Last weekend, I made my husband Bobby go on a scavenger hunt. He was out with the car tending to his sailboat and his route took him past several farm stands on his way home. At each one, no cider. ALAS. Earlier this week, not to be deterred, I went to Whole Foods and found (to my great joy!) a quart of organic apple cider beaming out from the back isle of the produce section. As autumn arrives here in Maryland, there is a craving deep in my bones to curl up in one of my grandmother's quilts and sip cider. Ayurveda has taught me how to navigate the change of seasons and the entry of autumn. It offers a description of this time of year being de-stabilizing for the energies of air and space (vata dosha). The teachings say that we find balance when we take time to ground ourselves, increase our warmth, and let go of what is unnecessary through diet, lifestyle, and yoga practice.
In terms of diet, this looks like adding in more well-cooked meals with warming spices - I personally like ginger and cardamom-laced oatmeal for breakfast, followed by some roasted root vegetables and crockpot stews in the evenings. In terms of lifestyle, it encourages us to consider that with the daylight hours growing shorter we might take an activity or two off of our plates to simplify our schedule. In terms of practice, well I can tell you what we did today in Wise Earth Yoga class... we laid on the earth for 3/4 of the practice! We took long-held postures that increased our circulation and created space in the lower part of our backs and in our hips. We dove deep into our legs-up practice (Check out this tutorial - I'll guide you through getting into the posture, being in it, and coming out.) What a profound effect halting activity and literally putting your feet up has for your soul! You can see in the picture above that my dog, Daisy, is totally into the legs-up-the-wall vibe. Shrouding yourself in blankets adds an extra cozy element to this practice - the warmth and weight of being still and covered are undeniably antidotes to excess air/space/vata.
Because I find that the lifestyle of a yoga teacher inherently increases vata energy, I have created an evening ritual to address my further need for grounding, warmth and simplicity. As I settle into bed each night, I call the word "TUCK" out into our house and wherever Bobby is, he dutifully arrives to tuck me into bed. He arranges the covers, lies down on me, and anchors me into place. We lay and breath together for a little while. Sometimes we talk, other times, we just lay. When the tuck happens, I feel all the extra movement and hustle from the day seep out of me and my body and mind never misinterpret this cue for rest.
I hope this month's guided meditation offer you a similar feeling to being tucked, propping your legs, and cozying up - it offers guidance for grounding your body and a soothing soundscape to draw your mind to the moment.
Lots of Love,
Hannah has been a student of yoga and meditation since 2003 and a practitioner of Ayurveda since 2013. She spent a decade teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings throughout the metro-DC area. In August of 2019, she left full-time teaching to pursue a two-year Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She intends to combine yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda into speech therapy sessions with those struggling to share their voices. While she does not currently teach regular classes, you can study with her online through Insight Timer.