Balancing vata for autumn wellbeing

The start of September heralds the autumn. All around you can see signs of autumn (no, I don't mean Christmas cards appearing in the shops even though this is true).  Berries and fruits appearing on the trees - elderberries, blackberries, apples, plums and pears, the farrmers are bringing in their crops, and the leaves have begun turning to their autumn colours.
In Ayurveda, yoga's sister science, there are three energies in the body, the doshas, and the dominant energy, which varies between individuals, determines our physical and emotional characterisics. Each dosha can also be dominant at specific times of year.
At this time of year, vata dosha is dominant.  If this dosha is not brought into balance you may find yourself feeling ungrounded, anxious and not sleeping too well.  It is time to switch from cold foods like salads and cold drinks, to warm foods such as soup, broths and stews made with warming spices such as ginger and cumin and warm drinks such as herbal teas.  
If you practice yoga focus on slow movements, for instance holding each pose in a Sun Salutation for a breath, and hip openers, such as squats.  In standing poses ground down through your feet to feel the connection to the earth and do not hold individual poses for long. The seat of vata is the colon, so twists are good to balance vata also.  A good breathing practice would be Humming Bee breath. Below are some poses  and a breathing technique to balance vata dosha and ensure wellness this autumn.  

Apanasana- compresses and stimulates your colon, seat of vata

Lie on a mat with your legs outstretched, draw your right knee tight in, holding your right leg just below the knee.  If you have knee problems, hold the back of your right thigh. 
Repeat with your left leg then with both legs.  

Shoulder Bridge Variation - opens your hips, stretches your colon. 

Lie with your knees bent and place your right foot on your left thigh ensuring your right foot is flexed.  The nearer your foot is to your knee the less intense this will be.  Take a breath in, lift your hips and take your arms overhead, breathe out and lower your hips slowly.  Repeat twice more then repeat with the left foot on the right thigh.

Goddess Squat - opens your hip and connects with you to the earth

Stand with your feet wide and turn your toes out.  Bend your elbows and face your palms forward. Breathe in and as you breathe out bend both knees, tucking your tailbone under. Breathe in and straighten your knees.

Tree Poseopens your hip and connects with you to the earth

Plant both feet firmly on the ground and bring your hands into prayer at your heart. Taking your weight into your left foot, bring your right foot to your left ankle, shin or thigh.  Find a spot to focus on (this is called a drishti in yoga and it really does help with balances).  Hold for a few breaths and release.  Do not worry if you wobble, after all trees do sway in the wind!!!

Humming Bee Breath - sit in a comfortable seated position with your first finger and thumb joined, your palms up in a mudra.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and as you breathe out make a humming sound while keeping your mouth closed.  Continue for several breaths then sit breathing normally to feel the effects of the practice. This breathing technique reduces anxiety by lengthening the outward breath.

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

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