Though it's not technically fall until Sept. 23 (only two weeks!), it sure feels like it, doesn't it?
In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, fall is vata season. The world around us is getting a bit more dry, windy, rough and erratic - all qualities of the vata dosha or body constitution.
If you lean toward a vata dosha or you just have excess vata in your system, you might feel more scatterbrained than usual. Lose your keys a lot? Forget appointments? Can't focus on what needs to be done? Hello vata.
So what can help balance vata at this time of year? Making an effort to get grounded.
Last night in my yoga class we focused on the first chakra, also called the root chakra. We are said to have seven major chakras, or energy centers, up and down along the spine. The first chakra, at the base of the spine, is all about getting grounded. It establishes your connection to your body, environment and earth. It's your survival center and also the wellspring of your fight or flight response.
If your root chakra is bright and flowing and functioning well, you'll feel safe and secure in your world. If it's not flowing well you'll feel insecure and unsteady.
Here's a real world example I recently mulled over: An acquaintance told me she liked being ungrounded and a little bit flighty which baffled me. And then she left her wedding rings in the building where we were and sent me a distressed text message to please find them and place them somewhere safe. This seemed to me the epitome of being ungrounded and why it's not really in your best interests.
There are plenty of ways to ground yourself. The one I emphasized in class last night was simple: go outside and walk barefoot on the earth. Now that is some good grounding.
I also learned, in my pre-class research, that any activity that makes you more aware of the body can strengthen this chakra. I find that to be true. Getting outside for a walk or hike or getting yourself to the gym to lift some weights or take a high intensity interval class can all get that root chakra glowing.
Other ways include consuming warm, heavier foods, including soups and stews, which makes sense when the days start to catch a chill.
An excellent grounding yoga pose is, naturally, tree. We played with this in class last night by doing several different variations of the posture. Each time, though, the intention was the same - send the energy down into the earth through the standing leg.
Grow your roots down so you can lift up toward the sun. And stop forgetting stuff.