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On September 22nd is the Autumnal Equinox this year. The beautiful abundant light of summertime starts to give way to darkness. When day and night are the same length.
The full harvest moon illuminates our way as the herald of the change of seasons, Fall is a time of transition not only for nature but also for ourselves. Transition is a challenge for young and old alike as Fall’s impermanence reminds us of our own mortality and can remind us of things we have lost or changes that perhaps came on too suddenly.
Change can come mercilessly through sudden illness or by losing someone we love or in the form of relationships, jobs or habits that for whatever reason have been or need to be left behind. “Everything changes. Nothing remains without change.” and yet we humans constantly want to cling for some semblance of permanence.
Traditionally in Yoga we consider Fall a time to go within or journey inward and focus. In Patanjali’s sutra 2.54: Pratyaharah is when the senses withdraw themselves from the objects and imitate, as it were, the nature of the mind. At this time in our yoga practice we can learn to prepare for the sacred journey inward. Autumn is our time to practice Pratyahara; to gather wisdom, learn from our mistakes and let the ways in which we fell short become the mulch that will help us grow.
Here are some suggestions for some ways to practice turning inward:
1. Turn off Facebook / E-mail / Twitter / Phones / and any other electronic around, then sit for a few minutes, in silence. If you are really brave, make it an hour, or at least become conscious of how much of the day goes in inefficient leakages on these.
2. Stop mindlessly reading news. There is not much you can do about it and it clutters your mind as well as pulls your senses outwards.
3. Every hour or so, get up from your computer and take a walk
4. At night instead of watching television sit in your living room and pay attention to your breathing and how your body is feeling
5. Walk in nature as often as possible, receive what you see with no labels
6. Clear the clutter around you. Starting with one room per weekend is a good suggestion. A more sparse environment can help with internal focu
7. When you breath out, at the end of the exhale, breath out a bit more. That is the way to eliminate toxicity, both mind and matter ones.
8.While having a meal ensure you taste every little bite, every piece of food. Do you even like what you are eating?
9. While practicing yoga-asanas (poses), see if you can internally connect with every single cell of your body, feel the soles of your feet, the skin on your back, the depth of jaw relaxation, the ends of your hair
10 .Identify people and situations in your life that drain your energy either due to extra drama, or because of lack of clear boundaries. Deal with it so you stop leaking energy.
Practice Pranayama, which is the bridge into Pratyahara…
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