Fall is the season of change. Leaves turn from green to gold, red, and orange. This is the time of year a crisp, cool breeze replaces the warm summer heat. Fall is a time to reflect on what has been and to welcome in a period of rest. It’s a time to brace for the coming winter solstice and to anticipate the eventual renewal of spring.
The best yoga routine for fall will reflect the season. It will help you cleanse your body of any toxins, stress, or stiffness that has built up. They will give you a chance to pause and reflect, and they will help you build mental strength and stamina.
Yoga poses for the autumn equinox will get you ready for the long winter months, too. They will give your practice the shift it needs to stay in line with the seasons.
Why Align Our Practice With the Season?
Staying in tune with the rhythms of the earth can help us become more mindful of all the gifts the earth provides us. It helps us recognize similarities between our practice and the world beyond our yoga mat. Practising yoga postures for autumn, winter, spring, and summer reminds us to be grateful. Each season brings something different and has something unique to offer us.
In fall, it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness that precedes holidays, family gatherings, and year-end housekeeping. Bringing a bit more of the season into our yoga practice slows us down and helps us stay present to the moment.
It also provides a strong framework to help us mix up our practice regularly. As a season changes, our practice changes, getting us into our own quarterly rhythm of renewal on the mat.
Ten Yoga Poses for Autumn
These ten poses are meant to guide you through a new autumn practice. Give them a try and get connected to the transitional, reflective, and strengthening essence of fall.
Fall is a season when the earth shifts from summer to winter. To reflect these changes in our practice, we’re going to look at ways we can shift our posture. These poses will transition our bodies into positions we don’t normally hold in our day-to-day.
1. Bow Pose
Bow Pose or Dhanurasana is a movement that requires you to hold an atypical form. These days, we spend a lot of our time sitting, hunched over, often with our chest, neck and shoulders concave.
Dhanurasana helps us transition into the reverse. By holding onto our ankles, we open up our chest and shoulders while strengthening our back and abdomen.
To perform Bow Pose:
- Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides
- Bend your knees and grab your ankles
- Lift your head, upper back, and legs to create a stretch in the front of your body
2. Camel Pose
Camel Pose or Ustrasana is similar in form to Bow Pose. But instead of being performed from a prostrate position, Camel Pose is done from a kneeling position.
It’s another pose that transitions us from our typical, crunched position to one that opens our front and stimulates our core. Adding Camel Pose into your daily practice can remind you to remain open to new experiences and embrace the changes that autumn brings.
To perform Camel Pose:
- Kneel with your legs at a 90-degree angle
- Lean back until your arms can rest on your ankles
3. Cat and Cow Pose
This combination of poses is dynamic and great for the spine. As you kneel on all fours and slowly switch between the two, imagine you’re a leaf in the breeze. Just as the leaf sways side to side with each breath of wind, your spine arches and lowers. Cat and Cow are two great yoga poses for fall equinox, as they reflect the movement and change of the season.
To perform Cat and Cow Pose:
- Kneel on all fours with your back in a straight, neutral position
- Slowly arch your back upwards, letting your head and neck relax down (Cat Pose)
- Transition back to neutral and then curve your spine downward (Cow Pose)
4. The Work in-Between
During yoga, transitions are just as important as poses. Moving through a vinyasa or completing sun salutations requires a certain flow.
This fall, think of your transitions as another pose in your practice. Give them attention and determine which transitions you find the most awkward. Practice the timing of your breaths and work to smooth each transition.
To prepare our minds and bodies for winter, we need to incorporate strengthening poses into our yoga practice. Here are three poses that range from beginner to advanced.
5. Tree Pose
Tree Pose, or Vriksasana, is one of the best yoga poses for balance and stability. Trees take the spotlight in fall, as they burst into different colours and eventually shed their leaves. Their changes mark the end of summer and the transition into winter.
If you’re new to this pose, start small. Keep your lifted foot at your ankle and focus on engaging your core. As you progress, you will be able to place your lifted foot against your thigh.
While you practice and master Vriksasana, consider the changes you’ve gone through in recent months. How have they prepared you for what is coming next?
To perform Tree Pose:
- From standing, place your left or right foot against the side of your opposite ankle
- Bring your hands to a joined position in front of your chest or lift them to the sky
6. Warrior Pose
The Warrior Pose, or Virabhadrasana, has several variations that provide a range of difficulty. They are ideal poses for anyone who wants to add strength-training into their yoga session.
Rooted in standing lunges, Warrior Pose 1, 2 and 3 give us a firm foundation by building strength in our lower body. These poses connect us to the earth and improve our breathing. They remind us that stamina and strength will be required to get us through the toughest months of the year.
To perform Warrior 1:
- Step back into a deep lunge with your back toes turned comfortably to the side
- Lift your arms to the sky and allow your gaze to follow
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try the L-Pose. This handstand variation is great for strengthening the core, back, and upper body. The unique position will also allow blood to flow to your brain, bringing clarity of thought and focus. Just remember to be careful as you exit this pose!
To perform the L-Pose:
- Kneeling up close to a wall, walk your legs up the wall
- At the same time, walk your hands away from the wall until your body reaches a 90-degree angle
- Keep your feet flat against the wall and your hands beneath your shoulders
Some of the best yoga poses for autumn are ones that allow us to reflect and to slow down our thoughts. These three poses will help you relax and unwind after a strong practice.
8. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is one of the most beloved yoga poses for stress relief. Child’s pose opens up the hips and shoulders. It allows gravity to do the work of making our bodies more limber.
While in Child’s Pose, we can slow our breathing and calm our mind. Whether you incorporate it at the beginning, end, or throughout your practice, use Child’s Pose to pause and reflect. Reflect on the practice you just had or on why you’ve chosen to do yoga today.
To perform Child’s Pose:
- From a kneeling position on all fours, keep your toes together and widen your knees
- Lower your body until it is resting between your knees
- Keep your arms extended above your head, palms facing down, or place them by your sides
9. Forward Fold
Uttanasana is a solid yoga pose for flexibility. The pose lengthens and strengthens the backs of the legs while stretching the lower back and providing a moment to pause. Breathing is an important part of practising a Forward Fold pose and can help you deepen your stretch.
But don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to fully fold when you try this pose. Just keep practising.
To perform a Forward Fold:
- From standing, dive forward with a flat back into the fold
- Allow your spine to gently curve as your upper body gets closer to your legs
- Wrap your arms around your legs and keep your core engaged
10. Corpse Pose
No yoga practice is truly complete without Corpse Pose or Shavasana. Typically performed at the end of a session, Shavasana allows us to clear our heads. As we hold the pose, we can focus on our breathing and reflect on the practice we just completed.
To perform Corpse Pose:
- Lie on your back with your feet separated and your hands by your sides
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath as you hold the pose
Let it All Go
Next time you hit the mat, try these ten yoga poses that are perfect for preparing your body and mind for the Autumn Equinox. Align yourself with the changes of the season and breathe new life into your yoga practice.
Want to learn more yoga moves? Check out our article on balance poses.