If I had to pick a favorite season, autumn would win, hands down. The vibrant colors of the foliage. Brisk walks with leaves crunching underfoot. And, my personal favorite, cooking all those autumnal vegetables into a hearty stew.
Today—the autumn equinox—marks the official start of this new season. (Fun fact: An equinox occurs when the North and South Poles are aligned with the sun, meaning we get roughly the same amount of daylight hours as we do darkness.)
As one might expect, the autumn equinox is a time of thanksgiving and harvest that is steeped in various traditions and customs across many cultures. Some cultures choose to acknowledge “The God of the Vine”, and celebrate with, yep, wine. Others associate both the spring and fall equinoxes with transition. The Japanese, for instance, celebrate with Higan, a festival that marks the season when workers would come in from the fields and have more time to devote to Buddhist practices. Today, Higan is a public holiday that the Japanese use to lay flowers at the graves of ancestors and spend quality time with living loved ones.
Embrace both of these traditions by throwing an impromptu dinner party for your family and friends. Create a menu using squash, pumpkins, cabbages, cauliflower berries, nuts, apples, pears and other harvest fruits and veggies. Keep the party going until midnight and herald the arrival of autumn together. Then, tomorrow, on the first day of fall, embrace these tips for making the most of the longer hours of darkness that come with this time of thanksgiving and balance.
Consider a personal harvest. Use this time to take stock and evaluate your year thus far. Are you on track to reach your year-end goals? What do you have to be grateful for this year?
Find balance. Summer is always such a busy time with vacations and entertaining and the such. As the fall equinox approaches, take some quiet time for yourself. Try Tai Chi, or take a leisurely walk or bike ride. Soak up the beauty of the season. Allow yourself to rest, recuperate and regroup before the hectic holiday season descends.
Get creative. Capture the beauty of the season with your camera or a paint brush. Or get busy in the kitchen and bottle up those autumn fruits for preserves, pickles and sauces.
Detox. Fall is the perfect time to focus on your health, as those BBQ invites start to decline. What better time to start a detox program? Restore balance to your body before the season of indulgence heads in.
Practice yoga. Include plenty of balancing postures into your practice. Tree pose (vrksasana) is a great one for grounding, and reminding us that the falling leaves of a tree signify transition to the next season—and that nothing stays the same.
Sow some seeds. Plant some bulbs in a planter, and, as you bury them beneath the soil, set an intention. What do you want to have achieved by the time the first sprouts appear? It may be that you want to let something go, or start something new. Whatever it may be, set that intention. As the time arrives for your bulbs to appear they will act as a lovely reminder of what you wanted to achieve at the time of the 2017 autumn equinox.
However you choose to mark the change of seasons, enjoy.
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