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Root Down to Rise Up

September's here! And with it, the flurry of timetable/schedule changes, starting new activities, getting organized after the summer fun and, for some, back to school.

Autumn is the season of vata in Ayurveda. Vata is governed by air and ether, it is a time of year that creates space for change, with fresh opportinities and beginnings. It can be exciting, but also stressful, if we allow ourselves to become unbalanced.

Vata is changeable by nature, similar to the wind. Those whose dominant dosh is vata may find themselves overwhelmed and exhausted. It is a season where we are reminded of the importance of routine, of grounding and centering ourselves and in providing nourishment to our body.

Thankfully, there are many yoga practices that can assist us in staying balanced while enjoying the beauty and high energy of the season.

In order to bring the benefits of the air and ether quality of vata; movement, change, expansion and creativity into the world, we need to be grounded, centred and stable. Think of incorporating more root chakra asana into your yoga practice; tadasana, vrikshasana, uktasana, virabhadrasana, trikonasana, padagustasana and of course, balasana.

Eating root vegetables nourishes muladhrara, the root chakra. It's such a wonderful time of year to begin cooking up soups, roasting root vegetables, enjoying warm nut mylks with cinnamon and nutmeg and other warming spices.

The pranayama Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing, helps balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Practicing this pranayama, beginning on the left side to activate your parasympathetic nervous system state. This is the optimal state of being the majority of the time.

During fall when many people return to their work and school responsibilities, the work load can begin to feel overwhelming. We can easily become stressed, activating the sympathetic nervous system state. When we are in the fight or flight state, our cells don't get as much oxygen, adrenaline begins to rush through our body, our minds begin spiralling out, our digestive system doesn't function as well and we become exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. So, before getting to that point, consider beginning your day with six rounds of this pranayama. Then, at any point throughout the day when you feel you need to centre yourself, do again six rounds.

You can incorporate this pranayama into your meditation practice as well. Meditation will assist you in becoming more centred and connected, to both the Divine and your higher Self. Through your practice you will become less attached to the flow of thoughts that move through the mind, become aware of the patterns of your thoughts, and provide you the opportunity to release your hold on them.

You can place your hands in earth mudra in meditation by joining the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb with your palms facing up.

Finally, be sure to connect with the earth this season; walkng in nature, touching trees, plants and leaves, getting your hands into the dirt in your garden, if you have one. Anything that allows you to connect with the earth and draw the energy of the earth into your body.

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