Saturday, February 07, 2015

Creating Healthy Habits with Yoga: Seasonal Yoga

sequence of yoga postures
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As your Yoga practice and teaching begins to deepen, you will notice that there is a seasonal fluctuation in the types of Yoga that are most effective during different times of the year. By balancing the energy of the season with both your own practice and the postures that you teach in your classes, you will maintain an optimal level of personal health, and you will help your Yoga students to navigate seasonal fluctuations with vibrancy and balance. For example, several repetitions of the Sun Salutations and challenging standing asanas, arm balances and core work, will raise your students' metabolism and internal body temperature, offsetting the cooler seasons. 

Springtime detoxifying Yoga practices are a favorite among students and teachers alike. The burgeoning of new green leaves and the graceful blooming of flowers brings a sense of new life during the spring.  If you pause quietly to check in with yourself during the springtime, this quickening of energy can be felt within your own body. As you feel the energy coursing through your own body, practicing detoxifying twisting asanas and invigorating standing and balancing asanas, woven into the Sun Salutations, will help you to release any inertia or heaviness that accumulated during the winter. Participating in a juice fast or a light soup fast will also help to dislodge any toxins that may have accumulated over the winter months. 

Seasonal Yoga practices that are optimal for the summer months include seated forward folds and Yin Yoga poses that are practiced in a restorative fashion. Inversions, such as Legs Up the Wall Pose, also help to cool and balance the body during the hot summer months. Although you may wish to warm up initially by flowing through a series of Sun Salutations and standing postures in a vinyasa-style fashion, slowing down a little bit towards the end of your practice during the summer months by incorporating seated forward folding Yin Yoga poses and restorative postures, will help to calm down an overly active sympathetic nervous system and to bring down your core body temperature. These physiological effects of a cooling Yoga practice will help to balance you during the warm summer months. 

Seasonal Yoga sequences that are helpful during the cool fall season include warming Sun Salutations and grounding and strengthening Yoga poses, such as the Warrior series. Grounding Yoga postures, such as Warrior II, help to ground and strengthen your energy. This sense of being more solidly on the earth will help you to be more focused and one pointed, as your pursue the goals that you may have set for yourself during the beginning of the fall season. Many of the balancing Yoga postures, such as Tree Pose and Half Moon Pose, also encourage the mind to settle on one point. This one pointed concentration helps sustain your focus on a single goal or course of action, which usually translates into following through on a particular idea or project. This will help to generate the ability to accomplish the tasks or goals that you have chosen for yourself. 

By becoming aware of how your body and mind are affected by the energy of the different seasons of the year, you will be able to choose a sequence of Yoga postures and pranayama exercises that facilitate both your own health and the health and well-being of your Yoga students throughout the course of the year. The ancient Indian health system of Ayurveda also has many seasonal recommendations for flowing through the seasons in a balanced and healthy manner. When Ayurvedic principals of healthy living are combined with a regular Yoga practice, the results can be very healing and transformational. 

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at:

1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

There is a seasonal fluctuation in the types of Yoga that are most effective during different times of the year. Its really informative post.