I miss summer. My heating is currently broken and I don’t like being cold. And I don’t like wearing socks, let alone layers of clothing.
I have been reading a bit about autumn and change these past few days – you can’t go too wrong with a bit of Keats’ ‘To Autumn’. In it, he embraces autumn’s eloquent music suggesting it is as beautiful as the expectation of spring; perhaps there’s a deep contentment to be found here instead of lamenting the passing of summer.
I find his point of view interesting because I don’t really look forward to autumn/winter however this year I have been drawn to the beautiful colours and vibrant sunrises and I am enjoying watching nature change. Perhaps this is a consequence of our new Covid way-of-life? Perhaps I’m just getting older, wiser…?
When I take a look at my life, change has fuelled my personality and I will (not always wisely) initiate it as a way creating sparks, as in the words of Biffy Clyro “My head’s a f***ing carnival” – bored easy, like a new puppy, I need entertaining. What do I do to balance this? I practice yoga, pranayama, and meditation because it is within routine, consistency and discipline that I come home to myself and stop bouncing around.
Practicing yoga – I can play with the routines, I can change it up to suit my moods and my body, but ultimately it is the practice of stepping on to the mat, within the familiarity and safety of the poses, always always returning to the breath : THIS keeps me sane and WHOLE.
With it, I can embrace whatever life throws in my direction.
Life is busy and there’s always something that needs to be done. Someone always needs something from you. When was the last time you said no to an invite or took yourself off for a little ‘me’ time? Do you remember a time when you did? And how good you felt after?
This is what we find when we step onto our mats. Our yoga practice gives us this ‘after glow’ and we then take that away so that it fuels our existences and that of those around us.
In TCM, the element of autumn is Metal. Metal comes from the Earth, a place that doesn’t enjoy extremes, but nonetheless produces something which is changeable, malleable, strong and yet flexible – think of your average can of baked beans: we open the can, rinse it clean and send it off for recycling where it can easily be transformed back into a can. Can we be a little more ‘metal’ like…?
Just as we watch the trees changing colour and shedding their leaves during autumn, we too can embrace change by taking a few minutes to focus on our breathing. Try this now:
Viloma breath (3-part exhale)
- Sit comfortably either on the floor or a chair, ensuring your back is upright and your head is not resting against anything.
- With closed eyes, begin to focus upon your breath, slowing it down and encouraging it to lengthen naturally.
- Take a deep, yet easy inhalation and if it feels ok, hold the breath for a few seconds until you want to exhale.
- Divide your exhalation into 3 equal parts, pausing for 1-2 seconds in-between each part, like this: exhale one third, pause, exhale second third, pause, exhale final third and naturally pause before the following inhalation is ready to take place.
- Practice for 1-2 mins and then sit for a further 1 minute noticing whatever there is to notice. Has anything changed?
And if you need a little consistency to bring you back to your centre, here’s a simple Sun Salutation flow that you can learn, watch on repeat and join in with at your leisure: Sun Salutation
I continue to aspire to these ideals of Lao Tzu:
“For all things there is a time for going ahead, and a time for following behind,
A time for slow breathing, and a time for fast breathing,
A time to grow in strength and a time for decay,
A time to be up and a time to be down.
Therefore the sage avoids all extremes, excesses, and extravagances.”
Hmmm… please take time to remember that this is all just a practice. We keep showing up, we keep practicing, growing, evolving… change can be good.
Much love x