Yoga & Ayurveda are considered “sister sciences” — each inform & complement the other. In my Beginner’s Series a few weeks ago, I briefly outlined Patanjali’s “8 limbs of yoga” as described in The Yoga Sutras (what is this?). We’re on to the asanas now, where modern yoga has focused for decades. AND … Yoga is sooooooooooooo much more than making shapes with our bodies (i.e., asanas). If there’s one lesson I hope to remind myself & share with others, it’s this — that yoga is multi-layered, so much more than physical, external, appearance-driven. In fact, Patanjali defined Yoga as “the mastery of the fluctuations of the mind.” Asana was simply a pre-cursor to prepare the practitioner for meditation.
There’s no better time to observe fluctuations of the natural environment than right now. Autumn is upon us; the winds of change are blowing. Temperature fluctuations, leaves turning, daylight waning.
The science of Ayurveda (what’s this?) tells us that the macrocosm (natural environment) reflects the microcosm (our bodies) & vice versa. Autumn may be your favorite time of year, or not-so-much. Are you feeling the winds of change, some fluctuations internally? Body adjusting to temperature ups & downs, mind working through schedule changes, an “unsettled” or overly excited feeling?
No matter our Ayurvedic constitution, we can all benefit from the wisdom to seek balance. According to Ayurveda, practices that cultivate the opposite qualities of the season can bring a sense of ease & balance. So, for example, our asana practices contain poses which cultivate stability, a sense of grounding to counterbalance the volatility of the fall season. In our diet, we simply look to Nature — we leave the cooling berries, raw salads & juices of summer, & turn toward the grounding, warming, & nourishing foods of autumn. Think pumpkins, hearty soups, warm cider. We’re preparing the mind & body for the winter months ahead.
Yoga & Ayurveda seek balance in body, mind & spirit. A daily routine can soothe the mind & lead us toward using our energy wisely (stay tuned for my Dinacharya workshop coming in November!). As the daylight wanes, we might find ourselves more open to starting or deepening our meditation practice. Just as Nature harvests & stores for winter, we do the same in our physical, mental & spiritual practices.
How are you enjoying this season? Where have you noticed the tendency toward new routines, different physical practices, or an adjustment in how you manage your energy? I’d love to hear how your internal rhythms are mimicking those of the natural world.
Happy Autumn to you! Let’s connect soon, E