When I was about 17 yrs. old I decided to start practicing yoga. My thought was that it would enhance my dance studies of ballet, jazz and contemporary which I had begun when I was about 4 or 5yrs. old. Being that it was 1969, yoga was still very new in the USA. B.K.S. Light on Yoga was published only a few years earlier. At Woodstock the summer of ’69, Satchidananda opened the festival with Vivekananda’s greeting of 75 years earlier: “My beloved sisters and brothers.” He looked like an aging hippie with flowing hair and a beard and provided a living example of a life dedicated to spirit and fit right in with the feeling of many young people across the country…myself included.
Since there was no place to take a yoga class at the time, I bought a copy of Richard Hittleman’s book, Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan. I still have the book and get a chuckle when I look at the photos of the model wearing a leotard and tights. Then there are the names of the poses. I guess American’s were not ready for Sanskrit at that time. We’ve come a long way since then for sure. The body alignment of the model in some of the photos make me cringe. But that was yoga at that time.
Being a person that loves to dance and to move my body in a way that supports my inner being, dance and yoga were a perfect combo for me.
I continued to dance, which was part of my fine arts study in college and did yoga on my own. I took some yoga classes, but I mostly used books and my own inner sense of my body. It was not until the introduction of VCR’s in the 80’s that I able to get into a deeper yoga practice with Rodney Yee tapes and a little later started participating in an actual class on a regular basis. It didn’t take much for my practice to evolve to the point of wanting to get my yoga teacher certification. That teacher training set the stage for continuing my love for the mind/body arts. From there it was Thai Bodywork and continuing my growth in yoga through numerous workshops and trainings. So, with all that being said, I decided to offer a seasonal mini yoga practice in my blog.
Fall is the season of transformation. We can see this all around us in nature: the leaves are falling, the air is changing and we are harvesting crops of fruits and vegetables. The qualities of fall are cold, dry, rough, light, changeable, irregular and moving. Since this type of energy (Vata in Ayurveda-the science of yoga) is associated with the nervous system, its state is often reflected in our mental health. During this time of year, you may feel unsettled, ungrounded and unstable at times, which makes it important to maintain internal balance. Autumn is my favorite season, but my basic Ayurveda type (more on that in another blog) is Vata, which could be one of the reasons why I’m drawn to the season. It also means I have to work a little harder at keeping myself in balance during this time of the year.
Below is a short yoga practice and meditation designed for the fall season. If you are familiar with the poses, it will only take you about 15-20min. If you are new to yoga, there are links for each pose to help you. Once you’ve gone through it a few times, it will flow more easily. But either way, take your time and don’t rush and only do what feels good. The rule of thumb is; if it hurts, don’t do it. Or at least back off a little. Yoga or any kind of body work should not be painful. Also, be sure to do the relaxation and meditation at the end!
Yoga for Autumn:
Side Stretch: Standing Crescent
Sun Salutation to warm the body.
Warrior Poses: Warrior 1, and/or Warrior 2
Backbend: Bridge Pose
Twists: Lord of the Fishes Pose, or this one’s a little easier Marichi’s Pose
End with an extra yummy Savasana (relaxation) to stabilize the energy of the season.
Suggestion: for Savasana you can lie in quiet or listen to soft, relaxing music and then do the meditation OR listen to the meditation while in Savasana.
Link to meditation is here.