In finishing up the beautiful Summer and settling into Fall, it's been a while since I've posted yoga here. I wanted to come back with a few stretches, and a bit of body-mind poetry---you can see if any of it feels true.
As the seasons change, our internal climates shift to stay in tune. There is a shifting of energy downward and inward. Within this, there are some rhythmic desires that come up. Just as the animals make sure that they have the nest, connection, warmth and food they will need to make it through the cold months, we seek similar situaions of certainty and support.
It poses an interesting challenge that the time of year that we instinctually might most want safety, is often a phase of great change. Back to school, back to work, in to a new routine. Also, perhaps lacks in support or certainty that did not feel too troubling in the Summer, suddenly feel not ok as we look for a place to settle in. If it feels difficult to round this corner of the year, it may be helpful to understand what the transition of Fall means to you. To notice what shows up as important to you underneith worries, busy-ness and experiences of change.
It's actually not a "stretch" to draw a connect between the hamstrings and the imagery of Fall---these are the muscles that catch you if you feel you are falling forward. Linking that physical dynamic of falling to the psychological, it is possible that rigid hamstrings relate to an effort to--literally and figuratively--"not fall on one's face". They are part of the first chakra with questions of support, stability and belonging. Entering the hamstrings can let us notice if it feels like there is too little stability (is something in you unsure if the changes you are making can be successful?) or too much stability (all of the sudden, do you find yourself sitting in a chair for too long?)
Check out the pictures and explainations of poses. Perhaps you will want take a few minutes to be with the part of yourself that desires to release downwards and inwards, rather than efforting out. As you do them, see if you can feel at home in your body to any degree. Taking the image of the animals preparing for winter, find a space in yourself that you can rest. Many of us get into patterns where we we must fight for our survival. Notice if, from that, there is a tendancy to fight with the hamstrings and instead be with them as they are. Notice if--to any degree--the safety and comfort you are seeking might also be there as well.
Some other tips for settling in to fall?
• Be patient with yourself and your new routines. They may be difficult at first, just because they are new. If it feels deeply right, give it a few weeks or a month and see what settles in.
• At the same time, follow your intuition. You may deisre more rest and more time indoors.
• Set aside some time for internal activities--reading, journaling, resting, reflecting, stretching--especially those activities that are not classically considered "productive".
• Give yourself permission to actively plan connection. Sit with a friend for a cup of tea.
Thank you for reading. Laura Fuller teaches yoga at Mar Vista Recreation Center and ReDiscover. Please "like" Yoga in Mar Vista and share this post around, if you find it helpful.