All we are is dust in the wind…
…or at least it can feel this way during the fall months. As I start to transition from the heat and play-filled summer months to the fall, I often feel like I’m in danger of being blown over by the smallest gusts of wind. For example, my husband likes to press my buttons when I’m taking life too seriously, but his jabs last night reduced me to tears. Never before had I felt so easily knocked off center.
Just as our physical world becomes more susceptible to windy days and cooler air temperatures, so too are we. We cling to the memory of warm weather and long days like the trees cling to their leaves. But as the leaves begin to shed their green color, turning to warmer, richer hues, we too must dig out our warmer layers and prepare for the fall.
The ayurvedic element of the fall is Vata, meaning Air. As we enter into the airy season, our attention must shift toward reconnecting to our roots. Like a tree whose soil is dry and crumbly from months of summer sun, we get the sense that our roots aren’t as firmly planted as they could be. This leaves us feeling unrooted, unsure of ourselves and disconnected.
This fall, we have to till the soil and plant seeds for the upcoming year. This allows us to pull the weeds that have grown throughout the summer and add them to the compost pile. That regret over missing a friends’ wedding or that extra 5 pounds we put on at all the other weddings; any self-defeating thoughts about the things that didn’t end up getting accomplished this summer; or all the things to do this fall–all of those are weeds to be plucked from the ground and used to cultivate the soil for our roots.
Now you’ve set the stage for your yoga practice, which will only further connect you to the earth, sending your roots deep into the soil to support you through the windy Vata season.
Choose poses with a warming and grounding energy, like warrior poses and arm balances. These poses cultivate heat in the body from the inside out, important as the temperatures outside start to drop. They also help you connect back to the earth. In Warrior II for example, the more depth you invite into the front leg, the more your tailbone grounds toward the mat while you create more heat in the front thigh. Try floating your toes away from the mat in warriors, Chair Pose, or Bridge. This immediately sits the weight into your heels, stabilizing you to sink more into your roots. Stay in each pose for 20 seconds to a minute, taking deep controlled breaths through your nose. Arm balances like Dolphin or Crow are miraculous ways to create heat while connecting you to the downward motion of rooting yourself. In either of these inversions try pressing into the ground and notice where your energy goes. Strangely enough, by pressing the ground away, the ground does the same to us and we take flight. Who knew that planting such deep roots would cultivate growth?
Whatever the pose may be, send your roots deep into the earth and you may just find that the only wind to have an effect on your branches this fall will be your own breath.