• Becky Morrissey

Autumnal Equinox: Embodying Harmony Practices

Autumnal Equinox: Nature Embodying Harmony Practices

September 22, 2020

The beauty of studying yoga shines through its timeless teachings, which often have an uncanny way of reflecting your current season of being.

Today we are collectively in a time of "equinox", equal day and night, on this first day of Autumn. The earth enjoys the warmth of sunshine collected to her equator; maybe you have felt the warmth of the sun on your belly, and felt the light-shine fill your center with peace. Perhaps the earth goddess is feeling this today, on this Autumnal Equinox.

Yoga's teachings express themselves uniquely within the experiences and bodies of practitioners. Immersed in the language, one yogin may hear hope and encouragement, and another may perceive guidelines for solutions. I have learned how utilizing multiple translations of yoga teachings have been invaluable to me in finding personal meaning within yoga. Life is dimensional and requires diverse teachings to relevantly meet the modern yogin at any point along the journey, or yatra.

The Yamas (yah-mahs) and Niyamas (nee-yah-mahs) are beautiful examples of how the timeless dimensionality inherent in the yoga teachings is important and useful. If you check any 3 of 5 possible translations of the Yamas & Niyamas, you would probably find them explained as "ethical observances" or "moral codes" of behavior. And, they are that.

Alternatively, the Yamas and Niyamas are translated as "practices of harmony" [1]. I find this way of thinking about the Yamas and Niyamas empowering. Maybe you will as well.

Our presence contributes to the external harmony around us (Yamas). Yoga teaches us how we can consciously foster the external "equinox of harmony" using 5-10 processes (depending on the source of the teachings), individually or in multiples as needed. The conscious use of reverence (non-violence, ahimsa), truthfulness and integrity (satya), generosity/honesty (astheya), balance and moderation (brahmacharya), and allowing an awareness of "impermanent abundance" (aparigraha) to inform a felt-sense of true security and peace describe our possible contributions to external harmony [1]. Other ways to contribute to external harmony from an array of yoga teachings include patience, consistency and follow-through, compassion, and the wise use of available resources of all types [2].

Our inner sense of harmony with self is the root of our ability to contribute to the external harmony around us. Inner sense of harmony comes with the use of personal practices to ignite and sustain it. In yoga teachings, these practices are called the Niyamas. The Niyamas include keeping life simple and naturally sustaining (saucha), practicing contentment (not the same as being complacent) with what is here now (santosha) and using it to inform change if necessary; staying inspired (tapas), holding a continual study of relationship with the self (swadhaya), and lastly, considering ourselves to be a part of the whole, like a drop of water is an individual and yet an integral part of the entire ocean, which is a collective of drops of water (Iswara Pranidhana)[1]. Other ways to create inner harmony from various yoga sources include approaching life with gentleness, practicing giving and service, envisioning and living a "bigger perspective", practicing comprehensive listening, and meditating in "open thinking" [2].

If you were to get out your yoga resources or google "yamas and niyamas", what language or relationship of concepts might you find that allow the harmony aspects of the yoga teachings to relate to you fully? How would you shift or resculpt the language for a more personal meaning? Please leave in the comments below if so inspired!

Equinox is a daily practice of conscious living, using ancient practices to contribute to the harmony of a modern world. Enjoy the soul-shine to and from the center of your being, and perhaps join our earth mother in welcoming a change in seasons.

[1] Devi, Nischala. (2010). The Secret Power of Yoga. Three River Press. New York.

[2] Wallis, Hareesh. (2013). Tantra Illuminated. Mattamayura Press. Petaluma, California.

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