Summer has officially come to an end with the Autumn Equinox marking the first day of the Fall season. Each season the shift from Summer to Fall seems to creep up on me. One day it’s sunshine and shorts and the next day its dark and breezy. Last night I threw on an extra blanket and turned off the fan. Even though it’ll take me a moment to step into my fall wardrobe, it’s my favorite season of the year. It’s been an adventurous and exciting summer, and unless you plan to chase the sunshine and fly south …
It’s time to align with Autumn
Although we live in a day and age where we can override the effect of this seasonal shift by simply turning on the lights and putting on our Ugg boots and coats; our primal bodies are deeply connected to the path of the Sun. Many of the greatest ancient temples around the world, like Machu Picchu and Stonehenge were created as observatories to track the patterns of the Sun and served as clocks and calendars.
The seasonal shifts are a time of celebration at these temples where people gather together to pay tribute to the sun and its various forms of light. I had the honor to participate in the pagan Fall Equinox ritual at Stonehenge a couple years ago and was humbled by the celebration and intention of aligning with the season.
Nature is our greatest teacher
With a name that means “seasons” how could I not be curious about seasonal shifts. Nature is our greatest teacher. When we slow down to observe the subtle shifts that are in motion around us, we truly learn the art of living. Yoga as well as other spiritual practices teach us to slow down and observe our surroundings, to embody the qualities and characteristics of nature.
Nature is designed to adapt to the changing seasons in order to thrive, so it would seem appropriate that if we mimic nature then we too will survive and thrive during that season. Eating foods in season, moving around stagnant energy, and nourishing the mind in a way that aligns with autumn allows us to naturally flow forward with least resistance.
Ancient calendars honored the wheel of the year which was divided into light and and dark and furthermore into the 4 seasons: Spring, Summer (light half), Autumn, Winter (dark half). Summer and Winter are the extremes in this wheel while Spring and Autumn are the transition seasons that help prepare us for the extreme.
Trying to keep pace with the summer months in Autumn will only cause stress and fatigue. It’s like a leaf desperately trying to hold on to the tree when its time to change colors, let go and fall off. Naturally there will be a little resistance to aligning with Autumn… it requires change, and change is rarely comfortable but always necessary.
In the long run when we are aligned with nature, our happiness unfolds effortlessly.
5 Simple ways to Align with Autumn
1. Observe silence. One way to “tune in” and “align” with nature is by observing silence to heighten your intuition. Start with a daily 5-minute meditation.
2. Balance darkness with light. Rather than escaping the darkness, play with it. Explore it and embrace it, without fear or judgement. Naturally as night falls earlier in the evening, sit with the darkness vs. turning on the light or television. Notice as the mind shifts inwards and settles into silence.
3. Let go. Just as the leaves begin to change colors in preparation to let go, we too shift our perspective on lingering thoughts and emotions in preparation to let go. Acknowledge and reflect on your year and then let go of that which no longer serves you. You can also do a short writing exercise with these questions:
4. Eat seasonal foods. The pomegranates and persimmons (two of my favorites) are almost ripe and ready to be consumed. These fruits along with other fall vegetables give us the energy and nutrients we need to thrive in this season. Opt to eat local and in season.
5. Ground down. Movement is important in every season, but as the days get shorter we may not have the same energy and excitement to move around as we did in the Summer months. Try a home yoga practice to keep the blood flowing – heart opening backbends and grounding warrior poses are great ones to practice for the fall. Want more information on how to align with autumn; download this simple autumn-shift-guide .
What do you do to shift into the new season? Share your tips in the comments below…
Ritu Riyat is an Applied Yoga and Meditation coach and Diversity and Inclusion leader in Silicon Valley. She creates simple habits to support sustainable health through food, movement, and meditation.