Fall immunity

”A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing.

She goes where she will without pretense

And arrives at her destination prepared to be herself,

And only herself.” ~ Maya Angelou

How one navigates transitions is key to not only Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) but in the context of a living a full life.  Summer is time of high activity and inner fire and we seek to balance that by honor coolness and steadfastness.  Fall brings a deepening of lightness, but the inception of coolness and mobility in our environment.  Bridging the two energies requires a change in our perspective and our daily practices so that balance stays with us. It is important to be mindful during seasonal transitions.  During fall we must exercise our intuition and our ability to slow down and reflect on our journey of the past year so that we may honor where we are currently and consider what we want as we move forward toward the coming season and New Year. 

 I am a self-proclaimed water woman. What makes me happy is activity on or close to the ocean. I am a yogi, a swimmer, a surfer, and a paddler. I am at my best when I am physically active in the warm sunshine. As we transition from summer to fall, I am reminded to pay attention to natural cycles in the natural world and within myself. I am one of those women whose eyes light up at the very mention of the sacred word, “summer!” So, transitioning out of a space that is truly where my soul dances and all my favorite activities take place can be a challenge. Sometimes when the cold weather sets in, many people, my-self included,) feel a little sad or; I might start to get a little cold or cough, and not even know why. So this year, I will try to honor the natural world, instead of resist it. 

In the fall it is important that we honor moving toward the yin (slower) portion of the year with rest, meditation, and time for reflection. However, it is also important to remain constant with exercise and drive.  For me that means, I will continue to swim, buy a better wetsuit, not skip daily yoga practice, etc. This time of year, post equinox and new moon, is a great time to reflect on what drives you. What lights you up? What fuels who you are at your core, your higher self? Is it time in the water? Is it meditation? Is it dance, is it nurturing others? It is important to identify what fuels your inner fire so you don’t lose it in transition, don’t forget to add kindling to the fire and feed yourself through healthy and inspiring mediums. So at this transitional stage in our season, if we are able to keep the mind and body healthy, we are able to build up a strong immune system ready to make graceful transitions with us. 

I have prepared a small sample of a yoga practice to help heat the body and build inner fire(agni) so one has the mental and physical space and desire to sit in stillness and meditation and reflection. By aligning your own energies to the earth’s cycles we can achieve outward success during the growth phase of the year. The sequence includes both heat building poses such as ukatasana(chair pose) and anjaneyasana (lunge) to help build heat and strength in the legs. Balance poses are an important way to honor transitions, holding the body constant from front to back, left to right, hugging the middle line to remain constant and present in one’s body during the practice. This sequence includes virabhadrasana III(warrior III) , ardha chandrasana(half-moon) ardha chapasana(bound half-moon), as well as balancing on the tippy toes for the more obvious and overt balance poses.  It is also recommended that your asana practice include back bends as well as forward bends during transitional phases to honor creating energy and subduing it. 

This time of year reminds me to balance all parts of myself, the active and the passive, the known and the unknown, and the outer and the inner journey. From this place of connection, new doors open, and new lights light appear on the path revealing all the good the future holds. Don’t be afraid to honor yourself and shine your light! Namaste!