What Is the Fall Equinox & How Does It Affect My Yoga Practice?
what is the fall equinox and how does it affect my yoga practice?
Your body and mind change throughout the year, and by aligning your yoga practice with these changes, you can find more balance in your life. Some of the most significant transformation points in the year occur during the equinoxes. The fall equinox is the point of the year in the autumn when the sun shines on both the northern and southern hemispheres equally, highlighting a pivotal moment in the earth's rotation around the sun.
These changes in nature are an opportunity for us also to reflect on how we can come more into balance. We are part of nature, and by promoting harmony with nature, we can also promote harmony within. Yoga practice is all about finding balance. So, read below to discover more about the fall equinox, how the fall equinox affects your yoga practice, and some yoga poses, meditation techniques, and breathing practices you can use to honor this transformation in the fall equinox.
What Is the Fall Equinox?
There are four changes of season throughout the year – fall, winter, spring, and summer. The fall equinox generally occurs towards the end of September on the 22nd, but the exact date and time can vary each year slightly depending on your time zone.
The equinox signifies a specific point in the earth's rotation around the sun in which the earth is positioned at a midway point, which results in the sun illuminating the northern and southern hemispheres equally. During the rest of the year, the northern and southern hemispheres receive different amounts of the sun due to the earth's tilt. But during this unique astronomical event, the two hemispheres are equally exposed to the sun forming a more standard weather pattern across the entire globe. what is the fall equinox and how does it affect my yoga practice?
In some traditional cultures, the fall equinox represents the change in the harvest schedules. In the northern hemisphere, it is a time to thank the earth for the abundance of food needed to get through the winter months, often celebrated as the Pagan festival, Mabon. It is also often viewed as the start of the new season as we transition from summer into fall. In Ayurveda, this can also be the transition from pitta season into vata season.
The Connection Between the Fall Equinox and Yoga
The fall equinox isn't just a change in the weather or in the earth's positioning – it also represents a shift in the energy of your body and mind. As we transition from summer to fall, we begin to settle down from the heat and excitement of summer and turn inwards for winter. The fall is also a time of transition when the trees start to lose their leaves and the children return to school. By honoring these changes, we can stay more in harmony with these cycles of nature and with the natural rhythms of the soul. what is the fall equinox and how does it affect my yoga practice?
Yoga teaches us how to create these connections between the external and the internal. Ultimately, we are all united by the universal consciousness, but we have forgotten this connection and our true nature. By staying in tune with these changes in nature, you can also stay more in tune with the natural changes in your body and keep yourself in balance throughout the seasons. When we connect to the consciousness of the earth, we connect to this universal consciousness and ultimately to the consciousness within each of us.
How the Fall Equinox Affects My Yoga Practice
The fall equinox signifies a change in nature where we transition from the extroverted and hot summer into the cooling, airy fall season. The days are becoming shorter, and the light from the sun is less intense, meaning that we often have to do additional work to build that heat internally. The fall season is an opportunity to prepare your body and mind for winter and to prevent the common seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that occurs for many people this time of year.
Staying in tune with the energies of the fall equinox in your yoga practice can help you find balance in life. See below for some of the primary energetics and intentions to bring into your yoga practice and into your daily life during the fall equinox:
- Engage in inner reflection
- Turn inwards for deeper rest and relaxation
- Prioritize slowing down
- Invest in self-care
- Support detoxification with twists
- Harmonize the hemispheres of your body
- Fan your inner flames
The fall season is also a time to focus on balancing the vata dosha in Ayurveda through warming, grounding, and balancing the body. By focusing your heart and soul on these intentions, you can turn the fall equinox into a conscious ritual that marks the transition of the external and internal seasons of life.
5 Yoga Poses for the Fall Equinox
1. Child's Pose (Balasana)
This grounding and restorative yoga pose is perfect for balancing vata dosha and preparing to turn inwards for the transition into winter. This yoga pose also stimulates the flow of apana vayu, the downward moving wind in the body, to help flush your digestive system and ground from within. For some more profound stress relief in this pose, try rocking your forehead from side to side for a mini massage.
2. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
This reclined twisting pose is excellent for the fall equinox to support the detoxification of pitta dosha as we transition from summer to fall. This pose is essential for stimulating your digestive system and increasing your digestive fire as the outer sun begins to weaken. Make sure to use additional props to support your body in this yoga pose for a more restorative variation that helps increase deep relaxation and reflection.
3. Garland Pose (Malasana)
Another grounding yet detoxifying yoga pose, the garland pose is a wonderful addition to a fall equinox yoga routine. This yoga pose also has a deeper spiritual component by representing the garland of flowers used during ceremonies or a garland of beads used for chanting. Either way, the garland pose is the perfect way to bring some ceremonial depth into your yoga practice and bow down to the greatness of nature within and all around.
4. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
The fall equinox represents the pivotal moment in nature when the days grow shorter as the sun doesn't stay as long in the sky. Therefore, it is even more important to honor the sun and bring some heat into your yoga practice through regular sun salutations. But make sure to practice at a slow and rhythmic pace in tune with your breath to keep vata dosha in balance.
5. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
The low lunge pose is one of the primary yoga poses in the moon salutations that honors the changes occurring in the sky. The fall and winter seasons are inherently more lunar due to the cooling energy of this time of year. Practicing this yoga pose helps ground the body and also represents a metaphoric shift into the lunar phase of the year when these cooling energies are more dominant all around us.
Meditation and Breathwork for the Fall Equinox
The fall equinox is the perfect time of year to practice deeper reflection and rituals to honor the changes in nature and within yourself. Additionally, the vata dosha is particularly balanced through meditation and breathwork due to the primary elements of air and ether that constitute this dosha in Ayurveda.
1. Gratitude Meditation (Kritajna Dhyana)
Traditionally, the fall equinox was a time of ceremony to thank the earth for the harvest and to prepare for winter. Therefore, gratitude meditation is an excellent way to incorporate a deep reverence for the land's bounty and form a stronger connection with mother nature. Try also adding a daily gratitude journal into your routine to increase the thread of gratitude through this time of year.
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
The fall equinox is a unique point of transition in which the northern and southern hemispheres have a balanced exposure to light from the sun. To harness this inner balance, we can also practice alternate nostril breathing or nadi shodhana to balance the left and right hemispheres of the body. Bringing this breathing practice into your body can help you stay in tune with these cycles of nature while also cleansing your inner channels for winter.
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The fall equinox represents a beautiful change in nature where the northern and southern hemispheres are both equally bathed in the warm glowing light from the sun. These moments remind us that within each of us is a shining inner light, uniting us all in the light of the universal consciousness. By bringing these concepts and energies into your yoga practice, you can deepen this inner and outer connection, moving closer to the ultimate goal of yoga practice for inner awakening.
Yoga is a lifelong journey, and by learning the foundations of yoga in our online yoga teacher training courses, you can genuinely bring these energies on and off the mat. So, join us in our upcoming online 200-hour and 300-hour yoga teacher training course to deepen your personal practice and share these wonderful gifts with others as well!