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Early wake-ups. Jam-packed days. Super-sized schedules. Getting back into a regular routine or simply adjusting to the change of seasons is no easy feat—whether you’re 6 or 36.
“Going back to school and coming back from summer affects everyone,” says Radiant Yoga Boston owner Chanel Luck, an Ashtanga-trained power yoga teacher who has studied with Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste, and Ana Forrest. We asked Luck—who has worked with Michelle Williams, Spike Jonze, and Lauryn Hill—to create an energizing flow practice to help Yoga Journal readers tackle the fall frenzy.
“I love this sequence because it helps the practitioner create the grounding energy that we so desperately need during this time of year,” Luck says. “It also has uplifting qualities, which I think we need, because it can be sad to pull ourselves away from the bliss of summer and get focused on the new [school] year ahead.”
Here are five poses to help you say goodbye to summer and meet the challenges of fall. Luck suggests taking the sequence outside to savor the beauty of the season.
THE PAIN: Back to school
THE POSE:Child’s Pose (Balasana)
“I picked this pose because it represents the shape of the spine when we were in utero, which is a time of least stress, warmth, and comfort for most babies. Putting the forehead on a mat or a blanket also helps calm our minds and gives a little support and pressure to the pre-frontal cortex, the part of our brain that is known for highly developed cognitive thinking.”
THE PAIN: Early wake-ups
THE POSE:Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
“This pose is energizing and grounding at the same time. I love the forward-moving direction. It’s as if we are saying with our bodies, ‘Yes fall, I am ready for you!’”
THE PAIN: Less sun + fun
THE POSE:Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
“Tree is like the king of balancing postures. The winds of change blow strong in the fall, but if you can learn to be steady like a tree and also sway with the wind, you will be resilient. What doesn’t bend, breaks.”
THE PAIN: Re-focusing on goals
THE POSE: Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
“It is both a grounding and energizing pose. Opening the base and stabilizing the core, we can bring fire into the belly here through Kriya and Pranayama. The gaze is straight ahead, helping us call into our lives that which we are seeking this fall. Adding a Kriya to this pose enhances the rising energy.”
THE PAIN: More hustle and bustle
THE POSE: Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottasana)
“The internal organs are compressed, which helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. During the transition to fall, we meet new people, take on new rhythms and new responsibilities, so it’s important to take a moment to be internal, bow our heads and get close to the earth. This pose offers all of that.”
—Dana Meltzer Zepeda