On September 22nd, 2012, the sun will cross the celestial equator, meaning that the length of day and night is as equal as it’s going to get during the year (Vancouver daytime will be 7 AM-7 PM). Transitioning from the summer can be bittersweet as we look over our shoulders at the departing days of sunny adventure. And yet the darkness of fall offers a new opportunity to move inwards, reflect, and re-connect to the deeper and steadier currents in our lives.
Yoga Balance: Summer and Winter
This seasonal balance is echoed in our yoga. In our practice, we are constantly moving between consciousness of our outer form (alignment) and the internal sensations of our inner body and breath. Consciousness is an expression of the archetypal masculine energy of the sun; it shines a light onto our experience and invites us to cultivate fire, luminosity, and strength. Focusing on our internal world engenders the archetypal feminine of the moon and the winter’s darkness; connecting with our inner body’s sensations invites us to soften, receive, and feel.
Empower your yoga experience by making your practice what you need.
On the days that we feel isolated, tired, or depressed, focusing on the strength and alignment of our outer body will boost our energy, burn out lethargy, and create a sense of empowerment. Practice power, flow, and core styles to ramp up your inner sunshine. Engaging in the social setting of a group class will encourage an invigorating and extroverted practice; connect to your fellow practitioners before and after class to get your focus out into the world.
When we are over-hyped, aggressive, or distracted, then we need the cooler energy of introspection to nourish our practice. Focus on the inner experience of your body and your breath to pacify the nervous system, smooth out anxiety, and calm the mind. Choose styles like yin, hatha, mediation, and restorative in order to reconnect to your inner world and come back home.
The autumnal equinox is also a potent opportunity to reassess the larger balancing act of our lives.
Some food for thought:
- Do I need more alone time?
- Am I making enough opportunities for play?
- Am I finding a balance in my relationship of give and take?
- Are there any dark corners I’m avoiding?
- What part of my life need more nourishment and passion?
- How can I refill my own cup?
As with all balancing acts, there is no one point of fixation. Instead, balancing means moving continually in the dance between the extremes. Relinquishing the need to find “the” exact tipping point frees us from the ossification of artificial perfection.
Invite the dance of light and darkness to your practice and your life. Allow the balance to shift from day to day, moment to moment.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein