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yoga for the seasons
Seasonal Vinyasa is a unique offering to the yoga community based on Melina Meza’s interest in and exploration of Hatha yoga, nutrition, and Ayurveda (sister health science to Hatha yoga), similar but different paths that produce alchemical changes in the body and mind.
Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga classes, workshops and retreats emphasize the importance of sequencing and being in alignment with nature. In addition to asana practice, they include insights on physical health and nutrition as well as how to inspire self-knowledge that allows for the conscious adjustment of day-to-day choices.
What are the basic principles behind this practice?
Within the art and science of yoga, there are endless ways to help rediscover the body’s innate wisdom and the inherent joy and healthfulness of living in balance from season to season. This mindfulness offers each person the ability to truly understand that what is occurring “out there in nature” is also occurring within each of us. We are not separate from nature; you are nature and from the Ayurvedic perspective, you are composed of the same basic five elements—ether, air, fire, water, and earth—as every material object around you.
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I believe now more than ever, for our own healing, it’s imperative to re-connect to nature in as many ways as possible. There is something inherently sacred and beautiful about bringing awareness to the rhythms of the day (sunrise and sunset), to the moon cycles (waxing and waning), to the seasonal changes (spring, summer, winter, and fall), and to the various life phases (student, householder, retirement, and renunciation), so we can appreciate how dynamic life is and remember not to take any of it for granted.
Why should we embrace the changing seasons?
Since humans are part of nature, you too have the opportunity to be graceful and let the seasons flow without clinging or grasping too much. It’s natural to have preferences to certain seasons, seasons that resonate with your core elements and that make you feel more like yourself. And yet, developing equanimity and contentment with all seasons—regardless of dosha, or where you live, is essential to well-being. This is where the art of sequencing can be instrumental and serve of great benefit.
One of the key practices within seasonal vinyasa yoga is to put a comma—envisioning a momentary pause—after each season. Your body can benefit from experiencing and adapting to new environments, exercise routines, and foods; growing stronger, more resilient, and keeping you in touch with the cycles of nature.
How do you begin to create a seasonal Vinyasa practice?
Consider the following questions at the beginning of each season:
- What changes are going on outside in Nature?
- How does this season make me feel?
- What are the challenges I face?
- What brings me joy during this season?
- What diet or lifestyle routines do I want to change?
- Am I getting the right amount of sleep?
- What yoga or exercise routine feel the best to me?
Being mindful of the daily, monthly, or seasonal cycles occurring in the world around you will often lead to greater health of mind, body, and soul. As often as possible, spend time outside, sequence your routines with Nature and appreciate the dynamic flow occurring in the world around you. Let Nature inform your seasonal routines.
What can seasonal vinyasa teach us?
That change is good. The yogis believe that you are one with nature. In order to bloom, you need diversity. If you live a “mono-life” and choose the same foods, practices, and environments over and over again, your life lens and perspective will begin to narrow. Your body may even begin to form allergies to foods you over-consume (like wheat, dairy, or soy).
Not only does the body weaken, but your spirit may suffer if you are not adapting to new environments or challenges on a regular basis. In the absence of stimulation, which often dwindles in long-term routines, it’s possible to get too comfortable or attached to things becoming permanent, which is the opposite of what is occurring in nature.
What are the results of a seasonal vinyasa practice?
The more you practice adapting to new routines and seasonally breaking the momentum of habits before they become addictions, the stronger, healthier, and more open you become as a person.
Instead of your world feeling boxed in by your routine, making seasonal changes helps you widen your perspective or lens, so you experience more in life. It encourages you to see new potentials and possibilities in your work, family, diet, adventures, and exercise that connect to the revolving and ever-changing world around you.