Slow Down and Embrace Autumn
This year the Autumn Equinox is on Wednesday 22 September. Marking the mid-point between the Summer Solstice when the days are longest and the Winter Solstice when the nights are longest, both day and night are equal in length.
It’s a point of balance between light and dark, fire and water and Yin and Yang. It’s the transition point in the year when the focus changes from outward achievement to inner contemplation and reflection. It’s the start of our transition from:
- Sun to moon
- Light to dark
- Yang to Yin
- Action to contemplation
- Growth to dormancy
- Building up to letting go
- Movement to stillness
The Autumn Equinox is still a couple of weeks off, but the energy all around us is already starting to shift, the nights are drawing in and there’s a nip in the air. Can you feel your own energy shifting too? Do you feel like you want to start retreating into yourself and find quiet and cosiness?
In today’s fast paced society, we’re often expected to carry on regardless, 100mph, no let up, but by aligning our own energy with that of the seasons and going with rather than against our natural cycle we can promote our wellbeing and prevent ill health and burnout.
During Spring and Summer, the energy around us was very masculine, Yang and outward focused but at the Autumn Equinox that starts to change and there’s a shift to a more Yin, feminine energy that’s inward focused, promoting contemplation, reflection and renewal.
In Ayurvedic terms, Vata energy, which is associated with the wind, runs high during Autumn. Whilst our bodies may be ready to slow down, our minds and spirits are clinging on to the powerful energy of summer and we can start to feel very out of balance and struggle to make the transition from one season to the next.
As the energy in the natural world shifts, we need to shift too, adapting our routines to accommodate our changing needs.
It’s amazing what a difference a small change in routine can have on how we feel. At times of change – in the Earth’s cycle, our monthly cycles or within our lives – it can be really helpful to connect with nature, so make time in your day for a walk, inviting yourself to slow down and align yourself with the energy of Autumn and what’s going on all around you.
Autumn is the time to celebrate the harvest and enjoy the fruits of our labours, reflecting on what we’ve personally harvested this year, giving thanks for everything and everyone who have helped us and planting seeds of intention for the months ahead. Reflective practices like this can be helpful in promoting a sense of completeness or wholeness within ourselves, an antidote to the daily rush from task to task to complete our to-do lists.
Autumn is the time when we naturally take stock, clean out and begin to reap the benefits of our Spring and Summer endeavours. It’s the time when we should complete unfinished business, remove life’s debris and draw a line under outstanding issues that may affect our wellbeing as we prepare for rest and retreat into Winter.
Take a moment now to consider what you need to do to make it through to Spring. How do you intend to arrive there relaxed and reinvigorated and ready for new beginnings?
I love the more quiet, feminine Yoga practices and the Yin energy of Autumn. It’s a time that invites us back home to ourselves to reflect and reconnect with our roots, just like the trees do at this time as they lose their leaves and become dormant.
Practices that help improve circulation, work into the belly and colon and balance and ground us are great for Autumn.
Here are a few suggestions of things to do during Autumn:
- Try some balancing poses such as Boat, Side Plank, Tree, Half Moon or Balancing Stick.
- Get the circulation going and remove toxins with a Mizan abdominal massage.
- Drink hot water and lemon and turmeric to boost your immunity and eat warm nourishing foods.
- Try some grounding exercises including going barefoot or practicing Savasana with your feet against a wall
- Practice mindfulness daily, just slow down and focus on your breath and surroundings or try mindful eating or mindful walking.
- Review your week ahead and take one or two things off your calendar.
- Rest daily, practicing Savasana for a full 20 minutes if you can.
- Include a little bit of pleasure into every day, perhaps a candlelit bath or your favourite raw chocolate.