Today is the first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox. Day and night, darkness and light are in balance, and after today we move towards longer nights.
People have always looked to the sky; celebrated nature’s cycles, observed the sacred dance of Sun and Moon, understood how changes the nature affect our own lives as well. We are, after all, only a part of the whole, microcosm in macrocosm. This understanding that we are nothing more (or less), than a smaller representation of the Universe, comes from many ancient traditions, from Hindu and Buddhist, to Greek philosophy.
Autumn is the time when crops are being harvested, people and animals gather food (energy) for upcoming winter. Today, most of us don’t need to harvest or gather food, but we can see this change of season as an invitation to harvest the fruits of our labours, and prepare to slow down. This is the time when trees shed leaves and nature slowly starts to shed the old in preparation for the stillness (winter) before the new cycle, new beginning which comes with spring. For us, this can be the time to shed the leaves of the past, leave behind whatever doesn’t serve our growth, practice detachment. As the night gets longer, take time to look within, to introspect. Look into the dark corners of yourself so you can, when ready, bring to light and integrate whatever was hiding there.
During the next month we can slowly start to make changes to our daily routines. Here are a few suggestions:
Do a one day detox to cleanse and prepare your digestive system. Eat less raw and more steamed or cooked. As the days get colder and we enter Vata and later Kapha season, it is good to add more spice to our food to help build up digestive fire. Soups and stews with seasonal vegetables are great, add kurkuma, ginger, chilli into your food.
Use a dry brush before shower to help your skin shed the old, dry layers. During summer I use coconut oil to feed my skin, but when colder days come I prefer coco or shea butter.
Meditate daily. Find a time in the day when you can take five to ten minutes of quiet time to spend in meditation and contemplation.
Take long walks in the woods to re-connect. Summer is all about beach, sun and water, as we move into fall season, connecting to the earth will help us make a smooth transition.
Avoid vigorous asana practice in the evening. Do a more restorative sequence every other day to ground and calm your nervous system.