Fall is officially upon us.A tree with fall colors. The trees have turned brilliant burnt shades of orange, yellow and red, decorating the ground like confetti. The days are getting shorter, and the weather cooler. Bring on the sweaters, soup, red wine and hot baths!

Often the body takes a minute to catch up with what our environment has to offer us. A balanced yoga practice can help our bodies transition through the seasons with ease and grace. Incorporating the following key elements into our practice will help ease the transition along: heat, energize, detox and restore.

Heat. As our climate cools off, our joints often stiffen due to lack of circulation to the extremities. Pain receptors in our bodies are often more sensitive in cold weather. Our job is to keep the body warm and circulation flowing from the inside out. Sun salutations A & B and standing postures such as Warrior 2 and Utkatasana are excellent examples of heating postures. Even a gentle yoga practice will most certainly help with circulation, so on those cold mornings when you just want to stay in bed, your joints will thank you if you don’t!

Energize. Our natural inclination as we transition into darker days is to stay indoors and hibernate; to huddle in a shroud of blankets with tea and a good book. Although it is fine to indulge those tendencies from time to time, we do need to balance out with some uplifting, energizing postures to combat fatigue and sluggishness. The best way to do that? Backbending. Ustrasana, Dhanurasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, even Locust pose, are all brilliant ways to lift energy, counteract depression and open the heart.

Detox with inversions and twists. As we spend more time indoors, cold and flu viruses get transferred much quicker and easier. A steady inversion practice can help us boost the immune system and flush the body of accumulated toxins. Shoulderstand and/or headstand are optimal. Twisting is also a brilliant way to massage out the toxins and flush the organs with fresh, oxygenated blood.

Restore. Yin energy is associated with cold weather and dampness, it’s energy is feminine and soft in nature. It is important that we embrace the yin nature of autumn with restorative, longer-held postures such as Supta Baddakonasana, Legs up the Wall, Savasana. This allows the body to clear out and for the nervous system to completely relax, making room for all that the new season has to bring.

As we balance out our bodies, we balance out our minds. Embrace this transition. Go play in the puddles and roll in the leaves…

Then meet me back on your mat.

- Jacci Collins is a yoga instructor, dancer and blogger living in Vancouver, BC. A lifelong student of yoga, she strives to find balance in the body and mind with humor and grace. Join her at www.jaccicollinsyoga.com.