Each season has an energetic direction and quality that permeates throughout nature. The intention of Seasonal Flow is to adapt our lifestyle and behaviours to align to the the energies in season. These days, more than ever, we drive modern lifestyles of unnatural pace and means. But we are still natural beings…. It is our responsibility to manage our physical and mental health to avoid burn-out, anxiety and stress related illnesses.
There is a subtle but very apparent influence that changing seasons have on us. Despite all our advancements, drive and technology dependence we remain deeply influenced by the changing qualities of Nature in seasons. We can tap into the quality and direction of Nature and the energy in season. We can all be Seasonaires and synchronize our lifestyle and pace accordingly.
The vinyasa of each season is not difficult to notice, to align with and live by. Happily there is simple, real-time, genuine insights and guidance to help us optimize our health; wellness; diet and lifestyle choices throughout the year. In applying the concepts and teachings of Yoga; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); Ayurveda and Astrology we can influence our wellness and operate from an intention to harmonise our natural energy.
Let’s use them to nourish, rebalance, repair, feel more steady, content and in a state of flow – just like the natural world achieves season to season – year upon year. Intentionally attune to the collective rhythm in order to feel better balanced, capable and energised.
What is Flow Yoga?
Vinyasa Flow Yoga is a style of yoga that is practiced linking conscious breath with dynamic fluid movement. Like a dance, we linkj Yoga postures (Asanas) together in a sequence. Our breath is controlled and rhythmic. This rhythm directs the timing and co-ordination of the movement.
A Vinyasa can be described as a progressive cycle or wave with a distinct start, middle and end. Read all about Vinyasa Yoga in the Blog.
Seasonal Flow is a style of yoga that mirrors Nature and the energy in season. I have been practicing Seasonal vinyasa Flow for over 20 years under Julie Hanson of the Seasonal Yoga Academy (Scotland). Each year I continue to deepen my awareness and take insight from the natural world throughout each cycle of seasons. It helps me cultivate an energy and lifestyle choices that go with, not against, that of my natural environment. It helps me make better choices and presence throughout the Seasons.
I teach Seasonal Vinyasa Flow in the form of ‘Mountain Yoga’. Classes are adapted season to season to compliment and support our mountain lifestyle and mountain sports.
In Winter, Mountain Yoga takes the form of ‘Snowga’, which targets the therapeutic needs of snowboarders and skiers and winter our lifestyle. Read more about Snowga in the Blog
In Summer, the mountains are more accessible, awesome and wild. Mountain yoga takes the form of more dynamic and challenging sequences which strengthen our physical and mental power. Where possible Summer Mountain Yoga goes on outside in the beautiful mountain scape. Sequences are also adapted to support the relevant mountain sports of the group such as hikers, bikers and climbers.
Is there a Blueprint for Health and Wellness?
Yes I think so. Yoga and other ancient wisdoms such as Qigong (Chi Gung); Tai Chi; Acupuncture; Acupressure from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Reiki energy management, Vedic and Western Astrology are excellent guides to this aim. These healing systems, arts or practices reflect a deep understanding of Natural law, the relationship of the 5 elements and the concept of energetic health management. They have been field tested for centuries and remain prominent today so it makes perfect sense to me to continue to look to these wisdoms to support us in how we live our modern day lives.
While they differ in design, conceptually they have a common theme. That theme is to manage the flow of ‘Chi – Qi – ‘Ki’ – ‘Prana’. These are all terms relating to the life force or ‘energy’ of a living being. The key principle they share is to treat a person as an energetic biosphere in their own right. Assessing the health of a human biosphere, we look at the level of harmony and synchronicity within the biosphere (between body and mind) as well as the level of harmony and synchronicity outside the biosphere (between other people and the surrounding natural environment).
We can apply the 5 element influences to aid our understanding and alignment to the energy in Seasons and direct our yoga practice to support that aim. Here are examples as to how we can use the principles and concepts and Natural law to adapt and align our energy with the quality and direction of energies in Season:
In Winter we slow right down to stillness and mirror the quality and direction Nature (Yin). A time to rest and reflect – resist less by allowing ourselves to be less in control and go with the flow like Water. Nature is in stillness, surviving from root level. We can reflect this by containing our energies, keeping steady mind through positive thought and mindfulness practices and getting plenty of sleep, keeping warm and eating sustaining foods. Winter is a good time to study and avoid unnecessary stress. Seasonal flow moves energy along the Kidney and Bladder meridian lines and sequences are very fluid and practiced at a slower pace being more restorative in nature. Energy management practices such as Pranayama, Acupressure, Reiki and Qigong are ideal compliments to a Winter Flow.
In Spring Energy rises (‘young Yang’). We develop, grow or expand in the Wood element season. Daffodils in Spring arrive like trumpets calling a rise to action from winter hibernation. We can cleanse, detox, spring clean our bodies and homes to shake off the sluggishness from Winter. We can aim to be more creative do things that help us refresh and take charge of changes in our life so we can develop and grow. Seasonal yoga sequences are intensified and focus on cleansing and detoxifying the body and balancing energies along the Liver and Gall bladder meridian lines. Energy management practices such as Acupressure, Chi Gung and Kundalini are ideal compliments to a Spring Flow. Myofacial release techniques are fantastic practices for late spring and early Summer time.
Summer is full bloom or action time. Annual energy is at its highest (Yang) – the element in season is Fire which drives matters of the heart and transformation. A time to do and express in fullness – be passionate, take risks, play, experiment and explore – celebrate your gifts & talents and do more of what you love. Summer yoga sequences flow dynamically raising the heart rate moving energy along the Heart and Small Intestine meridian lines and through the fascia tissue and fluid system. Playful and adventurous practices introducing new or more challenging poses or simplified poses but with increased intensity. Since the Heart is the seat of the mind, this more vigorous Vinyasa practice is balanced with a regular pranayama and meditation practice in Nature, Mantra and any practice that you really enjoy.
Late summer Energy depletes and rebalances back to centre (Yin/Yang). It’s the season of the Earth element and the Natures’ harvest. Time to slow down and come back down to earth. To feel centred and harvest the fruits from the exploration and growth of spring and summer time. Slowing it down and checking-in. Digesting the information and experience of the seasons so far and processing how far you’ve come in developing your self awareness. It’s a time as all harvests to celebrate, appreciate and nourish ourselves at core level. Late Summer Flows move energy along the Stomach and Spleen meridian lines using digestion and immune boosting postures and sequences involving core strength and awareness with emphasis on self practice and self care bespoke to individual needs.
In Autumn we apply insight from late summer to identify things that are no longer are needed and no longer serve us. It’s the Metal element or ‘the 5th element’ (Ether / Inertia) representing the void through which all things, time and space are connected. This is a time to shed excesses, prune-back and simplify our lifestyle. To sort through wardrobes, complete / reject projects, and end habits and behaviours that hold us back. Mirroring nature so to speak by shedding our autumn leaves and retreating back to our roots in preparation for winter. Autumn Flows focus on refining postural alignment and correcting postural bad habits and moving energy along the Lung and Large Intestine meridian and should involve a deeper focus on breath awareness and practice (Pranayama) Meditation and Energy work such as chakra balancing to build a deeper sense of awareness beyond the physical effects of the practice.
Examples of how to adopt and adapt to a natural rhythm
These approaches can be applied to all areas of life not just the style and focus of our yoga practices. We can use the same principles and let these natural rhythms guide us through so many aspects of our life. For example:
Are you going on a juice diet in winter when energy is at its lowest? and external environment is damp and hostile? No – Springtime or Summer would be better.
When should business owners review their staff / contracts / assess efficiencies? In Late summer of course.
When should you start a new project? In Spring time when the energy is rising and there’s an appetite to start something new and exciting.
The naughty step may work for the little ones in Autumn and Winter but in Summertime with all that excess energy, maybe chores would work better.
When is the best time to give up a bad habit or toxic relationship? In Autumn! The best time to shed, refine and uncomplicate your life… OR Spring time to create new habits and rhythms and re-invent yourself.
I’m forever discovering, exploring and experimenting with old ways and new ways to find balance and contentment guided by the laws of Nature through the changing seasons.
It is this that I’m passionate to share. I’m passionate to weave this intention into yoga classes, workshops and events so we can all move through life more purposefully – a conscious part of Nature and this living cosmos.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences too. Namaste x