Stay happy, healthy, and centred as we move into the new season
At A Gift From The Gods we know that a little me time can go a long way. And there is no better way to hit the reset button on real life than by spending some time on the mat for a relaxing and restorative yoga practice. That’s why we asked yoga expert, Sarah Burgess to share her top tips for transitioning into autumn while maintaining your inner balance. Sarah is a London-based yogi, who has been teaching for over a decade and she knows just how to get the most out of mind, body, and soul as the darker nights close in.
Read Sarah’s yoga and lifestyle tips for autumn below. It’s time to lie back and say ‘Om’.
Our long, hot, balmy summer is finally coming to an end. We have already passed the Autumnal Equinox, marking the onset of shorter days and cooler temperatures. This is a time of transition and balance, between light and dark, between the summer and the autumn. In nature, it’s a time of harvest, of new fruits, new colours and new hopes. As with any time of significant change, we can be left feeling a little delicate and more susceptible to both physical and mental ailments, which is where yoga practices can help.
Autumn is also a time to reflect, taking a look at all we have achieved and focussing inwards in preparation for what is ahead. It is a time to slow down, be gentle and be kind.
We can use the changing of the seasons to adjust and moderate our behaviour, diet and daily habits. Adapting our practices, to stay grounded and centred, and to feel well during this new season.
During the autumn, our bodies and minds can become overwhelmed and out of balance and we may feel unsettled, ungrounded, and unstable. We can embrace the seasonal weather shifts, by maintaining internal balance and adjusting our lifestyles to bring more equilibrium into our body, mind, and nervous system.
Tips for your autumnal yoga practices
At this time of year, the slower and quieter practices of yoga such as Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga, meditation and deep relaxation, can be really invaluable. Grounding and centring standing poses can also be really helpful at this time of year.
Tryto schedule your yoga practice at the same time every day and for the same length of time. This will help to build a routine and calm the chaotic energy that can often arise within us at this time of year.
Do yoga poses that focus on the lungs and large intestines, as these are the two organs associated with the autumn season. Good poses to focus on include:
- Twists: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Revolved Triangle Pose
- Side Stretches: Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana
- Backbends: Bow Pose, Bridge Pose, Camel Pose
- Warrior I Pose and Warrior II Pose
- Sun Salutations will also warm the body during the chill of autumn
- After your practice, always take time for a long Savasana (Corpse Pose) to rest and allow the body to fully settle again after the movement of the practice.
- Yoga nidra practices (deep yoga sleep) can also be very beneficial at this time of year, enabling deep rest for both the mind and body.
It is important to eat three meals a day, preferably at the same time each day. Try to avoid skipping meals and sporadic grazing and be sure to sit down while enjoying your food. Like all other lifestyle choices around this time, set a routine around eating.
Some important things to consider with regards to food at this time of year include:
- Eat lots of warm soups.
- Choose foods that are warm, cooked, and moist. Avoid raw vegetables and salads.
- Drink lots of warm herbal teas, especially those containing ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, which are all great spices that will help warm the body and enhance circulation and digestion. Or even make your own brew with fresh spices!
- Eat seasonal fruit such as apples and pears, and lots of root vegetables like, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, swedes and turnips.
It’s important to accommodate your lifestyle and habits as the seasons change, and not just to keep going as if we’re still in the height of summer. Some great ways to move smoothly through the transition include:
- Aim to make it to bed earlier, with lights out by 10pm if possible, and get at least 8 hours of good sleep.
- Regular, consistent, and moderate exercise are perfect for this time of year. Walking outside in nature is good for the soul. Try to get outside at lunchtime, especially as the evenings grow darker.
- Find time to be quiet, to rest and to practice meditation, to assist with calming and centring the mind.
- Book yourself a massage – Aromatherapy or Ayurvedic- with lots of oils, which are perfect for helping with dry skin and improving circulation at this time of year.
- Essential oils can also be a great way to lift our mood as the days get shorter, and to help calm any anxious energy that may be arising. A few drops of oil can be used in the bath, added to a base oil for massage, or in a diffuser. Recommended oils include Lavender (calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system and a brilliant natural sleep aid); Rose (settling to the emotional heart, a nervous relaxant, antidepressant and a beautifully scented restorative oil); Frankincense (a calming and tranquil energy, nervous restorative-relaxant and antidepressant, it helps with overthinking, worry and insomnia); Vetiver (a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, it reduces restlessness, anxiety, apprehension, and insomnia) and Sweet Basil (an invigorating, regulating and uplifting oil, which reduces nervous tension, tension and constriction in the chest and depression).
- Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing, called Nadi Shodana, which is very calming for the mind and nervous system.
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Sarah Burgess is a London-based yoga teacher, who teaches primarily at Yoga Creation studio, E14 (www.yogacreation.co.uk) as well as in a number of corporate gyms. She also offers individual and small group private classes to help people achieve their own specific goals, focus on their individual needs, and address particular health concerns and injuries.
She has been practising yoga since 2001, teaching for over 12 years and is registered as a Senior Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She enjoys practising and teaching the full breadth of yoga styles, from dynamic ashtanga and vinyasa through to quieter and more healing practices of restorative and yin yoga. To find out more about Sarah and her upcoming workshops and courses, visit: www.sarahburgessyoga.com
** A special thanks to Yoga Creation for the use of their studio.