Ayurveda and Yoga use the language, philosophy and practice of moving Prana (life energy) in order to assess and bring health to the body, mind and Soul and each Season teaches us another lesson about how to use the shared energy/Prana around us.
Just as seasonal foods are the best nutritional way to balance our bodies (Late Autumn/Early Winter's root vegetables to help nourish and ground), so Seasonal YogaVeda practices are the best way to balance body and mind via Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and meditation.
In Autumn, Nature shows us how the energetic patterns of the Yama and Niyama, Aparigraha and Ishvara Pranidhana, can be used to bring greater integrity and alignment in how we relate to ourselves and each other.
Aparigraha is the Yama, or call to action, to stop holding, grasping and clinging or, in other words, stagnating the energy/Prana around and within us in an attempt to possess something forever, rather than just for a period of time, or to prevent something from changing form or place.
Yama means 'a moral duty' and each Yama requires us to restrain a selfish tendency to direct the flow of Universal Prana for personal gain.
The flow of life/Prana is always balanced though, so as we release our gripping, clinging and grasping tendencies in Autumn, we are invited to open further and watch to see what replaces it.
Niyama means 'law or rule' and Niyama is the law of how Prana moves when it is unrestricted. Therefore, a Niyama requires no action. It simply happens when the manipulation of energy ceases.
When we stop clinging, grasping and holding, the Niyama, Ishvara Pranidhana, has space to unfold. Ishvara Pranidhana has many translations. Ishvara means 'God of Love' or that which we are meant to follow/do and Pranidhana means 'access to' or 'dedicate to'.
When we let go of that which isn't meant for us to possess, the energetic flow is redirected towards that which is rightfully ours. Ishvara Pranidhana is often paired with the quote 'Let go and let God' implying that we will receive the necessary tools and support to do what we are meant to do if we could just have faith and quiet patience and receive what is ours with love and gratitude.
In Late September, October and early November, if we falter in how to manage these energetic acrobatics in our own life, Nature kindly shows us how it is done by letting go of the leaves of Summer. In return all are a lucky witness to a spectacularly beautiful display of transformation, colour and movement that transports the sight, smell, touch, feel and taste of Autumn straight to the centre of our heart, swelling it with love and gratitude.
Each new season gifts us a Yama and Niyama, and Autumn begs of us the questions:
- What have you been fighting to keep in your life that doesn't want to stay?
- Are you ready to open your heart and let it be guided expertly forward with love and gratitude?