It appears the summer is extending into this beautiful autumn we’re having and we hope you’re enjoying the precious last sunshine. It’s still important to acknowledge how the autumn affects our body and what we can do to improve the transitional period into one of gracefulness and ease. Here we talk through some key elements to keep you in optimum health and balance.
HEAT YOURSELF UP
As the climate cools down we notice we’re perhaps not so easily mobile first thing in the morning and we become more tense due to the body’s natural response to being cold i.e. to try to draw heat inwards by concaving the chest and hunching the shoulders. Often our instinctive contraction of the muscles actually prevents blood from flowing around the body more easily to warm us up! Isn’t it interesting also that our pain reception heightens in the colder weather? Build heat in your yoga practice with the Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana), Chair pose (Utkatasana) and Sun Salutations A&B (Surya Namaskar)
Resist the temptation to climb into bed and stay there! Although instinctively we kind of just want to hibernate (and for the record we absolutely should make time to do that too), it’s important to fight the fatigue with some uplifting high energy poses. All of your heart opening poses will give you the increased heart rate and by stimulating the spine and the nervous system, you will bring instant life back into your tired slumberous body. Dancer pose (Natarajasana), Camel pose (Ustrasana) and Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana) are all great backbends to give you a natural lift.
Sometimes this time of year feels like a game of dodgem. Coughs, colds, bugs, viruses, sore throats and a blend of all of the above are rife. Avoid avoid avoid (!) and strengthen your immune system with your yoga practice and movement. Our key cleansing tools are our exhale, our liver, our kidneys and our spleen (among others), so spend some time flushing fresh oxygen into these vital organs with twists and forward folds. Getting upside down in inversions is also a fantastic way to help out the immunity and drain out toxin build up in the lymph glands.
TAKE REAL REST
Super important that none of us are especially good at; make time to rest. No we don’t mean just bed time. Check yourself into a restorative yoga with Elena at 7.30pm or yin yoga with Charlotte on Thursdays on Sundays at 5.30pm so you have a clear 60 minutes of total restful me time. Our feminine energy – the Yin side of us needs nurture too and this type of yoga is the ultimate way to balance us out. Long held relaxing meditative poses like ‘reclined cobblers pose‘ (Supta Baddah Konasana) are perfect for this time of year, as well as the release of tension in the hips. Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karina) is another fabulous pose to totally switch down the nervous system and let our body take complete rest to heal. These classes are suitable for all levels and abilities.
MAKE TIME TO MEDITATE
In the spirit of autumn and as homage to the ease in which nature transitions, most symbolically the leaves dropping from the trees, here’s a great little meditation for letting go:
- Give yourself enough time in an empty space so you can fully commit and practice. Set a timer on your phone for anything between 5-30 minutes to help you stop being distracted about going over time.
- Sit comfortably on a couple of blankets or a cushion. Make sure your knees aren’t straining and your back is comfortably tall. If you’re not comfortable on the floor, try an upright chair.
Close your eyes and soften your jaw and the temples. Start to slow down and just spend the first several moments allowing yourself to experience being still, getting all fidgeting out of the way.
- Begin to deepen your breath as you acknowledge your connection and relationship to the ground. Allow the sit bones to drop downwards towards the earth and find a heaviness in your pelvis. At the same time, gently feel lightness and lift in the crown of your head.
- Think of something that is particularly sensitive at the moment in your life. Maybe it’s a disagreement with someone, or a situation you’re uncomfortable about. Maybe it’s something from your past that keeps reappearing. Notice whereabouts in your body you feel that sensation.
- Where ever you feel that sensation, place your hand gently on that spot. Allow the warmth and comfort of your own touch to ease your pain
- Begin the mantra ‘I wish for peace’ on your slow inhale and ‘I can let go’ on your exhale
- Continue with this for a few rounds of breath or until the feeling subsides. Then think of the same thing that you are struggling with again and notice if the same feeling returns in the same place. Repeat the process as many times as needed
- When you feel ready to stop, simply allow your attention to return to the present moment and take a few simple long breaths. Open your eyes. Gently wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a loving hug, like you would an old friend.
Yoga is so much more than exercise or a series of instructions; it’s truly transformative and can be the best guide to help you to embrace a much happier more contented way of life. Try one our wonderful yoga classes at our studio on Guildford High street and let our amazing yoga and pilates teachers guide you through a practice to aid your wellbeing and health.