Chunky Knits, Mother Nature adorning herself in gold and jewel tones, the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte … there is so much to adore about the change of season. The arrival of winter is one of nature’s most spectacular and dramatic displays, its as if the whole landscape has collected together to create the most exquisite ball weaving color, dancing leaves, hoards of ornamental conkers and skies serenaded by the departure of the birds. winter truly is majestic.
But with the seasonal change can come of change in mood and mindset. Personally the past few weeks I have felt like a baby bird unable to find a branch to land on, consistently flitting from one to the next – unsettled. A flighty mind unable to concentrate and pursue one purposeful passion, leaving itself open to anxiety, overwhelm and the negative traits of Vata.
In Ayurveda the dosha of Vata rules over winter. Vata qualities are cold, light, dry, fast-moving and changeable. We see this in the rapid color spectrum the leaves work their way through, we feel this on our skin as we move through brisk mornings and sweltering central heating. There is change in the world, there is change in our bodies, there is change in our minds. But just as nature so often provides us with both the ailment and the antidote, this harvest season brings us an abundance of grounding earthy foods of the earth to nourish and grant Vata roots, to help it find its branch to settle on. Warming foods and spices such as ginger, sweet potatoes, carrots and cinnamon are perfect to soothe Vata’s flighty ways. If you find you are drawn to these tastes it is likely you have an inclination to high Vata; negative symptoms of which can be prone to anxiety, insecurity, indecision and periods of high energy met quickly by burn out. When we learn to balance our Vata we unleash its true magic – wide eyed creativity and inspired action.
My favorite pose for the winter months is tree pose for the sense of balance and connection with the natural world it grants me.
Start by spreading your toes until your foot resembles a Monster Munch Crisp (you’ll never look at your foot the same way again!). Each toe is your root, constantly adapting as your weight shifts, to secure you to the earth. This is not necessarily a static pose, the toes constantly work in micro movements to keep you balanced.
Ground down into the right foot, engage your right thigh. This is your stable base, your tree trunk.
Lift the left leg and settle your sole on your upper, lower leg or rest it by your ankle, but never on your knee.
Allow the knee the draw backward to allow the hips to square to the front of room.
Lengthen down through the tail bone (imagine you have a big tail!). Zip up from the belly button, find your focus a little ahead of your and allow the face and eyes to soften. Lift your heart and inhale all nature’s wonder little tree.
Just as individuality makes the forest beautiful, you can be any kind of tree you wish by playing with arm movement … Willow, Oak, Christmas .. the possibilities are endless.