Yoga for Fall Season  
by: Vasanthi Bhat (vasanthi@vasanthayoga.com)

Itīs started…the air is just a tad cooler, the days a bit shorter. The trees no longer look as green as they were just one month ago and the sun decides to sleep in a little while longer each morning. This is the end of summer, and the beginning of a colder, less lazy season. Autumn is often the busiest season of the year, when most people must say goodbye to their time of relaxation in the summer and return to their responsibilities and obligations at school and at work. But, the end of summer does not have to signify the end of relaxation. You can rejuvenate and reenergize even in the face of what seems to be endless work. It takes just minutes to relieve the stress of returning to work and school. Yoga is an ancient art and healing practice that can keep you feeling as relaxed as if it were still the warm summer, while keeping you energized and focused throughout your busy work and school day. The cold mornings and evenings will no longer be an impending threat to your health, as yoga will rev up your immune system so that nothing can hold you back from performing your best as you return to your duties. So, sparing just five minutes to practice a few yoga techniques will prove beneficial throughout this season, and the rest. Follow this routine and watch how your health transforms. No more allergies, colds, blocked sinuses or fatigue!

Asanas (Postures)

1) Fish Posture: Lie flat on your back with your legs bent. Raise your hips and place your hands under them, palms facing the floor. Now, straighten your legs, arch your back and rest the top of your head on the floor. Come out of the pose by bringing your arms out and resting them by your side while resting the nape of your neck on the floor.

Benefits: Encourages deep breathing and exercises the chest muscles. Provides immediate relief from wheezing, asthmatic symptoms, and other respiratory ailments.

2) Two Leg Lock: Lie flat on your back. Bend your legs at the knee and bring them towards your chest. Clasp your fingers around your bent legs. Breathing out, bring your face towards your knees. Breathe naturally while holding the position. Breathe in when resting your neck.

Benefits: Massages and tones the neck, upper-back, and shoulders, while releasing upper body tension. Brings mental relaxation.

3) Cobra: Lie on your stomach, with your palms resting below your shoulders and your chin resting on the floor. Breathing in, straighten your arms and lift your trunk. Breathe naturally in the position. Breathing out, lower you trunk and head.

Benefits: Encourages deep respiration, which in turn strengthens lungs and heart. Stretches spine, arms, neck, shoulders, chest, abdominal muscles, and hips.

4) Mountain Posture: Sit on your heals with your toes bent. Bend forward, resting your palms on the floor. Raise your torso while straightening your arms and legs to form and up-side-down V. Breathe normally. Do not bend your legs at the knee.

Benefits: Energizing stretch for the entire body, including feet, ankles, hamstrings, spine, arms, and wrist joints. Increases circulation to the brain, relieving mental fatigue.

5) Bowing Posture: Sit on your heels. While breathing out, lift your hips and rest the top of your head on the floor. Rest your arms at your side. Breathe naturally in the position. Breathing in, come up and relax.

Benefits: Effectively relieves sinus congestion. Improves, concentration, memory, and eyesight, complexion, and will power.

Pranayama (Breathing Techniques)

1) Bellows Breath: Assume a comfortable sitting position with your back straight. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out forcefully while contracting the stomach muscles quickly and rhythmically. Keep contracting and relaxing the stomach muscles until the active exhalation and passive inhalation sounds like bellows.

Benefits: Purifies the lungs. Helps prevent and alleviate abdominal ailments.

2) Alternate Nostril Breathing: Close your eyes. Rest the index and middle fingers of your right hand on your eyebrow center. Close your right nostril with your thumb. Breathe in naturally through your left nostril and close it with your ring finger. Open your right nostril and breathe out gently. Breathe in through your right nostril, and then close it again with your thumb. Open the left nostril and breathe out. Repeat.

Benefits: Cleanses and purifies the breathing channels. Relieves lung ailments such as asthma, allergy, and chronic cold. Helps alleviate mental and emotional tension.

The previous postures and breathing techniques can help you whenever and wherever you are. Spending a few minutes will work wonders in your busy life. You can be strong and healthy even in the face of bad weather and extreme stress…yoga will help.