In the ancient tradition of Ayurveda late fall and winter is known as “Vata Season”. It can best be characterized by strong movement of the wind and thoughts, cold and dryness.
Therefore fall is a time to turn inward, keep warm, and nourish yourself with good sleep, warming foods as well as yoga and meditation. It is the season to spend more time indoors, light some candles, turn on some soothing music and have a hot cup of tea. Now that you have a beautiful setting, roll out your mat and practice some yoga with me to relax even deeper.
1. Sukhasana & Apana Mudra (Easy Seated Pose and Hand Gesture)
Come to a comfortable seat. Sit cross-legged, or on your shins on the floor or a meditation cushion. If this is not possible for you, you may consider sitting on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Wherever you are, close your eyes and begin to lengthen your spine as ground down through your sitting bones. Lengthen and expand your breaths and guide the breath along your spine. Inhale from the top of your head down along your spine to the tip of your tailbone and feel it rooting down to the earth, on your exhale trace your breath up from your tailbone along your spine all the way to the crown of your head. Repeat a few more times in the pace of your own smooth, long and steady in- and exhales.
When you are ready come into Apana Mudra by touching the tips of the middle and ring finger to your thumb on each hand.
This grounding mudra promotes ease and calm. Keep your eyes closed and take another few rounds of smooth, deep inhales and exhales. With every breath see where you can create more harmony in your life (both on and off the mat). Stay with the inquiry and allow the answers to come to you. When you are complete check in with yourself of what you can let go of that no longer serves you (both on- and off the mat).
Spend a few moments here and if you like set an intention for your practice by bringing your hands into anjali mudra (palms touching in front of your heart).
2. Cat and Cow Cat Pose ( Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
Come to hands and knees. If you need padding under you knees, make sure to get a towel or prop to support you.
Set you wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. On your inhale lift your chin, chest and tailbone up, and hold here. Continue to breathe three rounds of long, smooth breaths, and then on your exhale draw your chin to your chest, lift you navel up and round your back. Stay here for three rounds of breaths. Then inhale again as you arch your back, and exhale to round. Continue a few more times on your own.
3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Place a block on your mat about where your head will go. You can always adjust it later.
Walk your hands forward, curl your toes under and lift your hips up into Downward Facing Dog. Take a few moments to bend one knee and draw the other heel down, switch with your breath. Then find your block and rest your forehead on the block. If your forehead does not reach the block, stack another block or bolster on top. Relax your head and neck, root down through your feet and hands, stay for a few rounds of smooth, long, calm breaths. When ready, come back to to knees and find your way to seated.
4. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
You may consider sitting on the edge of a blanket. Extend both legs out in front of you. Then bend your knees, bring the block between the soles of your feet and allow your knees to gently open to the sides. Place an additional block on top of the other block if you like. Root down through your sitting bones and exhale, begin to bend from hips and fold forward until you find a good stretch in your hips and inner thighs. You may not have to lean forward at all if you already feel a stretch. Now allow your breath to gently guide you deeper into the pose over time. Stay here for 3-5 minutes if possible and allow your forehead to rest on your block(s). Check in overtime if you would like to melt deeper into the pose or stay where you are. Honor your inner voice, listen to the wisdom of your heart and spirit, turn inwards. Inhale harmony, exhale let go. Take slow, calm breaths and find your inner stillness.
5. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Come to stand on your yoga mat with your feet about hip width apart. Find a gazing point somewhere on the floor in front of you, and focus your gaze on that non-moving spot.
Place your hands on your hips and keep them level, as you ground down through your right foot and lift off your left foot. Place the left foot anywhere on the inside of your standing leg, except the inner knee.
When you feel stable, bring your hands together in front of your heart, or lift both arms up to grow your tree branches. Like a tree in nature, allow yourself to sway. If you fall out of the pose, simply find your way back into it. Keep the focus on your breath and soften your gaze. Stay for at least 5 rounds of breaths, then switch to the other side.
6. Corpse Pose or Savasana Variation
Roll up a blanket and place it under on the mat, right about where you shoulder blades are going to be. Roll up another blanket and place it on the mat where your knees will be. Get a third blanket and place it next to you. Then begin to lie down on your mat, the top blanket under your shoulder blades and the bottom blanket under your knees. Now grab your third blanket and cover yourself, so that you feel warm and cozy. Tuck your toes under the blanket, close your eyes. Let your breath become natural. Allow your body to relax and your mind become quiet. Stay here for as long as you like. When you feel ready to come up, bend your knees, roll over to your left side (associated to the moon, cooling and comforting), and gently press yourself up to seated. Place your hands into your lap or on your thighs and take a few deeper breaths. Bring your awareness within and notice how you feel.
May this season bring warmth to your heart, peace to your mind and harmony to your body.
Many blessings from my heart to yours,
Tanja Alexandra Kern