Ayurveda, a sister tradition to Yoga, has plenty of advice on how to navigate the transitional months of Autumn. Although we have been blessed with a mild and sunny beginning to Autumn here in the UK, the chilly start to the days and leaves turning red and gold definitely tell us that Autumn is here.
This is the time of the year when we spontaneously reach for a warm bowl of soup and curling up with a book in the evening seems more appealing than partying into the early hours of the night!
According to Ayurveda, Autumn is ruled by the elements of Air and Ether, which bring out the qualities of movement, restlessness and dryness. In our bodies these translate into imbalances that can produce colds, achy joints, dry skin, constipation and anxiety.
As "likes increases like", the balance comes from creating a regular routine that favours more stillness and rest. Hence Autumn can be a wonderful time for introspection and inward practice. The higher levels of physical activity associated with long Summer days should naturally give way to a more steady flow of activity, balanced with plenty of rest, a yoga practice that feels grounding, earlier bedtime and a diet that favours foods that are naturally sweet (root vegetables, stewed apples) sour (lemons, fermented foods) or salty. These tastes can help to build and moisten tissue, giving us insulation against winter's chill and stimulate digestion, which can be weak in this transitional period. In general foods that are cooked, stews, soups should make more of your daily menu than salads or ice-cream.
As for yoga practice, create an Autumn routine that is slower and gentler that a Summer practice and try making it consistent, even if it is just 10 minutes a day. And most importantly, create a practice that you enjoy as you are much more likely to keep it going! Standing poses, twists, seated forward bends, supported back bands, all held with easy focus and for shorter periods of time might be a good practice for Autumn.