As the seasons shift I like to give myself room to shift my energy and intentions accordingly by changing my lifestyle and the rituals that form part of my day. I, personally, am more energized and vibrant during summer and as Autumn approaches I tend to slow down, ground down and find myself feeling the pull to turn inwards and be more self-reflective.
The sun is coming up later, there is a shift in the weather and the crisp morning air greets me expectantly, filling my lungs with the temptation to go inwards. Some of my favourite rituals for going inwards include: yoga nidra; yin yoga; inviting in warmth; grounding and expressing myself through creativity. See how you can use these 5 areas as inspiration to create your own rituals for the season.
1. Yoga Nidra
Yoga nidra is a type of meditation that can help you relax deeply and access a state of consciousness that is somewhere between being awake and being asleep. It's often called "yogic sleep" because you lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. You may even find yourself feeling as if you are in a state of sleep but really it is just deep relaxation.
The practice involves a guided meditation that takes you through different stages of relaxation, such as focusing on your breath, scanning your body for tension, and visualizing peaceful scenes or sensations. The idea is to bring your attention inward and let go of any mental or physical tension, allowing your body to rest and heal.
One of the main benefits is that it can help reduce stress and anxiety by calming your nervous system and releasing tension from your body. It can also improve your sleep by helping you relax be
fore bedtime and promoting deep, restful sleep. Some people also find that yoga nidra can increase their creativity, intuition, and self-awareness, as well as improve their overall sense of well-being.
Here is a yoga nidra practice for you to try: https://insig.ht/XgzylzNiKyb
2. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is a type of yoga that involves holding poses for longer periods of time, usually around 3-5 minutes or more. It's a slow and meditative practice that can be very beneficial for connecting to yourself and your body.
One of the key aspects of yin yoga is that it focuses on the connective tissues of the body, such as ligaments, tendons, and fascia. These tissues are more dense and less elastic than muscle tissue, so they require a different type of stress to stimulate them. In yin yoga, you hold poses for longer periods of time to create a gentle, sustained stress on these tissues, which can help improve their flexibility and resilience over time.
But yin yoga isn't just about the physical benefits - it's also a way of connecting to yourself on a deeper level. Because the poses are held for longer periods of time, you have more time to tune in to your body and notice any sensations or feelings that arise. You might notice areas of tension or tightness, or areas that feel open and spacious. You might also notice thoughts or emotions that come up as you hold the poses.
Through this process of tuning in and noticing, you can begin to cultivate a deeper awareness and connection to yourself and your body. You can learn to listen to your body's signals and respond with compassion and curiosity, rather than judgment or force. This can be a powerful way of developing a more embodied and intuitive sense of self, which can carry over into other areas of your life.
Here is a beautiful yin practice for you to try:
3. Inviting in warmth
This season makes me want to start organizing our home and creating soft, inviting, warm spaces for the upcoming winter months when I know there will be much more time spent indoors. Creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home can be a wonderful way to cultivate a sense of peace and well-being, and there are many ways to do this through decor and mindfulness.
One of the simplest ways to create warmth in your home is to use soft lighting and warm colors. Instead of harsh overhead lighting, try using lamps and candles to create a softer, more intimate atmosphere. Choose warm colors like earthy browns, soft greens, and warm reds and oranges to create a cozy and inviting vibe.
Another way to create warmth in your home is to incorporate natural materials and textures, such as wood, stone, and natural fabrics like linen or wool. These materials have a grounding and soothing quality that can help create a sense of comfort and ease.
Mindfulness can also be a powerful tool for creating warmth in your home. By taking a few moments to slow down and really notice your surroundings, you can cultivate a greater appreciation for the beauty and comfort of your space. Try taking a few deep breaths and really noticing the details of your environment - the way the light falls on a certain object, the texture of a piece of furniture, the scent of a candle or plant.
You can also practice mindfulness while engaging in everyday activities, like cooking or cleaning. Instead of rushing through these tasks, try to approach them with a sense of mindfulness and presence. Notice the smells, sounds, and sensations of these activities, and allow yourself to fully engage in the experience.
Feeling close to the earth and spending time in nature is important to me all year round but in Autumn it feels so good to wake up early and watch the sunrise, dressed warmly but feeling the crisp morning air, knowing that the warmth later in the day will mean you get to shed some layers. Grounding can also happen indoors by simply choosing to sit closer to the ground on a cushion or on the floor more often, or lying down on the floor or a yoga mat for meditation or yoga nidra practices.
You can practice grounding outdoors by walking in nature: Spending time outdoors in nature can be incredibly grounding. Take a walk in a local park or nature reserve, and notice the colors, scents, and sounds of the season.
If you have a garden, tending to it can be a grounding and centering practice. Even if you don't have a garden, you can still spend time outdoors with plants - for example, by visiting a local botanical garden or park.
There are also several exercises you can do outdoors to help you feel more grounded, such as standing barefoot on the earth or hugging a tree. These practices can help you feel more connected to the natural world and to your own body.
5. Expressing through creativity
Expressing and connecting with yourself through creativity can take the form of painting, drawing, writing, baking, cooking, dancing or singing. Creativity comes in many different shapes and forms so find ways to be creative that feel true and good for you. This is powerful in any season but for some reason, as the temperature drops slightly I tend to feel more of a draw towards self expression through creativity. This can also be incredibly soothing and can help you channel any stress, frustration or challenging emotions that you may be experiencing.
I hope you found some inspiration within these areas, where you can practice creating your own rituals and ways to help you connect with yourself within the season you find yourself in.