As we are part of nature, it’s always good to flow with it rather than fight it. Transitions can be the best time to make changes. In the Northeast, we transition from flip-flops to closed shoes, from T-shirts to sweaters, from more daylight to less, possibly from an unstructured, carefree summer to the routine of back-to-school. The leaves are turning and getting ready to drop and expose the bones of the tree. What is it in our lives that we’re ready to let go of?
I’ve taken this time to let go of excess “stuff” that weighs me down – I’ve given away 70 percent of my clothing, 50 percent of my shoes, 300 books, most of the old sheets, and even 50 yoga mats. Cleaning house is liberating. It allows you to relax. It makes you breathe easier when you walk into your home and it feels spacious rather than congested. It feels like being in harmony with nature when you strip away what’s cluttering your mind and body in the fall. So let’s change the moniker from “spring cleaning” to “fall cleaning” for now.
What does that mean for our yoga practice? Summer is a time of expansion and is suited for backbends and a more vigorous practice. Fall starts the journey inward and is the transition towards the introspection and quiet of winter. A focus on twists and hip openers – poses between vigorous backbends and restorative forward bends – could be the perfect way to flow with nature. Twists are cleansing in nature and hip openers are a great preparation for meditation. I’m not saying that this is all that you should do, but I do recommend a twisting and hip-opening practice at least once a week. I would suggest mid-week—maybe hump day (for most that’s Wednesday).
What you put into your body should also be considered. Fresh local fruits and vegetables become less available in most areas, and usually, we’ve stopped craving raw foods. It’s a great time to transition to more lightly cooked foods and add some form of milk rather than juice to your smoothies. This will give you a little comfort. Nature is beautiful. Her rhythm is organic. I would like to dance with it rather than fight it.