Easing into Fall from a Yogic Perspective

It’s the season of the wind or Vāta and Goddess Durga. In Indian myth, Durga is known to be

the invincible one. She is the protector who’s power arises out of her compassion, the unconditional love and compassion of a Mother. Just as the wind moves the outer world, our physical bodies, she stirs our soul, our deepest instincts for necessary change. Do you see her in the turning of the leaves? Do you feel her on your skin when the winds blow? With much change going on around us in nature, we can feel ungrounded and uncertain.

In current day myth, Durga is Wonder Woman. According to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, there are three constitutional types. Each of these constitutions has a different ‘cocktail mixture’ of the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These elements make up our bodies and our physical tendencies based on the mixture in potency of air, water or fire. Vāta dosha is associated with ether and air elements governing all movements and activities in the body. Vāta, like autumn, has qualities of dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear. Vāta can can promote fear and anxiety but also a balanced lifestyle supporting clarity and Joy.

Ayurveda means Life Knowledge offering healing for the body and mind, relieving disease “free of dis-ease” or joy. According to Ayurveda, living in alignment with nature helps keep our bodies and mind in balance. Nature is the Mother of the universe that offers us all that we experience: nourishment that we taste, rivers flowing and waves crashing that we hear, potpourri of colors in changing of leaves that we see and the touch of breeze and space around us we feel. Living with nature is like being in the womb, where we were said to Be In Bliss according to Ayurveda. Our health can be maintained by daily practices/regimens: Dinyachara and seasonal practices: Ritucharya.

Ritucharya is a regimen that works with the ritu or seasons of the year, directing some daily practices to change seasonally. Our bodies are greatly influenced by nature or the external environment, much the way we develop personalities of those whom we keep company. A baby senses the mother’s energy by the tone of her voice, even in the womb. Any change in environment causes changes in our bodies and the mind that can leave a sense of instability. Regimens can help adapt to changes in the environment to promote a healthy or disease free life. The Durga energy instills in us at the moment of conception the impulses to survive and protect life. We can invoke her for strength and the willpower to create healthy habits that keep us vibrant physically, mentally and emotionally.

Here are some tips to keep us grounded during the next few months:

Dinyacharya for Autumn:

Take on a daily routine that helps find balance for the season. Routine is a great way to feel comfort and grounding. Routine is the coming home at the end of a long day, nostalgic memories, comfort foods, being held by the mother energy!

Wake up early, when the air is calm and clear, even the birds are asleep.

Engage in moderate and slower physical activity such as walking, swimming and non-vigorous yoga. Move at a steady pace.

Practice gentle Alternate Nostril pranayama or breathing exercise. The breath is our own personal wind in which we receive nourishing Mother energy and release.

Meditate. Meditation enables us to have clear perception without judgment to see moment-to-moment changes as actuality. This allows for spontaneous living with the pulsations of Life As Meditation. Pulsations of life are the powers of the Goddess at play.

Oil the body. You can simply splat oil on the joints of the body right after bath or shower then apply lotion. You can also oil the entire body.

Wear Fall colors such as red, yellow and orange; allow yourself to be embraced and draped by the Goddess. Be the Goddess as microcosm of the macrocosm, the baby in the womb of the universe.

Eat warm, heavy, oily, moist, unctuous foods with protein with warming spices. In general, spices are warming and helpful during Vata season to aid digestion. Avoid dry, raw and undercooked vegetables. Good breakfast options are: warm oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, cream of wheat.

Be in Bed by 10:00 pm.

Happy Fall into Grace!

AUM, Chae