A post by instructor Shelby Crowell

According to Ayurveda, everything in the world is composed of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kosha.  Think of the doshas like “qualities of energy”; each have their own qualities, elements and traits and everything (including you!) is ruled by them. Vata, the energy of movement, is the ruling dosha for the late autumn and winter months- from October to January. Vata is characterized by dryness, light, coldness and mobility, and, as the weather gets colder and dryer, the qualities of Vata become more predominant.

You might notice that through the winter the qualities of Vata effects you, making you more prone to anxiety, dry skin, insomnia and constipation. You might develop a craving for warm, soothing foods, and find you need more lotion for your dry hands. Ok! So now that we know how the changes of the seasons can effect our physical and mental wellbeing, we prepare ourselves for the change. Don’t be nervous, the change might be good for you, especially if you have a Pitta or Kapha consitution (go http://doshaquiz.chopra.com to find out your dosha), but for Vatas like me, the change in season may bring you out of balance.

Things of the Vata season  are cold, dry, windy and rough. To bring vata into balance we focus on things that are warm, moist and consistent. The Vata quality is very airy and can make you want to change your mind all the time, so really try to be as regular as possible with your daily routine, especially eating and sleeping.

Emotionally, the winter can be a time where anxiety sneaks up on us. With all the holiday parties, visiting family and presents to buy, the holiday season can paradoxically become a difficult time to relax and enjoy the fruits of out labor. I’ve personally found that pranayama is extremely effective to combat stress. Practice Nadi Shodhanna (instructions here http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2487) and when you feel panic popping up: take 10 slow belly breaths through the nose.  Use calming essential oils like lavendor on pressure points to keep the nerves at bay... and meditate! One great meditation during the winter months is to inhale and silently say “soo” and with an exhale say “huumm”. So hum means “I am the divine”, the mantra is grounding and helps to synch us up with the rhythms and harmonies of nature.

Constipation can also become a problem during the Vata season. The Vata diet  is soothing and improves digestion, which includes eating a lot of healthy carbs like whole wheat pasta and squash, cooked veggies and fruits and lots of dairy and healthy oils.  You can also give yourself a little stomach massage, clockwise with warm oil.

In terms of exercise, keep your routine regular and consistent. Running increases Vatta, so take it easy on the morning jogs, but walking and Yoga are excellent ways to stimulate the digestive system and calm the mind.

The Fall and Winter is a wonderful time; we have brisk fall breezes, nights cuddled up with blankets, we get to enjoy the company of friends and family and relish Holiday treats. Every season has its own unique energetic trademark that effects our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; once we know how to balance ourselves out we can better take advantage of everything this time has to offer!


A post by instructor Jenilee Sneed

BirdWings by Rumi
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting 
and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.​

That is one of my favorite poems. I think it has so much truth in it. You and your life are always changing and when you are lost in darkness, know there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. We often learn the most about ourselves and grow the most when we are in periods of change and instability. Also, the ability to shift and change often comes about more quickly when you are able to stay present with what is happening.

​It is often our natural tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Some take this so far as to completely numb out during times of difficulty. However, if you are numb or disconnected it becomes incredibly difficult to move into a new state of being. It also can get to the point where you no longer feel anything at all- good or bad. You may miss opportunities or fail to see things that you can do in order to change your situation. Instead if you can accept your situation for what is it and stay present to all of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, no matter how painful, then you can learn much and in the end move into a better state of being than would have been otherwise possible.

​Sometimes the pain you are experiencing may be so deep and you may feel so stuck that you cannot find the shift on your own. Instead of running from the experience, at that point, reach out to others for support. It is much easier to find your way out of darkness with a guide whether that's a trusted friend, a spiritual or community leader, or a professional. 

Change is the one certainty we have in life. ​There will be good days and bad days. There will be days when all your dreams seem to be coming true and days when it seems like your hopes are completely dashed. You owe it to yourself to be able to experience all the days of your life, to live fully and completely. In order to fully savor the days of joy you must also be able to feel your days of grief. They are all a part of life, would you rather be living or avoiding?

More on Jenilee at: jenileesneed.com