October heralds the beginning of moving from summer to fall. Mother nature transitions from warmer weather to cooler temps often in the same day! Many bemoan the fact that once fall passes winter arrives. Yet, the only constant in our life is change and being able to move through changes as easefully as possible is one of the goals of yoga.
Yoga offers many tools to help you navigate change. Number one is becoming aware of your breath. If you resist change often your breath becomes shallow and you end up in a “fight or flight” reaction. That is your bodies cue to slow down, practice ujaii breathing- the smooth, deep, rhythmic breathing that sounds like a gentle ocean wave. This tool alone can help you release resistance to change.
Yoga invites you to move through change by practicing asanas in either a slow pace or a faster pace depending on what you need. If you feel raced up inside, then slow down. If you are lethargic then practice a few rounds of sun salutations to get your body moving.
As a teacher I plan my classes so that we start off slower to warm the body up, move into more challenging poses to build endurance and strength then cool down and end in relaxation. It is like an arc of change as well.
Building the ability to be present moment to moment in yoga practice and in life will help you ease through changes. If you get overwhelmed by upcoming changes often your mind will play loops of fear and worry about all that is yet to come (or not.) Step back; breathe and practice being present in the moment.
The best practice yoga offers for your mind to navigate change is meditation. There are many apps to help with calming your mind yet for me being able to practice in the silence and in stillness matters. You train your mind to be present with your breath or a mantra to open to your own intuitive wisdom.
Other tools include reaching out to friends and family especially ones who will listen with empathy. Take the time to write in a gratitude journal to focus on the positives in your life. Get outdoors and witness the changes in nature with long walks (without headphones) so you can immerse yourself in the beauty all around.
You will notice that when you use all the tools that you have at your disposal you can navigate change gracefully.
Lastly, I am offering another 3 weeks of “yoga for newbies” on Saturdays IN Center from Noon to 1 p.m. This basics class focuses on the foundations of the practice in a slow pace. Pre-register online at www.sourceyoga.net.