Several years out of school now, there's still something vaguely comforting that comes with the onset of autumn. With a work opportunity taking me to the Southern Hemisphere, it's been nearly two years since I’ve experienced fall. I was initially excited to skip out on a season that, for me, conjures up feelings of surrender, shedding the external and the necessity of trust in uncertainty. In spending time away from a season that challenges me to confront these realities, I have come to recognize the benefits of seeing fall not only as a mirror to the personal experience of letting go, but also as an opportunity to invite transformation into a daily practice. For yogis and non-yogis alike, here are five ways to be comfortable falling into the opportunities that life provides: Say Yes Whether it’s coming back from a week off of work or getting back into a general routine, life after August can be a time ruled by schedule rather than spontaneity. Fall into something new! Saying yes to a last-minute date or night out with friends can be incredibly rejuvenating, even if it means a night of compromised sleep. Seasonal activities like apple-picking, jam-making and healthy baking are great excuses to spice up a weekend. Let In and Let Go The breath is the most influential life force that we have to sustain us, so use it to your advantage. Just as leaves fall to provide a closer view of the vital shape of the tree, we too can define what accoutrements are bringing us closer to our true nature and those that are leading us astray. Try a 10-minute meditation using each inhalation to invite in a quality your are working with, and each exhalation to shed anything that is hindering your ability to connect with that quality. This meditation of clarity can be a positive way to start a day or to set a clear intention. Root to Rise Explore music that is rhythmic and heavy in its beat. Balancing the upper chakra and heady qualities that fall is characterized by; support your creativity with rootedness. Allowing your creative expression to be grounded will enhance your ability to be productive and inspired. West African dance is a fun way to connect with the physical roots of the feet while exploring an avenue of movement off the yoga mat. Dare to Dive Stop, yoga time! One of my favorite ways to gain confidence with trusting in the unknown is to practice it on the mat. More and more, I find that my artistry on the mat is an opportunity to transform reflections of reality plagued by hesitancy and uncertainty. In a safe space like a yoga practice, clarity transcends expectations, turning hesitancy to confidence and uncertainty to confidence. The Spirit Dive, a Laughing Lotus-inspired asana, is a playful way to get out of your head and into your body. Coming from Warrior I, plant the palms and swing the front foot up in the air using the grounded back foot to kick up into a handstand. When you choose to end your flight, land with the elbows bent in Chaturanga. Get Grounded Although it’s fun to celebrate the flighty qualities of fall, its powerful breeze is a reality worthy of acknowledgement. With life spinning in the air, it’s important to stay grounded. Surround yourself with people who are calm and collected. If things are especially turbulent, try adding a floor lamp or a potted plant to your living space. Most importantly, acknowledge that fall is a time of change characterized by letting go. Give yourself the gift of this awareness.
HELLO, FALL! 5 Ways to Embrace Opportunity
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Taking her first yoga class at the age of 12, Leigh found the greatest challenge on the mat to be the stillness of savasana. Four years later, she was introduced to power vinyasa yoga and found the invigorating practice and breath-work energizing beyond any exercise she had experienced before. Throughout her college years, Leigh explored yoga to compliment her time spent on the basketball court. Finding greater physical and mental balance between studies and social life, and experiencing the healing power of yoga; upon injuring herself during her sophomore season, Leigh set out to share the benefits of yoga with others in 2011. Certified through Yoga to the People, Leigh began bringing power yoga to her fellow students at Wesleyan University. Additionally, she started offering free yoga workshops to explore topics at greater depths. During her collegiate years, Leigh introduced kid’s yoga to a local arts education center, Green St. Arts in Middletown Connecticut. In 2013, she completed her kids yoga certification at It’s Yoga Kids in San Francisco and her Street Yoga Training in Portland, Oregon. In February 2013, she and her yogi partner in crime, Shira Engel, led a free kids yoga teacher training, certifying 20 individuals to brings kids yoga to underserved populations. In Spring 2013, she and Shira also co-taught Yoga Theory and Practice, a student led Wesleyan University course. The two launched their blog Sequence of the Day this July, which offers a daily yoga sequence to the online yoga community. Leigh currently resides in Fiji’s Yasawa Islands and teaches sunrise, kids, and sunset yoga daily at Paradise Cove Resort. Website: www.leighstewart.com Blog: www.sequenceoftheday.tumblr.com