New Beginnings - Autumn Equinox 2016

Tomorrow September 22 2016 at approximately 14:21 GMT we will reach the Autumnal Equinox of 2016.

What on Earth are you talking about Jen???

The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because at the point of the equinox, the night and day are of equal length.

The Equinox phenomenon occurs twice a year (around 20th March for the Spring Equinox and 22nd September for the autumn).

The reason of this being, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the centre of the Sun lies on the same plane as the Earth's equator, resulting in an equal duration of daylight hours to darkness. From here on in the nights will creep in consuming our daylight hours making them shorter until we reach the shortest day of the year - Winter Solstice, 21st December.

This equal length of night and day, offers us an opportunity to balance the light of our consciousness with the darkness of our shadow that resides in us all. This process involves letting go of anything that no longer represents us so that we can exist in our most pure form, our “truest self”.

The natural cycles of our planet remind us of the universal laws that govern all of life (and none us are immune to that – although we often think that we are). We are not in control and we should come to honour the Bio-Rhythms of Mother Nature just as all non-human life does, the Winter, with its long nights, encourages us to sleep more and focus inward, whereas the summer, with its long warm days, beckons us to sleep less and venture outside.

The Equinox is the perfect opportunity to find our centre and walk in a place of balance.

But isn’t that why we come to yoga anyway???

Seeking balance between the Ha and the Tha (Hatha yoga, being ALL physical Asana), strength and flexibility, night and day, Masculine and Feminine, yin and yang??? etc.

Yep, it is! This day (although definitely not restricted to this day) is a perfect time to release, restore and reflect on our experiences of the year thus far. But tomorrow we will have the power of our whole Solar system behind us!

You may of noticed last Friday 16th sept, the Harvest Full moon, signifying the end of the summer of growth and abundance. The harvest being a time of gratuity and humility, while we appreciate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying and the impermanence of everything, as the Northern Hemisphere now moves into its time of restoration and renewal over the winter months.

So I invite you tomorrow to just sit for a moment to find balance between reflection and intention. Take time to consider

-          What is your own personal harvest?

-          Who has helped you to achieve this and how could you thank them? (this could be a negative experience as well as positive)

-           As the trees let go of their leaves, what do you wish to let go of?

-          And what seeds do you want to incubate over the winter, ready to grow and blossom next spring?

Bring forth your intention to your yoga practice, today and tomorrow consider your physical practice as a means of releasing any negative mental and emotional patterns we have stored up in our physical bodies. Cultivate a sense of presence in our bodies and minds which facilitate inner peace and wholeness in our being.  And plant the seeds of your intentions for manifestation in the coming spring.

 

Namaste x 

Go smudge yourself

In case you have no idea (or often wondered) what I am doing to you in your peaceful Savasana, wonder no more...

Smudging is an indigenous and shamanic practice dating back centuries, it is used to clear and transmute “mala energía” (bad energies) by burning certain sacred herbs or plants. Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies to return you back to a state of balance, peace and harmony. The smudging and burning of incense is a preliminary and integral part of many indigenous ceremonies and practices from all over the world, throughout history dating all the way back to the Inca’s, Mayan’s and Egyptians and most likely way beyond that. 

The linage I follow is Shipibo a Shamanic Amazonian tribal region from the Amazon basin region, and the incense that I use mainly is Palo Santo which I brought back with me from my Shamanic initiation in Peru last year.

  Palo Santo, formally known as  Bursera graveolens ,   is a beautiful majestic tree which grows from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico all the way through Central America and along the West coast of South America. It is directly related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal, which are all known for their great healing properties. Its translation from Spanish means “Holy Wood”, it has a pleasantly strong, rich, deep woody yet citrus aroma to it.

Palo Santo, formally known as Bursera graveolensis a beautiful majestic tree which grows from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico all the way through Central America and along the West coast of South America. It is directly related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal, which are all known for their great healing properties. Its translation from Spanish means “Holy Wood”, it has a pleasantly strong, rich, deep woody yet citrus aroma to it.

Sage & Palo Santo

It is used for its spiritual and energetic cleansing and healing properties similar to White Sage and Cedar. In the Shipibo tradition Palo Santo is used in smoke baths, a method of clearing negativity and demons and as a means of protection and drawing good fortune to the beholder. It cleanses your auric field (which for most of us extends anywhere from 1ft in front of us to 9 ft, the latter for the highly attuned human). In Kundalini Yoga we call this the 8th Chakra. Our aura provides protection and acts as a filter for negative environmental influences - a strong aura automatically uplifts and improves the working of all the other chakras’. It is said that the scent raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper connection to the Source of all creation.

Not only do you smudge yourself (or others), but you can smudge spaces in your home or workplace, it can be used to clear the air after an argument or negative experience or even for a special occasion. If you plan on doing this, don't forget to do corners………. bad shit likes to hang out in corners! It is a strong medicine and is said to be effective in keeping energies grounded and clear, which is why it is particularly effective after Yoga in Savasana to help you come back down and out into reality a little bit more stronger and resilient to the negative effects of the external environment. It is great for calming the immune and nervous systems for a deeper relaxed state and in increasing Theta brain waves, it is also said that it can speed up the recovery of illness. The wood is extracted from dead trees and fallen branches without the use of dangerous chemicals or solvents and therefore makes the method far more sustainable and environmentally friendly, despite this unfortunately Palo Santo is very much a finite resource.  

Of course (like with most Esoteric practices) the effectiveness of the smudge depends on the strength and clarity of your intention (or the person using it on you), so make sure you ask the Palo Santo or Sage clearly for protection, clearing and connection before you begin.

Namaste x