It is that time of year! The cool winds from the North have chased our Summer breezes away, bringing with them the enticing hues of slowly changing leaves, the scent of crisp mornings, and sounds of harvest. As the season change, so do our practices. We begin different routines, shop for different things, and usually lessen our activity. Yoga is very much like the seasons. Your meditations change as you go deeper, your postures vary based on your bodies needs and increasing or decreasing ability, and the only thing that stays the same is our breath. Ever steady and flowing us through our days. Yet with the beauty of Autumn also comes the frustrations of nasal congestion, aches from the chill, and possibly growing waistlines from the comfort food we enjoy this time of year. Yet if we stay true to our practice, we can keep that stabilizing energy to the rest of our lifestyles, and enjoy Autumn more!
First thing is to not stop moving! Grab a light jacket and go for a walk at the park. What better way than to enjoy the scenery and activity of the various animals around you? It is still warm enough to take your yoga practice outside, just be sure to bring your blanket for Savasana. Dedication to the practice is what will keep you strong, and the more movement you have in your body, especially if you work sitting down, the better! Don’t Stop Moving.
One thing that took me a while to embrace was the idea of the neti pot. This is a basic staple with Ayurvedic medicine, and should be done every day, mostly in the morning. This clears up sinus congestion by utilizing warm, purified water with sea salt in the neti pot. It removes excess mucus build up naturally by moving it through the sinus cavities and draining out the opposite nostril. The first time I tried this I thought it was gross, but that was because I wasn’t used to it. Now I swear by it.
Also invest in a barrel of white vinegar for cleaning…everything. The dust from moving in and out of the home during the summer months has built up and settled, now it is time to keep up with regular natural cleaning to air out the home. Wipe the windows, fans, baseboard, shelves, counters, all the nooks and crannies at least every week. You just feel better when it is clean.
You may be saying, what does this have to do with yoga? There are no postures here! Well, that’s because yoga is not postures, it is the 8 Limbs. This would be part of the niyamas, mainly Soucha, cleanliness and purity. By cleansing our homes, then our bodies, we can be more focused about cleansing our minds with our meditations. Yes, it is still good to do the postures, important even, but many forget it is not THE most important. Soucha brings to us a purified environment, internally and externally, so that we may delve deeper into our practice with peace.
So grab your iPod and put on some Deva Premal or Krishna Das, and use the cleaning as a way to meditate. Meditate by focusing completely and wholly on your cleaning, imagining you are wiping away not just the physical dust, but the emotional and psychological dust that may have settled after the past season. Imagine clearing the way for purity and protection for the coming season, strengthening your home and your mind to further your practice. It can be done, and using this meditation is very soothing, at least for me. So at least try, you may surprise yourself!