It's October and autumn is settling in here in middle Tennessee. The leaves aren't turning just yet, but the cool evening weather is perfect for relaxing at home with the all windows open, or spending a night sitting by the fire with loved ones. From an ayurvedic standpoint autumn is an important time to ground and slow down the tizzy of school, work & holiday ramp-ups that can leave so many of us anxiety-ridden or even sick instead of immersed in the hggye of the season.
When you're proceeding through the world-process clouded by the ignorance of avidyā and the illusion of Māyā, it's easy to get swept up into the playful yet erratic movement of Vata dosha until it whirs you into a chaotic spiral. Ayurveda holds that like attracts like, so the influence of Vata dosha in the environment can push our internal Vata out of balance and into aggravation. The way to pacify doshic imbalance is through pratipakṣa bhāvana, or "cultivating the opposite," so developing stable & reliable qualities in body, mind & spirit will balance the erratic & irregular qualities of Vata dosha. This is where moving slowly become foundational to pacifying excess Vata dosha for everyone, but especially for those folks who have a dominant Vata influence in their prakriti constitution.
For those of you who've been following my journey so far, I closed on my first house on September 28--just in time to settle, ground and slow down for autumn. The previous four month since being displaced from the rental house I resided became a Vata-deranged experience of navigating the mortgage application experience as a self-employed black woman; moving out of the rental house hard & fast; finding friends to care for my cat & 25 house plants; and being homeless for 3 weeks with my partner & my dog until we closed on our house. I share all this to sincerely express that what it means to "be grounded" is a notion I've contemplated heavily since being thrusted into a challenging life transition.
One illumined insight I've gleaned from this experience is the ability to ground isn't just mindlessly moving slowly, but moving slowly with awareness, effort & intention. With that, here are my top 3 tips to moving slowly and staying grounded this Vata season.
Create an Intention: Take a moment to answer your "why?" Developing a sense of intention for why you are making the conscious choice to move slowly can create more clarity & dedication to the practice.
Use Active Effort: Moving slowly with intention has a learning curve, so exercising active effort will encourage mindfulness in the practice--the more you practice with active effort, with time the easier the practice becomes!
Cultivate Yogic Awareness: Learn to notice, sense & feel what is it like to move slowly? Internally observer how the practice of slowing down affects your whole body--physically, energetically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually. This is called "conscious interoception."
Try to stick with moving--and thinking & living--slowly throughout the remainder of autumn, and into the first half of winter. By the time Kapha season starts to set in you many notice it's easier to move & expand into the rejuvenating vitality of spring!
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ