Summer is moving into Autumn.  After the assertive yang of Spring and Summer, Autumn’s approach becomes yin-like or one of acceptance and yielding.  At a certain point, we can do nothing but let nature take over.  Days leading up to the autumnal equinox will show signs of change.  We will experience a slow transformation until we are hanging in the balance.  Equal hours of daylight and darkness have spiritual meaning.  Look back and be grateful for all the hard work of the months preceding this time and honor how far you have come.  What have you harvested? Be willing accept any mistakes you may have made.  As you head into the months of darker days, face your own darkness through self-reflection.  Be ready to face any demons or negative energies and emotions that reside in the shadows. In this way we begin to transform ourselves. It is a beautiful opportunity to journey inward.  What emerges from the dark and cold? Be present for whatever comes up in the exploration of self. 

Welcome the ebb-tide of the year, a time to walk the boundary between water and land.  The shoreline is changing.  Think of twilight, sunset and the waning moon. There is a sense of melancholy as energy reverts inward. We cannot stop the tides from going out or Summer turning to Autumn.  So we surrender to love, life, and our destiny. In doing so we are vulnerable. We show the treasure of our true heart and the shape of our tender self, as we drop like leaves and flow out like the tide. Autumn is a time to pause from doing, to observe, to let thoughts go deep to the heart of being and the heart of mysteries. The equinox is the bridge between yang and yin, activity and receptivity, sea and shore, high and low tide.

September is the ninth month. Nine is believed to be the number of magic and wisdom.  In sea-lore, the ninth wave significance is to go far out beyond the reach of help where exiles and seekers go.  It invites you to take a walk in the forest. Or maybe stroll along the shore where tide pools form from ebbing waves. Notice what treasures, precious and exposed, are revealed as the tide goes out.

The third wave is for courage,

The sixth wave is for perseverance,

The ninth wave is for surrender

As we move into nature’s slumber, begin to feed your heart and soul.  Take some time for reflection. Slow down with some breathing techniques or pranayama.  Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhna helps balance the hemispheres of the brain. Bring your dominant hand into Vishnu mudra with the thumb and end fingers up and two middle fingers in the palm of your hand. As you inhale and fill the belly, block off one nostril with the thumb and exhale out the other side.  Inhale again and block off the nostril with the end fingers sending the breath out the opposite side.  This is a calming and cooling breath designed to wash away any tension or tightness. Then practice meditation in a quiet space in your home. Sit on a cushion for a few minutes attending to your own breath.  Watch and notice anything that may come up without labeling or judging it.  Begin to turn inward.

Take some time for reflection. Slow down with some breathing techniques or pranayama. Let go of the outside world for just a moment. Maybe some space opens up. Sit with it and be curious. Finally, let your yoga practice be slow and organic. What is your body calling you to do? Yin yoga is helpful during this period of transition.  Sustaining simple postures for 3 to 5 minutes allows the body to open up. Yielding and accepting become your watch words.  Allowing things to be just as they are in the “isness” of the moment can prepare you for whatever comes your way. As you deepen our practice, you may notice subtle changes in yourself and the world around. Being in tune with the natural environment is part of the discovery. 

As your take this “night sea journey”, you will dive into your soul. It may feel like it has no meaning, shape or direction. This human struggle can offer insight into your deeper being.  In your withdrawal from life there may be a sense of uneasiness.  Heading into the darkness, surrender to that feeling with trust. You have to sit with things and in due time let them be revealed for what they are. Let yourself be swallowed by the sea or immersed in the waters of the womb. They both have vast potential for life.  This night sea journey takes you back to your primordial self, or original self, yourself of possibility. You return to the womb of imagination and are always being born. You may find in that darkness a key to your source, the larger soul that makes you who you are and holds the secrets of your existence.  Give yourself over to the transforming natural powers that are mysteriously dark. Allow yourself to slip back into the sea.  Watch and wonder but don’t try to make sense of it and interfere with the natural birthing process. Just ask:  “Who am I? What is this? What do I want? What do I fear? Without answering, gain insight into your soul.

In the dark moments, you experience the beauty of the soul. Beauty is always present, but we don’t always recognize it. You take in beauty with a sixth sense and deep perception. A dark night of the soul reaches deep through sadness, emptiness and anxiety. That revelation is the beauty of a thing. Just as beauty in nature includes storms, droughts and eruptions, so does a person’s beauty includes emotional storminess, dry periods and explosions. Appreciate the dark elements as well as the light ones. Beauty nurtures the soul by serving spirit. In a dark night, beauty allows you a glimpse of liberation as you transcend pain and suffering. Expose yourself to the beautiful and let it do its work. Just trust it and be open to it. It is everywhere. Discover your own essential beauty despite your imperfections and problems. Acceptance is the beginning of genuine and honest self -love, a requirement for perceiving your beauty. This is the foundation of your well-being. Seeing your own being is the discovering of your soul and giving it the care and attention it needs. This is not a love of self but more a love of the vast and mysterious soul. First see yourself for who you are.  Then love your soul.  Now you can breathe easily.