in the body, warming cold and tight muscles

- Moving the body through Cat/Cow with the long, slow breaths and feeling your hands and knees connect with the earth beneath you

- Low lunges (Anjaneyasana) with the back knee grounded feeling the hips relax down towards the ground

- Tree pose (Vrksasana) for a gentle balance (a lovely option here is to visualise yourself as a tree shedding its leaves)

- Forward folds, either sitting or standing, which encourage the mind to quieten and still

- Gentle inversions, such as Legs-up-the-Wall pose (Viparita Karani), with a bolster under the hips if you have one

- A lovely long Savasana (final relaxation), or Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep), to deeply rest and restore. Make sure you stay warm with extra layers, or a blanket




Other tips for self-care in Autumn


- Practice alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodana) to calm the nervous system. Breathing in through the left nostril, out through the right, then in through the right, and out through the left. Repeating this pattern with slow, steady breaths for a few minutes, and then taking some normal breaths through both nostrils


-Include the Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga, or self-massage, in your morning (or evening) routine. Warming some oil (sesame, coconut, jojoba etc) between the palms and then massaging it all over the body before taking a warm shower afterwards. The oil will sink into the skin and keep it nourished


- Get out into nature. Autumn is such a beautiful season and is a great time to wrap up and get out for some fresh air, to soak up some sunlight that is in shorter supply during this time of year. Even a short amount of sun exposure in the autumn and winter months has been shown to be beneficial in boosting mood and regulating our melatonin production to improve sleep quality



So take some time to take care of yourself this Autumn and nourish yourself from the inside out 


'Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower' - Albert Camus






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​© 2017 by Sarah Steed Yoga 

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