5 Yogic Tips to Find Balance this Autumn

My left wrist started bothering me towards the end of my pregnancy. It was as if a bone shifted when the ligaments relaxed. I would wake up with somewhat of a numb and stiff hand and have to move my fingers for everything to go back to normal. My doctor said it was carpal tunnel. I thought it went away, but a few weeks after I had my baby the pain in the inside of my left wrist returned and some days I could feel it spread to the base of my thumb.

Then, one day I was sharing information on yin yoga and the Chinese meridians with a yoga teacher trainee and my brain completely forgot the meridians associated with fall {baby brain for sure!}. I looked it up and was reminded that it was the lung and large intestine meridians. The pain on the inside of my left wrist followed the same path as the lung line and in an instant I was reminded of grief that lingers underneath the surface and how I need to figure out how to let that go. Dissociated grief is the emotion associated with the lung meridian And the large intestine is related to letting go, just like the autumn season. Without letting go like the trees release of the leaves outside this time of year, we cannot take in the pure and new {think fresh, crisp autumn air}.

At this time of year, what do you notice changing outside and internally? It’s more dry and windy, right? The leaves are changing to magnificent colors and falling. So, when we are in tune with the changing of the seasons and follow the lead of Mother Nature, we, too, will begin to notice our skin becoming more dry, possibly an increase in anxiety, and the need to let go of what is no longer serving us. Thus, making way for going inward and re-emerging in the spring fresh and new. Here are some tips to get back to balance.

  1. Herbal Oil Massage
    The Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga is a self-massage with warm oil often infused with medicinal herbs. I have found this daily practice to be the most nourishing for me in the fall when my Vata dosha is out of balance. Plus, since my skin gets really dry, it is really a necessary practice for the fall and all year round. Since I’m pregnant, I only use plain oil rather than an herbal-infused blend. I recommend Banyan Botanicals to find out what you might need and for products.
  2. Drink Warm Liquids and Eat Warming Foods
    In order to keep hydrated and warm during the fall and winter, Ayurvedic practices encourage you to eat and drink the opposite of what is happening in nature. So, drinking warming drinks like hot tea and making soups is a great way to keep balanced and nourished during this time of year. It’s no coincidence that we often crave these types of foods during these seasons.
  3. Slow Down Your Yoga Practice
    As Mother Nature begins to slow down and turn inward, we are encouraged to do the same in our yoga practice and exercise routines. So, you may look for a slower movement class or even be drawn to more restorative and yin practices during this time. It’s not that you can’t or shouldn’t practice more active styles of yoga. It’s that you want to avoid practices that deplete you, especially if you tend to suffer from fatigue and exhaustion. So, enjoy practices that nourish you and support the body.
  4. Nadi Shodhana / Alternate Nostril Breathing
    Pranayama is the practice of moving life force {sometimes simplified into the breath} throughout our body. The practice of alternative nostril breathing {aka nadi shodhana} is a great tool for balancing our mood and calming down when feeling anxious, which can often be exacerbated in the autumn. The practice balances the invisible channels {aka nadis} linked to each nostril, thus balancing both the heating and cooling sides of our body. Click here for a video on how to practice this technique.
  5. Establish a Routine {and stick to it!}The most important practice when it comes to feeling balanced in the fall is establishing a daily routine. That means going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day and eating meals at regular times, etc. For those who have a Vata dosha imbalance, this is the last thing we want to do, but it’s the very thing we need to stop feeling frantic. My friend and Ayurvedic Health Educator, Ellen Leonard, says to be “as boring as possible”. Click here to listen to our podcast where she shares an overview of Ayurvedic medicine {the sister science of yoga}, the doshas and more.

The next time you go outside, notice what the trees are doing and what the wind is telling you. Think about how your body is reflecting the same {or not}. In the yoga therapy perspective, we are a reflection of nature and the physical body tells us what the emotional and mental layers of the body are feeling. This is the inherent wisdom that lies within us all.

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