September is the end of summer and beginning of fall here in the northern hemisphere, and it’s the perfect time to get into some spiritually healing activities to help you move through the changes.
With the autumnal equinox falling around September 21st each year we can expect some big energetic shifts coming, just the same as we can expect to see them in our environment. Change can be a scary thing, no matter how constant it is, so here are some tools to help you navigate this yearly shift like a pro!
Sunrise and Sunset Strolls
Our circadian rhythm changes this time of year since much of our rhythm is dictated by the light of the sun. This is the reason we sleep at night and wake during the day, but everyone’s rhythm is a bit different. If you’re a morning person you’ll want to get up and out of the house for a sunrise stroll, and for the night owls you would do well with a sunset walk around the neighborhood.
Regular exposure to the sun offers important benefits such as vitamin D consumption, stress regulation, and bone strengthening. When combined with a light walk, this is a powerful tool that can stymie the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you do your walk first thing in the morning it will help to wake you up and reduce the effects of melatonin. Walking in the evening as the sun sets will help you process and de-stress from the day, as well as help you sleep better that night.
Journaling is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you process stale emotions, gain deeper insights about yourself and your life, as well as cultivate and sustain more gratitude and peace of mind. There’s no right or wrong way to journal, so simply grab a spare notebook, a pen or pencil, and dive in!
The best times to journal are at the start of your day or at the very end, but there are really no rules, so just choose a time when you’re able to sit down and open your mind up a bit. Some excellent places to begin your journaling journey are with writing a gratitude list every day, journaling through a difficult event in your life, or even doodling pictures. The more you practice getting something onto the paper every day the easier it becomes, so take the pressure off and pick up your pen.
Nothing shocks the system into a sense of glee and childlike joy quite like stepping on the perfect crunchy Fall leaf, right? However, we often think of hiking and trail running as more Spring and Summer activities, since the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining at those times of year, but don’t give up on the habit just because the days are getting shorter! The annual shifts we see with the changing of the seasons are a beautiful and natural reminder that we too are a part of nature and therefore always in a state of flux.
To get the most benefit from this exercise this Fall be sure to pack a rain jacket and limit your expectations. You can’t expect to go on super long treacherous hikes during this time of year and that’s ok, coming to terms with what nature has to provide for you (sunlight hours, rain, shine and more) is a part of this reorienting process.
Candlelit Yin Yoga
Light a pumpkin spice candle (or any yummy Fall flavor) and get onto your yoga mat. The annual receding of sunlight can be a major bummer emotionally and mentally, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. The earth needs this rest and recharge and so do you! There might be deadlines and responsibilities you have to face, but you are as much a part of nature as any tree, rock or flower, which means your body needs rest this time of year.
Yin, or restorative yoga, is just the thing to usher us into the time of year for rest. Yin yoga is practiced on the floor in various long held resting positions. This helps to relieve tension in the back and hips, which is so needed for anyone who has a desk job. Check out some of these amazing poses to try at home today.
Have you ever noticed that thing dogs do where they get too revved up and have to shake their whole body to disperse the energy? Well, that’s something you can also do and benefit from greatly! One way to move stale energy out of your body, and actually cultivate more joyful energy at the same time, is ecstatic dance.
Ecstatic dance is what happens when you take the adage “dance like nobody’s watching” seriously. It’s a form of physical expression that is meant to release any and all conditionings, remove the need to look or move a certain way, and find a sense of total freedom in movement. The music is usually electronic since the beat is consistent and there usually aren’t many lyrics to influence your dancing, and this is something that can be practiced at home in your living room, or at a local event. You can google “ecstatic dance [your location]” and find a dance party near you this September.