In early autumn, the birds return to south migration. squirrels are gathering and stockpiling food, and we are piling on more layers as the mornings and nights drop in temperature.
This is a time to draw inward, and feel the nudges of our emotional and physical needs, cuing us to slow down, stay grounded and preserve our energy.
Living in connection to the seasons can teach us the highest form of listening to our bodies, because primarily our systems already know what they need, it's just a matter of tapping in, and noticing. Each turn around the wheel is a stepping stone. Now is the time to draw awareness back inside. To our heart, our magical core, and process the wisdom of the season from this loving place.
This post will share the seasonal symbolism, correspondences, and important dates, to assist you in finding balance with the natural world around you.
The equinoxes and solstices are important seasonal markers throughout the year. The autumn equinox is the official kick off for the season, and marks the halfway point between the summer and winter solstices.
This is the beginning of the dark half of the year, when nature prepares to go into its dormant state.
On the day of the equinox we have equal parts daylight and darkness. The amount of daylight will be slowly decreasing from this point forward until the winter solstice. The shift towards more darkness encourages us to slow down, do less, and turn inward.
On the night of the equinox say goodbye to situations, anything that has run its course, just like summer. We appreciate the beauty of the sunset, we can find beauty in what else we choose to release. This is a transformative time, when one thing ends and another begins.
Understanding the need for darkness, is important to finding peace with the rhythm of nature and within you.
This is an important time for gratitude. Celebrate the harvest season with loved ones, thanking mother earth for her abundance, Reflect on your personal harvest and all that you have. Honor the amount of efforts you put into your life over the year thus far and celebrate your outer achievements.
Let’s balance our inner night and day. Let's use our darkness to become the most magical light. -Roxana Jones
The root energy is strong this time of year as sap is moving downwards in plants and trees.
This is a time to draw our into our physical body and ground into the earth element.
Physical grounding is all about finding a solid connection with the earth through bringing awareness into your body. Stop and take time to notice how your feet and hands feel when they make contact with the floor. Feel into the downward pull of gravity and the support of where you stand or sit.
Find more grounding yoga support in this post: 5 Yoga Poses for Anxiety
In Ayurveda, beginning in early autumn and lasting through most of winter, is Vata season.
Vata energy is swift, active, mobile and light; picture a leaf blowing around in the wind. To balance this within our bodies, we want to incorporate more of the opposite qualities. This would look like meals consisting of warming, heavy, and damp foods like butternut squash soup, baked sweet potatoes, stewed apples and spices like cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. Nature makes it pretty obvious what we should be eating, when you really think about it, all you have to do is look to what is currently in season
On the Mat:
Our practice this time of year serves to calm, center, ground, and explore balance. We begin every class by centering and finding this neutral balanced state. Noticing tension, posture, energy, thoughts, turning into our breath. This pause acts as a transition from our everyday life and prepares us for our practice.
It is normal to move in and out of balanced states throughout our practice. Pushing and pulling, extending and drawing back. At the beginning and end of every vinyasa, Tadasana AKA mountain pose, acts as a stabilizing, neutral, re-centering. Similarly, Down-dog, child's pose, and crocodile pose all offer neutral, introspective pauses. The moments in these states of pause, is where we can best tap into the body's wisdom, bring our attention to our breath, and hear the small voice of calm within us.
Find more yoga inspiration for early autumn in this video:
Over the course of a day, we are usually breathing predominately through one nostril or the other. Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, re-balances our breath and both sides of our brain. The benefits can be felt immediately.
When using Pranayama, or breath work, to cultivate a balancing effect on your nervous system, Nadi Shodhana is a go-to.
Tutorial and more info found in this video:
Nature responds to the waning of daylight by slowly withdrawing into dormancy and we can do the same, by embracing more introversion and by practicing Pratyahara.
Pratyahara is the 5th limb of the 8 limb path of yoga. It means to withdraw our senses from all that distracts around us. This is an important key to the practice of yoga that can easily be overlooked. In our modern day world where we are surrounded by constant stimuli of screens, this is more important than ever to incorporate.
Take a moment right now to shut your eyes, and draw your internal gaze to your third eye. Draw your attention inward. Rather than sensing into your surroundings, draw your senses into your internal landscape. Can you feel into the darkest, quietest, most still place inside of you? Try to stay there awhile.
Element of Water:
Water can be embodied as the movement and flow that prevents stagnation and murkiness. This is the opposite energy of fire’s uprising, and cools us down while urging us to sink down into our emotional nature. When embodying the water element, you want to feel your emotions and let them flow through you rather than suppressing them which creates stagnation and blockages.
There are varying beliefs from different origins about which elements are associated with which season. In reality, all 5 elements are present at all times, regardless of the season. However, it's helpful to have one act as a governing element, for better seasonal integration and understanding. I identify most closely with the wheel of the year, from European earth based traditions, which associates the season of autumn with the element of water, so that’s the one I chose to share here.
Important Astrological Dates:
New moon in Libra, Sept 25 2022.
A new moon is the start of a new cycle and a time to set intentions. Libra seeks out imbalances and is focused on fixing them and creating tranquility. Use this new moon to work on bringing balance back into the areas of your life that have gotten disorderly. Whether this is making time for more meditation or feng shui your living space, use your energy wisely.
Full moon in Aries, Oct 9 2022.
Think back to six months ago, when we had an Aries new moon. What projects did you start, or intentions did you set? How are they going? Under the full moon, these things have reached the peak of their process. This is a time to take stock and harvest what has come to fruition, or let go and move on from anything that hasn't worked out.
Because of our cultural programming to always be “on”, we are sometimes unable to recognize our need to slow down and rest. You may feel as if doing so is lazy. This go-go go often stems from resistance, and/or fear of lack. It’s easy to forget that we are human beings, not human doings. Getting back in rhythm with nature, and giving yourself permission to just be is crucial to our ability to live in a balanced state
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