Ayurveda and the Seasons: Fall, Part 2
by Sheetal Ajmani
Fall is in the air! A crispness is starting to settle in as the cool and dry qualities of Vata dosha begin to dominate the season. Vata dosha, comprised of Ether and Air elements, also brings us mobility and lightness. These qualities can be seen in nature when we observe tree branches dancing in the cool wind and dry leaves gracefully floating down to softly rest upon the land. We may experience these same qualities within ourselves as restlessness, anxious thoughts, dryness in our joints, and irregular digestion. To restore balance during this season of transition, we can ground our energy back to the Earth with the following practices:
This is the season to slow down. We may already be experiencing heightened mobility with overly active thoughts and movements. Engage in gentle hatha, restorative, or yin practices to balance this restless energy of the season. Twists are great for stimulating those digestive juices and keeping your Agni (digestive fire) strong. The hips are governed by Vata dosha, so give your hips some extra love this season with sweet hip openers like Pigeon pose. Let yourself indulge in long, juicy holds of your favorite postures!
Now that we’ve slowed down our bodies, let’s steady our breath. When we steady our breath, we steady our mind and find greater stability amidst the change. My favorite breathing practice to calm the breath and the nervous system is Sama Vritti Pranayama, or equal length breathing where we simply match the length of our inhale and exhale. To practice, find a comfortable seated position. Take your awareness to your breath. Begin to breathe in for a count of 4. Pause briefly at the end of your inhale, and then exhale for a count of 4. Pause briefly at the end of your exhale, and then begin again with another round by inhaling for a count of 4. Practice 3-5 rounds; you may increase the number of rounds as you gain greater comfort with the practice.
We can ground our energy even further by adding a simple mantra, or sound vibration, to our breathing. The mantra is So Hum, which means “I am That” – I am That which is the Universe and That which is the Universe is me. “So” is the subtle sound vibration that is naturally created with our inhale, and “Hum” is the vibration created with our exhale. By silently repeating this mantra, we strengthen our connection to the vast and loving Universe that is always supporting and guiding us. To practice, find a comfortable seated position. Take your awareness to your breath. Silently repeat the word “So” as you inhale. Silently repeat the word “Hum” as you exhale. Practice for 2-5 minutes; you may increase the length of time as you gain greater comfort with the meditation.
For more tips on staying balanced through the Fall season, check out Trudy’s blog post from last year!