Flow Into Fall: 5 Yoga Poses To Try This Season
By: Molly Pelletier, 500-RYT and Nutritionist
Fall is the perfect time to integrate healthy habits and establish empowering intentions. A new season always brings an opportunity to reflect, as well as consciously release anything that may be in the way of you manifesting the life you deserve. Through letting go of old habits or ideas, we are given the chance to create new patterns and opportunities for the fall season and beyond. As the weather grows chillier, incorporating home yoga flows into your daily routine can be one way to connect to your intentions while releasing muscle tension and building strength.
Mindful exercises, such as yoga, can support optimal physical health, as well as mental health. Yoga has been shown in multiple studies to elevate mood, decrease symptoms of both anxiety and depression, as well as increase levels of self-compassion.1 Taking even just ten minutes to move and breathe can go a long way in managing stress levels and improving flexibility. Here are five of my favorite yoga poses, with tips and instructions, to incorporate this fall.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
Downward dog is a staple in yoga... and for good reason! This pose helps to open up the entire back body: hamstrings, back, and shoulders. If you have tight hamstrings, not to worry: simply keep a slight bend in your knees. Bending your knees in this pose will help you find a long, straight spine. Take at least ten full and deep breaths, allowing the weight of the head to stretch the neck muscles.
Yoga Tip: Think about reaching the tailbone up towards the sky. This will help to lengthen the spine and open up the shoulders. Also, be sure to spread your fingers nice and wide to engage the wrist muscles.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
This pose is great for building strength in the legs and core. Reaching the arms back behind the head will help to stretch the shoulders while engaging deep abdominal muscles. Take deep, full breaths here to bring fresh oxygen to your cells and energize the body.
Yoga Tip: Press the outer edge of your back foot down into the ground to help ignite the back leg. Try to hold the weight of the body evenly in both legs. Think of your two hip bones as headlights and square your hips straight ahead to get the maximum hip stretch!
Airplane Pose (Dekasana)
Airplane, or Dekasana in Sanskrit, is a strength-building balance pose with many variations to accommodate any level of experience. If you have difficulty balancing at first, simply place your hands on a wall out in front of you, on two yoga blocks, or on the ground. Start with these “grounded airplane” variations and try to stay in for ten breaths to build strength through the core and standing leg.
Yoga Tip: Root down through your standing foot, especially through the heal, to engage the glute muscle. Flex the floating foot, bringing the toe towards the shin, to engage the leg, and help you stay balanced.
Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Perfect for winding down after work or before bed, seated twists help to release both the upper and lower body. If you only have five minutes in between classes or meetings, try this centering and grounding pose for a dose of mindfulness. Start by crossing your right leg over your left. Feel free to keep to the left leg extended if bending the left knee is too intense or causes pain. Twist the torso towards the right, using your right arm to support and elongate the spine.
Yoga Tip: In this pose, your left hand can help you deepen into the twist by gently hugging the knee into the chest. Close the eyes and breathe deeply in and out through the nose. Focusing on your breath, especially the exhale, helps to soften the body and relieve muscle tension.
Seated Meditation / Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
Many people often forget that Sukhasana, or seated meditation, can be one of the most powerful poses to incorporate into your daily routine. In fact, the entire purpose of ancient yoga was to open up the body in order to meditate for long periods of time. Taking even five or ten minutes to sit, focus on the breath, and check-in with your body can have powerful impacts on stress levels. Meditation and mindfulness has been shown in numerous studies to reduce emotional stress, as well as reduce physiological biomarkers of stress.
Yoga Tip: Try incorporating meditation and yoga into your morning routine this week! My morning routine generally involves making a cup of tea, followed by five minutes of stretching and ten minutes of meditation. Read my Top Five Tips For Beginning Your Meditation Practice here!
I hope these poses and tips help you establish new healthy habits this Fall! For full yoga, meditation, and yoga sculpt classes, be sure to check out my Health & Wellness YouTube Channel.
- Patel NK, Nivethitha L, Mooventhan A. Effect of a Yoga Based Meditation Technique on Emotional Regulation, Self-compassion and Mindfulness in College Students. Explore (NY). 2018;14(6):443-447. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2018.06.008
- Hoge EA, Bui E, Palitz SA, et al. The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2018;262:328-332. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.006
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