As the nights become darker and the weather begins to cool, our practice has to take on a new energy. In Yoga, we are working with resistance and as we move into Autumn, the change in season can seem like a valuable time to observe this. If we can notice the places where our energy may feel stuck and then do what we can to nurture and to trust our instincts, then it is possible to transform this inertia and instead enter into a place of more freedom and ease. There is always a balance. Regarding asana, in the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali articulates equanimity with ‘sthira-sukham asanam’, sthira to remain steady and rooted in our postures with sukha being to adapt, to be comfortable and free. Perhaps we require more grounding or heaviness in our practice right now, maybe it is necessary to create more heat in the body or perhaps we simply need to rest and observe sensations. If everything in this world is connected then our body acts as our mind acts as nature acts. We are part of nature and so we can learn a lot from watching, being present to opposing forces and giving space to what it is that we truly need.
Just as our emotions shift and fluctuate, here is the transition from one season to another. Maybe it is different from last time, perhaps it is the same. We change, we age, we grow. This is life at its most beautiful and the greatest challenge we face is to honour this truth rather than push it away. Equally, we must remind ourselves that Autumn, this period of time, is temporary. We will adapt, we will feed our needs and soon the summer will return once again.
In our asana practice, difficulty arises in cultivating awareness of when it is that we need to stop, rest and hibernate and when it is that our body just wants to take the easier route. Sometimes there is an urge, something from within that seems to come naturally and without any internal dialogue and other times, it appears that there is a voice, a chatter, a weighing up of the options. If we pause and really notice, it is likely that the direction to take will become clearer.
So as Autumn comes, observe, stay strong but let go. Embrace the magic of yoga at moonrise or during moonlight, of building agni, our internal fire, as the air outside begins to cool, and enjoy a warm and blanketed savasana. These are the things. These are the things that will keep us gracious and warm-hearted in a world that is forgetting what is important.