Back on the mat!

Classes are back on Sunday 18th August after a short 2-week break, and a limited timetable through July – hope to see you then!

It seems like such a long time since those first days of summer, and now here it is nearing its end. The colder and darker evenings are sending the message loud and clear, that Autumn is just around the corner.

Autumn is a time for drawing inward, and for taking care of yourself

The seasonal effects of autumn come from shorter days and longer nights, cooler weather, and a sense of things ending. It can be hard to shake off the general sense of malaise that comes with the changing from summer to autumn, when those bright long days, to dark gloomy ones. Fewer hours of daylight means it really can seem like there are fewer hours to get things done. Everything feels hurried, and busy, and tempers can easily fray. Your body works harder to stay warm, and all around you trees and plants are nearing the end of a life cycle, drawing inward.

Excess Vata can create a range of negative feelings such as impatience and doubt – it can be easy to feel overwhelmed

According to ayurveda, an ancient system of alternative health care with its roots in India, every being or thing is a combination of five elements – earth, water, air, fire, space. In autumn the dominant elements are air and space. Ayurveda believes that the five elements are present within all things, with two of them being dominant. The dominant elements represent one of three doshas, Vata, Pitta, or Kapha, with each dosha having the specific characteristics of its domnant elements. During the Autumn months when Vata energy, and the elements of air and space are dominant, we can feel restless, and out of balance.

Vata, as the principle of kinetic energy in the body, governs the nervous system, circulation, and movement. When Vata is in balance physical activity, creativity, and expression are boosted. When Vata is out of balance you may feel lethargic and anxious. You may experience weakness, and have trouble concentrating. The physical body may feel bloated, with increased pain and stiffness in the joints. You can have dry eyes, and skin and hair, exacerbated by cold, dry winds, and artificial heating.

A familiar routine is just the thing for keeping Vata energies in balance

When you begin to feel the effects of Vata imbalance, lifestyle changes can make a big difference. As the colder weather takes hold it is important to rest, and stay warm, and not to overdo things. You may find that you naturally prefer to draw inward at this time of year, so it makes sense not to fight that inner wisdom.

If you generally exercise outside, perhaps try moving indoors. If you have a Yoga practice let it be a source of stability – practice regularly, same time, same place. Maintaining flexibility is important at this time of year as the body naturally contracts against the cold. Keeping the muscles warm and supple with regular stretching will help to counteract stiffness and pain in the joints.

Avoid stress as it will quickly cause you to feel out of control, leading to anxiety and insomnia. If you can’t avoid stress, create a steady routine to help ground those energies, so your overactive mind doesn’t get too carried away.

Consistency is important, so go to bed early, wake up early, exercise and eat at regular times. Enjoy the outdoors, but dress for the weather and stay warm. Finally, find time to meditate. Sit quietly, focus on your breathing, and detach from your thoughts. Learn to appreciate stillness.

Having said all that, autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I love the change of colours, the clear days, the fresh, clean air, and even the changeable weather. I love wrapping up in warm clothes, and walking through fallen leaves. Perhaps my own Vata dosha feels right at home during this cold, and unpredictable season!!

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