Each season has an energetic direction and quality that we can adapt to and align with. These days, more than ever, we drive modern lifestyles of unnatural pace and means. But we are still natural beings…. We are increasingly reminded of the need to tend to 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. By tapping into the quality and direction of Nature and the energy in season, we can all be Seasonaires and synchronize our lifestyle and pace accordingly.
Each season offers us simple, real-time and genuine insight and guidance to help us make the most of our health, wellness, diet and lifestyle choices throughout the year. The vinyasa of each season is easy to notice, to align with and live by.
We can nourish, rebalance, repair, feel more steady, content and in a state of flow – just like the natural world achieves season to season, year up on year. We can tune into the collective rhythm and feel more balanced and energised in ourselves.
What is Vinyasa Flow?
Vinyasa Yoga is a style of yoga that is practiced linking conscious breath with dynamic fluid movement. A number of Yoga postures (Asanas) are linked together in a sequence which flows together, a little bit like dance. A rhythm of breath is controlled and 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 Vinyasa Flow is a style of yoga that mirrors Nature and the energy in season. I have been practicing Seasonal vinyasa Flow for 20 years as pioneered and introduced to me by Julie Hanson of the Seasonal Yoga Academy (Scotland). Each year I deepen my awareness of my own changing energy 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 to help stay healthy and balanced so I can make the most of my mountain time and optimize my energy throughout the Seasons.
I teach Seasonal Vinyasa Flow in the form of ‘Mountain Yoga’. Classes are are adapted season to season to compliment and support our mountain lifestyle and mountain sports.
In Winter the mountains are more hostile with cold temperatures and snow management impacted by the intensity of skiing and snowboarding. Mountain Yoga takes the form of ‘Snowga’ which targets the more therapeutic needs of snowboarders and skiers and winter 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.
Throughout each Season, Mountain yoga classes also take account of the vinyasa cycles of the moon. Sequences and intentions are adapted to mirror the influences from and the quality and direction of our energy during the phases of each moon.
Is there a Blueprint for Health and Wellness?
Yes I think so. Ancient wisdoms that underpin Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, Reiki etc seem to have it down. These are healing systems, arts or practices that reflect a deep understanding of Natural law, the relationship of the 5 elements and the concept of energetic health management. These systems and practices 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.
These systems and practices differ in design but conceptually have a common theme to manage the flow of ‘Chi – Qi – ‘Ki’ – ‘Prana’ which are all terms relating to the life force or ‘energy’ of a living being. As I understand it, 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, it looks at the level of harmony and synchronicity within the biosphere (between body and mind) as well as the level of harmony and synchronicity out with 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 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 – contemplate 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 Tai Chi and Qigong and Kundalini 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.
- 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 perform on maximum power – be passionate, take risks, experiment and explore – showcase your 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. Playful and adventurous practices introducing new or more challenging poses like arm balances, splits, inversions or with increased intensity like Ashtanga or Power yoga. Since the Heart is the seat of the mind, this more vigorous Vinyasa practice is balanced with a regular meditation practice in Nature.
- 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 centered and harvest the exploration and growth of spring and summer. Slowing it down and checking in to see how far you’ve come. A time to notice all your efforts from Spring and Summer and celebrate the ways that they support and nourish you – a time to be good to yourself. Late Summer Flows moves energy along the Stomach and Spleen meridian lines using immune boosting postures and sequences involving core strength and awareness with emphasis on self practice and self care bespoke 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). A time to cut-back and simplify our lifestyle – sort through wardrobes and complete or reject projects or end habits that hold us back. Like the shedding of autumn leaves and relaying back to our roots in preparation for winter. A Seasonal flow for Autumn practice focuses on moving energy along the Lung and Large Intestine meridian and should involve a deeper focus on breath awareness and practice (Pranayama) and refining postural alignment in preparation for the next cycle of Seasonal Vinyasas to start again.
Tips to align with a more natural rhythm
These approaches can be applied to all areas of life. From eating seasonally to methods of parenting and even how you run your business. We can use the same principles and let these natural rhythms to guide us through so many aspects of our life. For example:
- Are you going on a juice diet in winter? when your energy is at its lowest and external environment is most hostile? No – Springtime or Summer would be better.
- When should business owners review their staff / contracts / assess efficiencies? 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 or would work better.
- When to give up smoking or drop 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.
Forever discovering, exploring and experimenting with new ways and old ways to find balance and contentment and respect the laws of Nature.