Autumn brings a distraction, more so this year as we navigate the change along with the pandemic and all its twists, turns and complexities. Have you noticed how your mind and thoughts run around like squirrels gathering and burying acorns?
It is the season of the squirrel. Summer has said its last goodbye for the year. The crispness and color of fall is upon us. With the season change comes distraction, cognitive fog with fewer hours of daylight and maybe even this year, an accompanying worry about what is next as we are still actively in a pandemic.
The nature of the mind is to have runaway thoughts. Fortunately, the ancient yogis devised techniques for harnessing thoughts to create focus and improve attention. At our disposable are simple but effective tools and techniques.
Tips for Yoga Practice for Focus & Attention during Seasonal Changes
- Infuse yoga postures with the breath. Each part of a movement is accompanied and powered by a phase of the breath.
- Do yoga postures with contra-lateral adaptations
- Adapt the breath in yoga postures to lift energy or calm, depending on what you need. If you need to focus and lift energy, use a short retention after inhale. If you need to focus and calm down, extend exhale progressively as you do a posture.
- Do breathing practices (pranayama), especially with nostril valving such as Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing)
- Use meditative techniques such as fixing your attention to an image of light in your heart and mind or using a mantra (a word or phrase that is supportive for you). A supportive mantra at this time of year is Om Jyotir Aham (invoking light within).
When to Get Help
As the season changes, it’s important to work with your health care provider if you get significant symptoms of seasonal affective disorder that deeply impact your life such as having trouble functioning at work or home, difficulty in your personal relationships, or you have significant feelings of depression and hopelessness or anxiety.
If you are interested in using yoga techniques to help with seasonal changes, contact a Yoga Therapist as they are trained in tailoring techniques for your unique manifestation of seasonal changes as well as other health conditions you may have.
As you move toward the winter solstice, use your yoga practice to support and nourish your focus and attention. Use your practice to gently harness your attention to do what must be done and cultivate light to burn off any cognitive fog that clouds your day.
Stick figure graphics by Sequence Wiz, www.sequencewiz.com.
Mary Hilliker, RDN, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT is a Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist and Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness Center and River Flow Yoga Teacher Training School in Wausau WI. Mary offers individualized Yoga Therapy in person and online. She teaches therapeutic and wellness yoga classes, mini-retreats, workshops, webinars and yoga teacher training (200 hr. Yoga Teacher Training | 300 hr. Advanced Yoga Teacher Training for RYT-500).