With fall comes Vata Season, as it is know in Ayurveda, or the ancient healing system of India.
Vata is one of the three doshas, or constitutions of being. When Vata is out of balance our skin will be out of whack, we will be anxious, unable to focus or complete tasks and are, in general, all over the place and unable to concentrate. Because autumn is Vata season, these characteristics begin to show themselves in everyone, especially impacting those who also have a Vata dosha.
So, how do we stay calm, on point and looking good as the weather changes and we find ourselves having to adjust? Diet plays a very big and vital role here, but so too does our physical movement, our time on the mat.
I have listed 5 of the best poses to help balance the Vata energy of this season. Plus, these poses do not require an entire sequence, nor do they require any experience with yoga at all! They can be done separately, for as long as feels good, or you can weave them together with a flow.
1. Mountain Pose
Standing sturdy and strong on our own two feet this pose is both grounding and empowering. Feeling the soles of our feet not just on the earth, but rooted in the earth, rolling our shoulders back opening our hearts and standing in a way that makes it very easy to take big, deep inhales and exhales, this pose is an excellent choice for those feeling a bit more up in the ethers than they ‘d like. you can even let your eyes close since balance is not an issues. Breath deeply, be still and solid.
2. Standing Forward Fold
Again here the feet must be planted firmly, with the weight distributed evenly. Allowing gravity to take over as we drip forward over our legs not only opens our hamstrings, grounding and strengthening our root chakra even further but allowing the head to fall forward encourages us to let go and release. And, any time we bring our head beneath our heart the nervous system re-aligns and mellows out (and also helps you to fall asleep!)
3. Seated Forward Fold
Again we allow the head to come beneath the heart, but now we have the shift of not just stretching the spine but lengthening both it and the neck. Plus, seated we are all the more rooted and grounded, able to slow down and feel the support of the mat, the floor and the earth beneath us. If our hamstrings are tight we may begin with the knees very bent—that’s ok, this should feel like you’re giving yourself a hug and creating space all at the same time.
4. Legs Up The Wall
Ahhhh! one of the most relaxing and restorative poses available to us. With our legs up the wall we are able to reverse blood flow, allow the back and shoulders to fully relax and find support, fill the belly with great and vibrant breath, and just simply release into the ground beneath us. Added bonus! Lifting the legs up this way reduces and prevents spider veins.
To just sit, quietly, in stillness with our eyes closed and our breath full and focused is the greatest gift we can give ourselves both during Vata season, and throughout our lives, regardless of the time of year. There is nothing more grounding, calming and centering than even 3 minutes of meditation, especially if done daily. “Now I inhale, Now I exhale” or even better, “Sat Nam” which translates to “I am truth”. Just sit down, and let yourself be.
Using any or all of these asana assure you will find yourself calmer, more focused and properly harnessing your energy as the leaves change color and float to earth.