If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you have likely begun observing signs of fall: changes in light as the sun begins to set earlier, cooler temperatures especially in the early morning and evening, and the quintessential falling of leaves are typical indicators Autumn has arrived. A key tenant of Ayurveda is that we are directly affected by these external changes in the environment: what the earth experiences each season is a mirror for what is occurring on a subtle level within ourselves.
Awareness of what is happening outside of ourselves can therefore open a door to consciously participate with what is happening within. One of our greatest opportunities in fall is to work with the energy of letting go.
The shedding of trees and shrubs is a direct example from nature of the energy of release and cleansing that the fall offers us. During this time of transition, many plants are preparing for winter and to enter a more dormant phase where the life force is more internalized. In order to make space to enter winter, the plants have to let go; it is a necessary step in their growth cycle.
Ayurveda teaches that our bodies cycle with nature. Most specifically our digestion and its capacity changes as the seasons do. For example, with summer’s hot temperatures and abundance of vine ripened edibles, our digestive fire weakens a bit. In winter the opposite is true: when the environment is colder and hearty foods are more available, the digestive fire strengthens to retain heat and to support breaking down a richer diet. Fall is the time of transition between these two digestive phases. It is not uncommon for individuals following an Ayurvedic lifestyle to participate in a digestive cleanse during this season to support this transition.But you don’t need to do a digestive cleanse to align with the art of letting go that fall demonstrates. Those of you practicing yoga asana could consider including more twists and forward folds into your practice during this season, both of which support the body’s detoxification process. Another idea is to visit a steam room or participate in aerobic exercise to activate sweating, another detox pathway in the body.
Journaling is another great place to become more aware of opportunities to let go. Consider the idea that your inner reality is a mirror for the cycles of nature:
How can you relate what you are presently experiencing in your body, mind and spirit with that is happening in the environment around you?
Do you notice an opportunity for release anywhere in yourself?
How can you make space (time, place) to support this seasonally inspired opportunity to let go?
Enjoy your practice this fall season.
jillian bobowicz, chattra yogini
Jillian is a yogini based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She leads weekly public yoga classes for adults and specializes in yoga for kids and families. Her studies have led her to complete trainings at YogaWorks, Karma Kids and Yoga Playgrounds. Jillian feels blessed to practice and teach yoga and is particularly passionate about empowering her students with tools to navigate the modern world with ease.