Fall is often a transition for many, with the start of a new school year, changes in the weather, and new winter foods to incorporate into the diet. Sometimes, pulling those thick sweaters out of the storage closet unearths a slew of emotions and apprehensions.
Here are some yoga asana to help you ease this transition through fall.
1. Garland pose (Twisted Malasana)
This squat is a great hip opener and helps tone the belly. This pose aids digestion and the twist helps remove toxins from the body and open the shoulders.
Often when we go through changes our eating habits alter as well. This could effect digestion, leading to discomfort and mood swings. Malasana also stimulates the root chakra, which is associated with our sense of stability, security and safety.
To try twisted malasana: Squat down with your feet hip width apart and your heels on the ground. Place the right hand on the ground in between your feet. Inhale deeply to extend the back and exhale twisting from the abdomen, rotate your torso toward the left leg. Extend the left arm on so that the shoulder is close to the knee, turn the palm away from you. Wrap the left arm around the left leg and the right arm around the back. Try to clasp the hands together. If you cannot get the heels to the ground in this pose try rolling up your mat or propping a blanket under them.
If you cannot get the heels to the ground in this pose try rolling up your mat or propping a blanket under them.
2. Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
One of my personal favorites, triangle pose feels delicious on just about every part of the body. It's therapeutic for back pain, flat feet, neck pain and sciatica, this pose also helps relieve anxiety, a common side effect of change.
For me, this pose stimulates vitality. When I practice Trikonasana, in addition to the wonderful stretch relief it provides, I also feel grounded, powerful and strong.
To try trikonasana: Start with the feet 3-4 feet apart. Turn the right toes out and the left toes slightly in so that the left arch aligns with the right heel. Take a big inhale and lengthen the back, moving the tailbone away from the waist and scooping the navel slightly toward the back ribs. Exhale and reach your right arm as far as possible out to the side, extending the whole side of the body with it. Keep exhaling and tilt your shoulders so that they stack one on top of the other and the torso is hovering over the front leg. If it feels comfortable, gaze toward the top hand. Keep reaching out through the arms and pulling the thighs up toward the pelvis to steady yourself.
3. Wild thing (Camatkarasana)
Open your heart and release your worries as you ease in to this asana.
Wild thing helps build strength in the shoulders, back and glutes. It also relives symptoms of fatigue and mild depression, often a side effect of shortening days and colder evenings. Further, the huge chest opening stimulates the heart chakra, allowing us to better radiate and receive love. It will also move around lingering phlegm in that area, stuck from that beginning of fall cold.
To try camatkarasana: There are many ways to get into this pose- I like to start from Vashistasana (side plank). Start in side plank with the left hand on the ground, stacked directly under the left wrist. Lift the right leg off the left and bend the left knee. Pivot the knee toward the sky and place the right foot on the ground below the right buttock. On the next inhale, actively push the hips up, broaden through the chest and stretch the right arm over your head and toward the ground as if you were moving into wheel pose. Engage the low belly and find the sides of the waist long to protect the lower back.
4. Eagle pose (Garudasana)
For so many yoga newbies, eagle pose feels like a nemesis!
Eagle pose is fantastic for building concentration and focus. When the mind circles with chatter, it's just not possible to sustain this one. I firmly believe that our yoga practice mimics life. If we can twist and pull and bend and balance ourselves on the yoga mat, (but still remember to breathe, relax the face, stay poised and enjoy this pose), then when life gets us twisted, tangled, bent out of shape and asks us to balance a zillion things, maybe we can also just breathe, relax into it and enjoy the ride.
To try garudasana: Starting in Tadasana (mountain pose) extend the arms in front of you until they are parallel to the ground. Bring the right arm under the left, crossing at the elbows. Bend the elbows and try to press the palms together. If the hands don't touch, no worries, just actively press those palms toward each other. Move the elbows and wrists away from the body then draw the shoulders down the back. Take a big breath in and on the next exhale bend the knees bringing weight into the heels. Stay here, or to go further into the balance, cross the right leg over the left. Try to hook the right toes around the left calf. Sink a little deeper while lengthening the crown of the head toward the sky. Breathe!
What about you? What are your favorite Fall poses?