Autumn Equinox 20-23 September in the Northern Hemisphere 20-23 March in the Southern Hemisphere
The Autumn Equinox is the perfect time to explore balance in your Yoga practice. And Yoga is the perfect way to bring balance to body and mind.
At the Autumn Equinox night and day are balanced, before we tip in to the darkest phase of the year. The dark will continue to expand until the Sun is reborn at the Winter Solstice in December when the light phase of the year begins anew. “Equinox” is derived from the Latin and means “equal night”. At both equinoxes the Earth is perfectly balanced, with its North and South Poles neither tilted towards nor away from the Sun, making day and night equal all over the world. At the Autumn Equinox there is a shift of emphasis from: Sun to Moon, light to dark, action to contemplation, growth to dormancy, fruitfulness to composting, building up to letting go, and from movement to stillness. Now is a good time to pause after the frenetic activity of the growing season and consider how best to recuperate, regenerate, and replenish your energy this autumn.
In autumn there is poignancy in the misty, mellow fruitfulness of the season, combined with a wistful longing that summer might never end. However, once we let go of summer and accept the arrival of autumn, it is a time rich with possibilities.
The Autumn Art of Letting Go...
There is wisdom to be found in the fading beauty of autumn. In spring the newly formed leaf contains within itself the blueprint that prompts it to fall from the tree in autumn. The tree knows that to survive the dark, cold winter months it must conserve energy. Over winter, the fallen leaves rot, forming compost that in turn nourishes the tree. And when spring comes around new buds unfurl into fresh, green leaves. By observing and responding to the changing seasons our awareness of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is heightened. When we combine this seasonal awareness with meditation we find ourselves more able to embrace the life-death-rebirth cycle. We find peace in a world that is constantly changing.
We can imitate the wisdom of the tree by conserving energy over the coming autumn-winter months and letting go of unnecessary baggage. This process of letting go enables us to create a sense of physical and mental spaciousness in our lives. Letting go is about prioritising what’s important to us, and clearing a space, both physical and psychic, to nurture, and nourish the things that do matter to us. The tree in autumn can be the inspiration for our yoga practice during this season.
Tree Wisdom in Autumn
With the arrival of autumn spending time around trees is the perfect way to connect with the changes occurring in nature. When you are out and about mindfully observe a tree: the leaves changing colour; the textures and shapes of fallen leaves; the sound of leaves underfoot. Watch a leaf fall from a tree. Some people think it lucky to catch a falling leaf.
In our town centre is an ancient churchyard. It is an island surrounded by busy, noisy passing traffic, shops and shoppers. In the churchyard there is a row of tall sycamore trees, they seem so still, serene and peaceful in contrast to the relentless activity of the town around them. These sycamore trees have taught me to simply be in the midst of all the doing and to stay at the centre of the circle and let all things take their course. It was this that inspired me to write my Meditation Upon a Sycamore Tree at Autumn Equinox which is included in the Yoga Through the Year book.
Autumn Equinox Meditation Questions
At the Autumn Equinox day and night are equal. It also corresponds with the date the Sun enters the sign of Libra- the scales of balance.
How does it feel when my life is out of balance? What are the signs to look for?
How does it feel when my life is in balance? What's different?
In what ways does yoga help me to bring balance into my life? Which aspects of yoga have I found helpful for this?
Apart from yoga what do I find helpful to create balance in my life?
A full set of Autumn Equinox meditation questions can be found in the Yoga Through the Year book.
Yoga Through the Year Book
In the Autumn Equinox chapter of the book Yoga Through the Year you will also find:
An Autumn Equinox Yoga practice
The Placing Thoughts on a Leaf Visualisation
Sending Loving Kindness to the Earth Meditation
Ideas for Trees and Creativity in Autumn
Yoga philosophy and inspiration for the season...and more...
The Yoga Through the Year Book is available online, or order locally from your favourite bookshop, or from my publishers Llewellyn Worldwide To get updates on the book, blog post notifications, and Seasonal Yoga news please subscribe to our mailing list.