Many of us mourn the end of summer. In my town, a popular tourist area, we are inundated with visitors who find Charlestown a beautiful oasis with beaches and other natural wildlife without the hustle and bustle of some of other nearby vacation spots. Beginning in June, our sleepy town near the beach suddenly has busy intersections, lines at the mini super as well as at our single gas station! So, while the end of the hot sunny beach days is sad, I welcome the quieter time of fall. This year we have been blessed with unseasonably warm weather right into mid October; this weekend the crisp of fall is definitely in the air.
Our Practice – Energize and Twist into Fall
For many, fall can bring on feelings of melancholy or sadness. It is a time often associated with transition, grief, or trepidation. Our yoga practice can help us manage these feelings and perhaps channel them in a positive way. For me the obvious signs of days shortening, and cooler temperatures brings on a sense of dread wistful thoughts of the joys of summer (friends visiting, lazy beach days, lots of outdoor activities). However, being somewhat of a control freak, I do look forward to the more ordered existence that I find in fall and winter. In my reading, I found that there is evidence to support these feelings grounded in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and healing.
In traditional Chinese medicine Autumn aligns with the lungs and large intestines and these functions are associated with grief and sadness. “These emotions represent our ability to balance taking in and letting go” both figuratively and physically.
For more on this check out this article in Yoga Journal by Teresa Biggs.
As I transition into Fall, I am going to focus my off the mat practice on letting go (releasing) what no longer serves both emotionally and physically. Physically this will mean less alcohol during the week, less wheat which impedes my digestive function and generally refocus on more mindful eating. In my mat practice, I am going to focus on poses that are calming and promote introspection and ease (forward folds, childs pose), some warming poses (sun salutations) and those that possibly provide some detoxification properties (twists and inversions). And of course, tree! While I will introduce these into our upcoming practices, attached is an article by David Procyshyn that discusses some ideal poses for a fall practice.
Meditation – Letting Things Fall Away
Let’s find inspiration in the trees of Autumn whose leaves change color and fall. We can use this time to let our burdens or grudges that we carry fall away. As we let them go, and accept the impermanence of things, we can open our hearts to living more in the moment.
“Freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Nurturing with Food – Apple Sauce
I am still in Autumn is apple season mind set. A few years ago I was cooking something that called for applesauce instead of extra oil, seemed to me that would make it a healthier alternative. I was looking at applesauce labels, however, and realized that store bought often includes things like added salt, sugar, and other preservatives. I remembered my grandmother making it and discovered that it was incredibly easy to do and tastes great – also a great way to use up all of the apples I seem to have impulsively bought!
Link to recipe:
See you on the mat!