Saying adieu to the Summer, and welcoming in the Fall is a great chance to check in with ourselves and our goals.
In the Spring and Summer we tend to be outgoing and social as well as productive. In the cooler seasons of Fall and Winter we start to turn inwards energetically. This is a time for rejuvenation. A time to bring balance back into our life. To be open to accept the new, and shed that which no longer serves us.
This practice honors that. It is slow flowing as it works through circular processes. It also incorporates balancing poses, forward folds where we get to shed the old (like the trees with their leaves), and hip openers to be receptive of whatever is to come our way next.
These 6 poses are pulled from a 40 minute Fall Equinox practice on my YouTube Channel.
You will require two blocks for support as you root down. You may also want to have a journal handy to jot down the thoughts you stir up in this shifting of the seasons practice.
1. Meditation – Find a comfortable seated pose. Sit tall, find stillness and visualize your self like a tree. The roots of your sit bones press firm anchoring you to the ground. The spine reaches long and upright like the trunk. Raise the branches of your arms up towards the sun, spreading the fingers wide to soak it all in. With each inhale, send it all the way down to your roots. Set yourself an intention, not only for this practice but also for the season. With your next inhale, bring the fingers to touch. As you exhale circle the fingers towards the ground. Inhale up again, continuing in this cyclical motion.
2. Cat and Cow – Set up on hands and knees, shoulder and hip distance respectively. Inhale, dropping the belly, lifting the gaze, and curling the tailbone up. Exhale rounding the spine, chin to chest. Incorporate additional movement by simultaneously pressing the hips all the way back to the heels during the exhale. Take a few more rounds of this.
3. Waving Cobra – Laying on the belly, bring the hands wider than the mat and coming up on to the tips of the fingers. Reach your toes back, feet hip width distance apart. Elbows are bent deeply. As you inhale, ripple the spine all the way up into cobra. As you exhale, lower all the way down to the ground. Repeating this wave several times. Next, bring the palms to the sides of your hips. Push the palms into the ground, lifting up to upward facing dog. From here drop the hips left to right, windshield wiping to and fro a few times.
4. High Lunge to Pyramid Transitions – From downward facing dog, step the right foot through between the hands. Grab your blocks, setting them up at the highest level, underneath your hands for support. Bend deeply into the right knee, dropping the hips and lifting the gaze. Keep your right knee directly over the ankle. On an exhale shift the hips back, straightening the front leg and folding forward, forehead to shin, as in pyramid pose. With each inhale lunge forward, opening the heart to receive what’s to come. With each exhale, fold forward, flushing out that which no longer serves you. Aim to find a comfortable balance between the two, as you repeat this transition a number of times. Be sure to do both sides.
5. Tree Pose – Standing tall towards the front of your mat, bring your feet hip width distance apart. Grounding into the right foot, lift the left foot to the inside of the shin (toes can rest on the ground like a little kick stand), calf, or thigh. Being careful to avoid the knee. Externally rotate the left knee open to the side. Draw the belly in. Bringing the hands to the heart, take a moment to find steadiness where you are. Make circular motions with your arm branches. Inhaling them up overhead, bringing the palms to touch, exhaling them down the center trunk connecting the heart. Switch legs.
6. Pigeon Pose – Time for a longer held hip opener, closing the practice open to all the possibilities the new season brings. First take three-legged dog. Reaching the right foot to the sky, bring your right knee behind the right wrist, toes walk towards the left wrist. Stretch the left leg back behind you. If the right hip is high off the mat, use a block under the glute to keep the pelvis square. Fold forward over your front leg, coming to rest your forehead on a block, your hands or the mat. Breathe here for a comfortable length of time. If you want to take it deeper and integrate a heart opener to be fully receptive as you end your practice, for the final few breaths, lift the chest up as you push the palms into the ground. Alternatively, if it is in your practice, take King Pigeon. Bending the left knee, catching hold of the back foot with the palms. Work here or flip the grip, catching the foot with both hands, opening to the front and breathing into the heart. Repeat on the other side.
I truly hope you found this flushing out the old and welcoming the new, season shifting practice cathartic. If you want to complete the full 40 minute class with me, click through to the video below.
P.S. Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel if you enjoyed this practice. It will help support free online yoga.
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