The seasons have changed again and in the UK we’re most definitely in autumn now!
Bright, crisp mornings which mellow into warmly golden afternoons. And windy, soggy, damp days which seem to weigh down the spirit with the knowledge that winter is around the corner.
Summer has been and gone. And it’s easy to feel sad about that – what with the changeable weather and all!
If you’re a sensitive soul and your body and spirit seem to be more responsive to the change of seasons than most, then you may have mixed feelings at the moment.
Revelling in the beautiful, glowing, light and the vibrant colours and abundance of early autumn, but also feeling restless and unsettled and maybe you can’t quite put your finger on why.
If this is the case for you, then take heart from the fact you’re not alone! I’m hearing from many of my yoga students that they’re feeling a bit edgy and agitated and (my favourite word of the moment!) discombobulated (i.e. disturbed, upset, disconcerted, confused.)
I know I’ve certainly been feeling this way! My mind has been constantly flitting from one place to another and very often going around in circles and wearing me out.
What’s going on?
This unsettled feeling, this feeling of restlessness and change, is connected to the changing seasons – it’s directly linked to the arrival of autumn.
In Ayurvedic terms (the sister science to yoga), autumn is the season where Vata is predominant, and Vata is the principle of movement. Its qualities are cold, light, dry, fast-moving and changeable.
And this is what we experience in autumn – the winds pick up, the days and nights become cooler, leaves change colour and drop from the trees, drying and crunching underfoot or swirling around in the wind. There’s a feeling in nature of change and movement.
So, it’s not uncommon to feel restless at this time of year. And it’s important to recognize it and take steps to balance out these qualities by slowing down and looking after yourself.
(And if you have a Vata predominant constitution like me – slim, tall, rushes around, speaks quickly, busy mind – it’s even more important to take action to balance these qualities.)
Yoga techniques to banish the discombobulating blues!
Try these techniques to improve your mood and raise your energy levels.
Deal with the anxiety and monkey mind by bringing your awareness into your body: if you’re sitting, feel your bum supported by the seat and feel your feet on the floor; if you’re standing imagine roots shooting out from your feet anchoring yourself to the strength and stability of the earth.
Here are some more practical ways to ground yourself.
Connect to Abundance & Gratitude
Early autumn is a time of abundance in nature, where fruits swell ready to be picked.
The trees changing to gold and red and russet is a form of abundance – nature putting on a stunning show of beauty.
So, connect to abundance and gratitude to banish the blues.
What can you be grateful for? Not sure? Start with your breath.
Your breath is always with you, always working, keeping you alive, feeding your body and taking away toxins, every minute of every day. It never stops.
What an abundance we all have with our breath!
And, take a few moments to sit and either call to mind or write down the things in your life you can be grateful for: your health (or the days you feel well), your home, the food you have to eat, your yoga practice.
Give thanks; connect to gratitude and let the flow of abundance, love and joy into your life.
Autumn is a time to connect to the earth and to root energy and is a time for rest and renewal.
Turn inwards. Give yourself time and space to sit quietly and listen to the voice of your intuition. Those whisperings, those instincts which tell you what you need and what you need to do.
Learn to trust and follow this inner guide. Meditate. Ask for guidance; be open to changing course if you need to.
(This is why I’ve recently stopped two of my yoga classes: I looked within and listened to and heeded the loving warnings from my inner guide telling me I am doing too much and was in danger of wearing myself out!)
Learn to let go
Just as the trees and plants around us let go of their fruits and then their leaves to allow their energy to go down into their roots ready for new-life next spring, autumn can be a time for you to let go too.
Clear space. Give yourself the mental and emotional space to look within through the dark winter months to make space for the new year next year.
So, clear out unwanted belongings.
Identify and lovingly release the negative stories you tell yourself about your life. (I am too busy, I’m always tired, I don’t have enough x,y,z… Let them go…)
So, if you find this a challenging time of year, then please be gentle with yourself.
Don’t wish you felt differently because then you’re just punishing yourself for your wonderful sensitivity to your surroundings (and that sensitivity is something to be nurtured and valued).
Ground and be grateful. Meditate. Learn to let go.