Autumn brings changes – from the thermometer to the inner self. At the Autumn Equinox, the point of equal days and nights that initiates the growing darkness of fall, we are called to look into ourselves and find a new inner balance.
While summer called for activity, play, and exuberance, fall asks us to let go and turn to more subtle past times. It’s a season for reflection, release, and quiet meditation. We may not be ready to leap into more inward practices yet, but it is time to find a more appropriate balance in our lives by letting go of some of the outward manifestation of summer and integrating more personal time for self-nurturance and introspection.
An appropriate pose to explore this sense of a balanced life is Tree Pose, Vrikshasana. Any posture that requires you to stand on one leg teaches you the intricacies of balance. What I love about Tree Pose in the Fall is the sense of steady grounding and centering in this simplest of one-leg balances, and of course the perfect metaphor for a season known for changes of foliage!
Stand in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Feel your stability here before you shift your weight to your right leg. Steady your outer structure, like your outward activities, by stabilizing your foundation and rooting into the earth through the bones of the standing leg. Spread the toes, and hug in around the ankle, feeling a firmness that supports you. Draw the belly in, giving the back stability, too. Then, as you’re ready, slowly bring the left foot up to where you’re able – the calf, inner thigh, or even just lifting the heel while keeping the toes on the floor. Root the foot into the thigh, just as the standing foot roots in the earth. Then reach the spine tall and let the arms rise up, too, like the extending branches of a tree.
The outer balance comes from the actions of the muscles, joints, and bones – the inner balance comes from your focus. Steady the gaze of the eyes on a fixed point to enhance your stability. Maintain a smooth, deep, consistent breath. Feel yourself centered in the belly, where your gravitational center enhances steadiness. And keep the mind one-pointed on concepts of balance, such as: “I am rooted and tall like a tree.” “I am balanced and stable.” “Steady, still, and grounded.” While we need the outer work of the physical actions, the inner work of the breath and mind is equally important to find our balance – both in Tree Pose and during the fall season.
Through the changes that fall brings, find your center point. Imagine there is stillness within you, like the axis of a wheel, that remains steady as the leaves turn and your life unfolds. Stand firm in that place when thoughts begin to whirl like a dust devil, and know that you always have inner balance somewhere inside, even when you don’t think so.
Still feel a bit thrown off? Find more inner balance through my Grounding, Centering, and Filling Meditation!
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