I hope you all are well and enjoying the changing colors in the trees and the brisk mornings. If we have shared practice recently you may have heard some tidbits from the retreat I attended last month with leaders in the field of mindfulness- Daniel Siegel, Rick Hanson, Kristin Neff and Shauna Shapiro.
Much like in a yoga class, at the beginning of this retreat we were invited to set an intention or make a vow. As we move into a new season, what perfect timing it is to discuss this idea! It is beneficial at this time of year to pause and reflect, to decide to move forward into autumn with intention.
Make a declaration to live in your fullest potential!
Instead of asking the more common question of "What do I need more of?" What if we practice aligning with nature and asking:
What do I need less of? What can I release?
Perhaps the answer to this question is less doing/over scheduling of our time. Maybe it is releasing the need to control situations or letting go of the grip of worry and anxiety. But even though we may know the answer, they are by no means small tasks and require self-compassion and gentle discipline.
The reason intentions/vows/commitments can be so powerful is centered around this scientific truth:
Where intention goes, neural-firing flows &
neurological pathways grow.
In other words, what we focus on becomes our reality. In no way is this a suggestion to "just be positive". Instead, how can you set an intention to keep you close to your center?
One stand out idea shared on the retreat that can help us begin to set our fall intention is:
The heart and breath know how to take care of you.
How can you take time to practice stillness to feel your breath and listen to your heart's needs to thrive? What can you do to keep your vow present throughout the whole season? Maybe you write it on paper or share it with a trusted other. There are many ways to do this. Do what feels most intuitive to you.
Below I've included some Ayurvedic suggestions to help you along this path moving into fall. I am also offering a Restorative Yoga and Meditation Workshop on Sunday, October 23rd at Sculpt Yoga in Raleigh Hills. We will explore how mindfulness, restorative and self-compassion practices support more harmonious living.
If you would like to do more focused one-on-one work you can schedule a private lesson with me.
Like the leaves falling from the trees, through our practice, we can release that which holds us back from living vibrantly and joyfully.
...Moving into Fall...
Grounding- When the wind starts to blow and leaves take leave of their branches we can really begin to feel the element of air that characterizes the season of fall. Take time to slow down and feel the ground! If you've had a busy week, slow down with a leisurely walk. If you've been sluggish in the morning try a short run/brisk walk. Feel your feet on the ground and notice the beauty of fall- the crisp feeling in the air, the colors in the trees, and the sound of leaves crackling beneath your feet.
Eat warm, seasonal foods- As the days become a bit chillier and the winds begin to blow, eating warm, nourishing foods can be a simple way to promote feelings of stability. Better yet, eat your largest meal between 10am-2pm. According to Ayurveda, that is when our digestive fire is highest and we can retain the most nutrients from our food.
Stay warm- As the weather becomes a bit cooler, keep cozy! Enjoy a cup of tea by the fire (if that's possible), take a sauna or a warm epsom salt bath.
Establish rhythm- If you have the space in your schedule, follow nature's lead and adjust your sleeping hours to be more in-line with the hours of sunrise and sunset. If that isn't an option, find rhythm by setting special time aside for your yoga practice, hiking, climbing, dancing, whatever it may be that keeps you mindfully connected to your body.
Meditate- Dedicate 5 minutes in the morning to sit and be with your breath. Practicing stillness in the morning will allow you to more easily connect to your center, or the intention you set for the new season, when later in the day you get caught in a whirlwind of things to do. Better yet, take time to sit again in the afternoon! 2pm-6pm- is the vata (the dominant dosha of fall) time of day and an optimal time to slow down and calm the mind's chatter.
To learn more about Ayurveda and the doshas, take the dosha quiz here.
I am very excited to announce that I will be contributing to the wonderful 50 hour Teacher Training Extensions at Twist Yoga with Ali Matt. I will be sharing my knowledge about prenatal yoga, postpartum recovery and how yoga is a perfect compliment during pregnancy and birth:
Prenatal and Postpartum yoga with Megan Peterson, certified yoga teacher and doula
– physiology and benefits of different yoga poses for each trimester
– learn how to use props and different modifications to make a yoga practice safe and assessable for all stages of pregnancy
– focus on special breathing techniques, opening the hips, and preparing the body for birth
– understand how yoga can help postpartum women reconnect with their body, gain strength, and discover their momma bliss
Please visit the Twist website to learn more and register.
...We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.
Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands,
or your own genuine solitude?
Freedom, or power over an entire nation?
A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable than anything else
that could ever be given you.