Fall-ing for Yoga, 4 Poses To Help Balance Your Autumn Practice

The leaves have started to change color, the days have grown shorter and cooler, and pumpkin spice lattes are now back on the menu... fall is officially here.  My personal favorite way to welcome autumn includes cozy sweaters and a new pair of booties (not to mention a little extra Netflix time).  But there is one additional thing I've added to this year's list, and that is to balance out my yoga practice with a few key poses for fall. The ones I've listed below really help my body transition through the season more gracefully.  Oh, and there is one more thing I forgot to mention - a cute new yoga outfit always makes coming to the mat a lot more exciting.  The one I'm wearing in all of the photos here is by Sam Edelman, and it couldn't be more perfect for this fall!

1. Get Grounded

It turns out that along with the change in weather, it's also quite common to experience some extra nervous energy during this transitional season.  Practicing grounding poses, including this Chair Pose Variation can help the body feel stronger and more centered. 

 

Chair Pose Variation

Chair Pose Variation

  • Separate your feet about the width of your mat, with your toes turned outward.
  • Ground your feet firmly into the floor as squat down, lowering your torso onto your thighs and keeping your hips in line with your knees.
  • Extend your arms forward.  Reach them all the way toward the front of the room as you reach your hips all the way back.
  • Keep your core engaged and your belly lifting up.
  • Squeeze your triceps inward toward your ears and press your palms away. 
  • Hold for five breaths, then release and repeat 3 more times.

2. Build Heat & Feel Energized

Though its tempting to just stay in and hibernate as the weather cools down, it's important to get the body warmed up to combat the stiffness that often accompanies the cold.  Incorporating energizing poses, such as Bridge Pose (or any heart-opening pose) is a great way to build heat in the body.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

  • Begin lying on your back, with the knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor and arms by your sides.
  • Raise the hips up toward the ceiling and either interlace the hands together or leave the arms down by the sides of the body. 
  • Keep the neck in neutral as you continue to life the hips higher.  
  • Hold for five breaths, then lower and repeat 2 more times.

 

3. Cleanse & Detox

Fall time is, unfortunately, often accompanied by cold & flu season. Spending extra time indoors only helps germs to spread faster.  Yoga twists, such as Revolved Triangle Pose are a great way to boost the body’s natural detoxification process by helping to flush the toxins from the body and promote cleansing on a cellular level.

Revolved Triangle Pose

Revolved Triangle Pose

  • Begin with your feet about 2-3 feet apart, and align the right heel with the left heel.  Pivot your right foot out 90 degrees and turn your left  foot slightly inward.
  • Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling,  Hinge forward from your hips, keeping length in the spine and open your torso to the right as you place your left hand to the outside of your right foot.  Use your right hand, if necessary, to draw your left hip back so it stays in line with your right hip.
  • Lengthen your spine and roll your right  shoulder back as you extend your right arm upward. Reach the left fingertips toward the ceiling.  If possible, turn your head to gaze at your right thumb. 
  • Hold for five breaths, then slowly release and repeat on the opposite side for the same length of time

4. Rest & Restore

Restorative yoga poses help us disconnect from the frenzied pace of daily life.  The slow pace and deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which has a calming effect on our minds and bodies.  Studies have shown that this type of relaxation, including poses like Legs Up the Wall, can help fend off depression, provide higher quality sleep, and improve mental health.

Legs Up the Wall pose

Legs Up the Wall pose

  • Begin by sitting with the right side  of your body against the wall.  Using your hands to balance, gently swivel your body to the right as you lower your torso to the floor and bring your legs up onto the wall. 
  • Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.  Wiggle your body from side-to-side to scoot your sitting bones closer to the wall. Let your arms gently rest at your sides, or place your left hand on your heart center, and your right hand on your belly.
  • Close your eyes and stay here for 5-10 minutes.  Notice your breath as you lie here.
  • Slowly release by pushing yourself gently away from the wall as you slide your legs down and return to a seated position.

* Outfit worn throughout is by Sam Edelman