Yesterday was the first day of fall. You may not realize it if you live in Southern California where it is 90 degrees at noon. But it’s true, after what felt like a really long summer, autumn is finally here. My scarves and fuzzy boots and pumpkin lattes are ready. The weather just needs to catch up.
Yesterday was also the day where I decided to go to a yoga class for the first time in nearly 10 years. When I worked at Countrywide, they offered free instructor-led classes in their gym every work day during the lunch hour and Fridays was yoga. I went nearly every week and came to really enjoy it. Between weekly yoga and my regular gym workouts, I was in the best shape of my life. When that job ended, I continued doing some yoga poses at home, just based on memory and with the help of some programs recorded off the Fitness channel. It helped maintain my flexibility and reduced stress levels, but yoga is the type of practice where you need a leader to really push you once in a while or you won’t feel and see results.
I had been talking about going back to yoga for a while now and I can’t pinpoint what exactly pushed me to go yesterday. Lately a few friends have been sharing their various fitness/gym results (not just physical but mental changes, too) and I’ve been increasingly unhappy with the number on the scale and my constantly shrinking waistbands and the pain in my hip whenever I try to run. I spoke with Mr. BFT about the money involved with taking a fitness class, since money is tight right now (and to be honest I’ve used the whole money thing as an excuse not to go to fitness classes for way too long). He agreed that if returning to yoga regularly was something that would make me feel better about myself, then it is money well spent.
I researched yoga studios in the area and quickly discovered Yoga Blend, about a mile from my house. The class I picked for my first time back into yoga was called “Gentle.” As we were starting the class with a restorative stretch, the instructor talked about autumn as a season of transformation. The start of fall is an occasion to evaluate where we are at in life and begin to shed unnecessary things, the way a tree sheds its leaves so it can start anew in the spring. He reminded us that transformation takes heat and change doesn’t happen simply because we want it to. We need to put in the effort, we need to generate that heat, and some days it’s not easy. And eventually, once we feel we have put in our full effort, the rest will be up to the universe, and we have to trust its path for us.
His simple talk at the beginning of class made me realize I was exactly where I needed to be at that moment. Whatever force had pulled me in to that class, on that day, was for a reason. I left extremely motivated to fix all the unnecessary crap in my life (not to mention a little sore in the abs …. “gentle” my rear!). We all have things in life that pile up and weigh us down. For me, I feel like I’m literally living under a pile of stuff, both physically and mentally. I have been purging old stuff like crazy lately (one person can own only so many Hello Kitty notebooks before it starts to get a little ridiculous), and trying to figure out a better way to balance all of my obligations and calm my mind. I need a bit of a regeneration. Now I understand why I’ve been feeling this way. It’s autumn! Autumn is a great time to evaluate and transform the things that are holding us back or otherwise making us feel unbalanced.
According to Ayurveda, there are three primary doshas, or energies. Just as each person has a dosha that predominates, each season is also dominated by one of the three doshas.
The vata dosha is most prevalent during autumn. Vata governs movement in the body, as well as activating the nervous system and the processes of elimination. The qualities of vata are cold, dry, rough, light, changeable, irregular and moving. Because of vata’s association with the nervous system, its state is often reflected in our mental health.
With the abundance of vata energy circulating during the fall season, our bodies and minds can become overwhelmed and out of balance. During this time of year, you may feel unsettled, ungrounded and unstable. But while we cannot change the seasonal weather shifts, we can maintain internal balance by adjusting our lifestyles to counter the predominant vata energy in nature. We do this by incorporating yoga poses, food and lifestyle choices that naturally hold the opposite qualities of the vata dosha.
– from Gaiam Life blog
Fall is the perfect time to start that transformation we’ve been thinking about all year. It doesn’t have to be a huge change, but it can be. If you find yourself feeling unbalanced or unhappy, think about what could be causing your trouble:
Is it your job?
Is it your diet?
Is it your health?
Is it poor sleep?
Is it a bad habit, like biting your nails or smoking?
Is it an unhealthy relationship (romantic or not)?
Today, at the start of autumn, examine your path and what steps you could take to ease your journey. For me, I want to maintain my yoga practice and lose weight, continue to purge possessions that aren’t useful or don’t make me happy, practice better sleep habits (such as no food or electronics after 10pm and reading every night), and refocus my attention on my blogs and my business.
Remember, change takes heat (effort) and the beginning is never easy, especially if you’re breaking longtime bad habits! But your healthy transformation will be worth it.
What autumn transformation are you looking forward to the most?
What internal transformation will you be focusing on?