Mūla (मूल) - Root
“Mula मूल is a Sanskrit term meaning “root,” “base” or “foundation." In yoga, mula is the first of the bandhas (energy locks) that help yogis to manage the energy within their bodies when practicing yoga. It's associated with the muladhara (root) chakra.”
With this new month we welcome you to Autumn in the northern hemisphere. October is not only the season of release and reflection, for us it also is anniversary month of our Yoga studio, that we opened just one year ago in Berlin-Schöneberg. The focus of the month of October is Mula, root or foundation. Over one year ago, when we first had the vision to create the Shala, it was our wish to built a physical space, that feels home to our teaching team, practicing yogis and community. And today, one year late, we can say that despite a long time of closure due to the lockdown, we feel like we have arrived in our Shala. Seeing many of our students returning and continuing to come back to practice, makes us truly grateful.
Beyond a physical space, mula is connected to feelings of stability, calmness and safety.
When thinking of finding a base or foundation in yoga, ayurvedic medicine comes to mind. In Ayurvedic medicine there are three different doshas, Kapha , Pitta and Vata. Vata being the dosha of autumn, which is fitting as autumn is dry, light, windy, with a lot of change. In ayurvedic medicine, we want to bring balance and calm down this vata energy by welcoming in the qualities of the other doshas. We try to find stability in our roots, find ways to ground our energy. Be in the present this autumn, take a moment to enjoy this steady change of the season, look at the trees and the colors of the autumn light.
Ways to feel stable and find your root in asana practice can be returning back to familiar movements that make you feel calm and grounded. There is always something comforting that can make us feel stable when we move in familiar ways.
Adapting your daily routine to include a regular practice, something to return to daily without too much pressure. Try dedicating even 5-10 mins everyday to yourself, maybe just 2-3 sun salutations but having that routine to come back to create a feeling of being at home with yourself.
Breathwork / Pranayama
One of my favorite most accessible breathwork exercises is three part breath (Dirga Pranayama). I love how this can be done anywhere, this is the most calming way to do it. But feel free to try this on a chair or standing up. Maybe even when you are waiting for a train or at the supermarket to bring this feeling of calm in to the body and mind.
1. Lie down with the soles of feet down, knees facing up. You can close your eyes and
place one hand on your belly , one hand on your chest.
2. Begin to deepen your inhale and exhale through the nose.
3. On each inhale, fill the belly up with your breath. Expand the belly with air like a balloon.
4. On each exhale, expel all the air out from the belly through your nose. Draw your navel back towards your spine to make sure that the belly is empty of air.
5. Repeat this deep belly breathing for about five breaths. This is part one.
6. On the next inhale, fill the belly up with air. Then when the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart.
7. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and then from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
8. Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five breaths. This is part two.
9. On the next inhale, fill the belly and rib cage up with air. Then sip in just a little more air and let it fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, causing the area around the heart, expand and rise.
10. On the exhale, let the breath go first from the upper chest, allowing the heart center to sink back down, then from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together. Finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
11. Continue at your own pace, eventually coming to let the three parts of the breath happen smoothly without pausing.
12. Continue for about 10 breaths.
-Welcome in foods of the autumn season, like potatoes, cabbage, pumpkins, squashes, mushrooms, apples and many more.
-Enjoy eating warmer foods.
-Take a look at your current routine, what can now be adapted to winter? Maybe you find yourself needing more sleep. Maybe you now prefer an evening run or yoga in the afternoon instead of early in the morning.
-Be kind to yourself and remember change can take some energy from you. Slow down to enter the new season with ease to remain grounded.