Celebrating the Autumn Equinox – Prepping for a new season
The equinox occurs twice a year, and it represents that time when the Earth’s equator passes the centre of the sun. It occurs in the Spring and Autumn, and the length of day is equal to the length of night. In Ontario, we will start to see the colour of the leaves change and eventually fall to the ground. The nights grow longer and the air grows cooler. It is the season of preparation for the winter time. Autumn can be thought of as a time for harvest. During these months, farmers are harvesting the last fruits and vegetables before the frost hits the ground.
In Ayurvedic philosophies, it is the “Vata” (air) season. Summer is the “pitta” (fire) season, where we cannot ignore the heat of the hot summer days and nights. As we move into Vata, we can observe the air getting cooler, the winds picking up and the presence of space is more obvious, as the trees are losing their leaves. Our bodies may start to crave more cooked food or warming foods. Ayurvedic medicine has suggestions to balance the presence of air, by eating certain foods and making some seasonal changes in our lifestyle.
Diet changes. Some diets recommend you eat according to the seasons. In summer, you may have wanted to eat lighter foods and the fruits that are grown locally. Since the presence of air is higher, you may now be drawn to eating foods that are more grounding. Eating foods that are harvesting in the fall are recommended: sweet potatoes, different types of squashes, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and collard greens. Root vegetables and red meat are also grounding foods.
Moisturize your body. The air gets cooler and drier, and the cold winds can also dry our skin. Our skin is the barrier to our environment, so we must protect it. By moisturizing your body, you help retain the moisture in your skin. Using natural lotions that have a natural oil base such as coconut oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil will help retain moisture. These oils are also rich in natural vitamins such as A, D and E.
Use aromatherapy to change your mood. Scents alter moods and during this colder season, you can use more warming scents such as: cinnamon, clove, frankincense, pine, sage or vanilla. Some of these scents are very earthy so they have grounding properties as well, making you feel more connected to the Earth.
From a mental/emotional perspective, you can start thinking about what you want to harvest? Take time to reflect on the past year to see what you have been working on, where has your focus been? What projects do you want to finish? For example, may be you have been working on organizing or re-decorating your home. What items can I donate to a local charity and what items needed to be discarded for you to create more space in your home? Consider what other tasks need to completed to finish the project before the season of winter comes.
Autumn is the time for preparation for winter. If we observe nature and the animals, many animals are gathering their food stores to survive through the winter. Winter is the time for resting, hibernating, so we are refreshed for the New year and Spring time. When we learn to observe the cycles of the seasons and work with them, syncing our energies up with the energies of Earth, we reach another level of awareness of our energy. We can then to honour the cycles of our body and the Earth.
Contributing Author: Kathy Ong
Kathy is the Studio Coordinator for Yoga Tree and works at the Richmond Hill location. She is a Reiki Master and Holistic Practitioner.