The Autumn Equinox occurs this year on September 22nd, and it marks the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere from an astrological standpoint. The term equinox is derived from the latin words “aequus” and “nox” which mean equal and night. On the equinox, day and night are closest to equal in length. This day has been observed for centuries and has many interpretations historically and geographically. Most of the world, from pagan European cultures to modern Chinese society view the equinox as a time for harvest. It takes place just past the heat of the summer when it is time to reap what has been sown, and to prepare for the winter. From festivals, to parades, to gatherings with friends and loved ones, the start of fall is a symbol of harvest that we welcome with gratitude worldwide.
Here are four ways that yogis can observe the autumn equinox:
- Yoga postures. By nature, an equinox is a time for balance. Practice balance in your asana practice through postures such as tree pose, eagle pose, dancer pose, warrior three, airplane pose, handstand, headstand, and forearm stand. These challenging poses are great ways to focus on, play with, and improve your physical balance. It is also a good idea to balance out your practice in general. If you usually practice hot power vinyasa, add some yin or restorative yoga into your routine. Inherently balanced classes such as Vin to Yin are great to visit this week as well.
- Look within. Symbolically, this day is about harvest. What is your personal harvest this year? What symbolic seeds can you finally reap? Allow yourself to pick just one accomplishment that you can acknowledge. Meditate on it with gratitude.
Balance can be accessed internally by acknowledging your shadow side. What are the parts of your personality that you don’t willingly put forward? For example, if you are someone who is constantly in control of your day to day life, try to embody your more vulnerable side. Let yourself be open to something that makes you feel a little out of your element.
Clear space. Just as farmers would clear a harvested field, do so in your heart. What is no longer serving you? It could be something as simple as a petty argument that you cannot let go of, or as big and serious as heartbreak or loss. You know deep down if an emotion has expired, or is no longer serving a purpose in your spirit and your body. Let it go today.
- Set an intention. In this time of harvest, what spiritual seeds would you like to sow for the next season? What seeds from last year have grown and which have not? For example, what would be possible of you could nurture more seeds of kindness or charity in the next few months?
- Find a mantra. Words and affirmations are powerful. Finding a solid mantra that you connect with can be like a lifeline, keeping you on track with your intention through unexpected changes and challenges. Here are some great mantras for harvest and balance:
- Har Har Waheguru
- I am harmonious and balanced.
- I am grateful for my accomplishments.
- I am grateful for what is.
- I honor myself and my accomplishments.
- I am thankful.