How to Change Up Your Yoga Practice for the Season Ahead

Chara Caruthers
How to Change Up Your Yoga Practice for the Season Ahead

Hey there gorgeous yogi, can you feel that? It’s pretty subtle but it's definitely in the air. It’s a little something called change. And it’s one of life’s biggest gifts… and challenges.

The change I’m referring to is the change of seasons. It’s one of the most destabilizing forces we have to contend with in our lives. We often look forward to it, but rarely have fond memories of it, because it's almost always a period of turmoil and uncertainty.

Unless you’re prepared.

Get Ready Already!

The most interesting thing about the change of seasons, for an Ayurveda geek like me, is that we know it’s coming, we know when it’s coming, we even know how it’s going to shake up our minds and bodies, and yet we rarely do anything to get ready for it.

Getting ready is a bit like packing just the right amount of stuff for that three week vacation. If you do it right, you’ll have everything you need to look and feel fabulous the entire time!

But if you leave it too late or leave it out all together, you’re taking your chances. And sometime around the middle of the season you start to look and feel like you packed shorts and sandals for a ski vacation: uncomfortable, uncertain, and definitely out of sync.

So if you're ready to get ready, why not start with your yoga?

Transitioning Your Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful tool for managing change of any kind. The idea of moving a muscle to change a feeling give us the ability to pull our mental, physical, and emotional selves onto the same page and synchronize them with the natural world around us, all from the comfort of our yoga mats.

For me the transition always starts with a few questions.

  • How do I want to feel in the coming season?
  • What are my natural physical and emotional tendencies in the coming season?
  • What am I willing to commit to?

Your response to these questions can get you clear on your intentions and give you a stable place to start, something you’re gonna need, 'cause change isn't always easy (otherwise everyone would be doing it!).

What to Change

Changing your yoga practice can start from the inside out or vice versa. Below, you’ll find a summary of mental, emotional, and physical cues to help you shape your changing practice.

Transition From Summer (Pitta season) to Autumn (Vata season)

Summer Yoga to Fall Yoga 1

Transition tip: Autumn is a GREAT time for Yin yoga and some restorative practices. If there's a lot of variety in your current practice, consider settling into a stable routine through the autumn and start to vary it a little towards the end of winter. If you've got a home practice going, try adding forward bends, standing poses, and some balance poses into the mix.

Transition From Winter (Vata season) to Spring (Kapha season)

Winter Yoga to Spring Yoga 1

Transition tip: Springtime is a great time for warmer, moving styles of yoga. It’s also a great time to try something new! If you’re developing a home practice, consider adding in backbends, heart opening poses, inversions, and twists.

Don’t Wait For a Date

Wondering when to start? Tune into your intuition, don’t wait for a sign to drop out of the sky announcing that Fall has arrived (it’s not a train).

Trust the signs your body’s giving you that the new season is nearing. Even if that’s just a craving for a pumpkin latte, know that these signals are your body telling you it’s ready for a shift.

Start Small Then Go Big

Kick off the transition by making subtle shifts in the way you practice now.

Early on, don’t worry about changing the type of yoga you’re practicing, just the way you practice it. As you move deeper into the season, get a little more serious and committed to the transition. Seek out practices and whole class styles, durations, and energy that will most serve you in the season/state you’re in.

Make the shift gradual, but intentional, remembering that you have the power to shape your experience of life in every moment. You’re worth the focus it takes to create balance. So go all in!

Stop to Smell the Roses

Don’t forget to take time every day to notice the effects of your choices on your mind, body, and experience. Doing this is key, because it’s the awareness of the difference inspired action makes in your life that will light the way to further success!

So where are you now in your seasonal transition? What can you shift to create a little more balance and bliss? Got your own system for riding the changes in style? I’d love to hear about it, so drop me a line in the comments!