Harvest Time and the Arrival of Fall

Posted: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The Arrival of Fall
by Shawn M. Flot

 “…to recognize when the season has come to its apogee,
when the commitment must be made and the harvest brought in.”
– David Whyte, words about Harvest

Summer is the time of action and manifesting one’s full potential from the cultivation of winter’s quietude. As the great power and radiance of the sun’s energy is ripening and transforming your manifested gifts, your tree begins to bend with the sweet fruit of your efforts, fruits ripen and the grass begins to cure, leaving behind the seeds for next years growth. Through your actions and efforts, you can enjoy this season’s harvest.

summer-veggies-harvest
As Fall arrives, the natural seasonal cycles and activities you observe in nature actually trigger activities very similar in your body and mind. If you are “in touch” with your body’s rhythmic nature, you will be able to follow along in a delicate and mindful way as you prepare for the transition for a “long winter’s nap.”

As Mother Earth cools, you may begin to notice how her heat and provisions begin to be drawn inward. We see this in the slowing flow of rivers, in the cooling air that decreases its moisture and temperature, in the light of the day that lessens its productive time, and in trees that begin to rustle their colorful leaves in the Fall winds.

Tuscany

Interesting, as we see these qualities in nature, they are experienced inside. Such as the body’s “external-ness” in summer to capture the light and nourishment of the sun for activity, growth and productivity, the body begins the process of withdrawing its activity and vital resources in the Fall, especially the Yin. Because of this slowing, withdrawing process, it is essential to feel the pulse, or signals, of the body’s seasonal transition and participate in practices that promote the cultivation of internal rhythms, which allow release, recovery, rejuvenation, and restoration.

The Yin’s inward journey begins with the Fall Equinox, which is seen and felt with the change in the balance of day and night, and completes its journey around mid December when water crystallizes to ice and snow.

During the internalization of the Yin, it is important to recognize:

  • Stability through the element of Earth, our connection with our feet, awareness in the bones and low belly.
  • Internal heat experienced in the low belly, or lower dantien/kunda (versus external heat felt on the skin in summer).
  • Clarity through a “gentle ‘cleansing’ of the vital fluids and organs, and the cultivation of gentle meditative qualities during the day, called dharana.
  • Space through unpacked days – allowing moments to pause in daily activities and demands.
  • Rhythm through a practice that allows one to touch into the vital source of Prana, or Chi, and the pace of the day.

It is interesting that the common denominator in the above mentioned comes from living from our bones and from awareness in our practices that cultivate and maintain this essential living principle for health and well-being.

Ask me how
or
come to a class.

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Cleansing? How is your Digestive Fire?

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Cleansing? How is your fire?

Posted: Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Thoughts of cleansing ring inside and out. Many express the desire and some the need to cleanse. It is fall, nature and the body are giving signals of slowing down and releasing the results of the growing season – leaves turning color and falling to the earth. And friends, practitioners, and local communities are gathering to participate in cleansing. The focused necessities of what we eat, what are we going to eat, what supplements are we going to take to support our cleanse are missing one vital component. How are you going to vitalize the fire for the cleansing process?

Do you know the state of your digestive fire (Agni)? or the transformative fires of all the tissues in your body that you are focusing your cleanse toward? Without a strong vital fire, anything you take or any diet you choose to follow will make minimal results at best. I highly recommend you take care of and nourish the fire inside.

How?

Traditionally the Yoga system was a system of purification. Through cultivating the intelligence of the body, the body has the capacity to digest and transform all “food”. “food” means anything you take in……by mouth, by eyes, by ears, by hands, etc. The transformational fires (Agni) also have the ability to transform all toxins and impurities through its amazing alchemy – just like turning carbon to diamonds, lead to gold. The incredible wisdom of the Ayurveda and Hatha Yoga systems honor this and have a very effective way to stimulate, nurture, and stabilize the internal fire, Agni. Please inquire if this resonates with your innate wisdom for self healing.

Here are concepts to consider regarding the transformational fire:
Agni, the fire, is dependent on your state of being. A harmonious balance of your autonomic system, your emotional and mental stability, and your ability to negotiate/tolerate the stressors that you encounter every moment of your life are key factors for mind and body healing.

    • Consider your ability to eat, digest, assimilate and eliminate. If you are in fight/flight/freeze mode of functioning in daily life you ability to perform any of these functions is severely diminished. Discernment, identifying what is appropriate for you and what is not is a function of the fire. If the body is unable to discern or digest, the undigested “food” is stored as toxins, or ama, usually in the form of fat. This can be the observable fat in the belly, around the belt rim, in the legs and arms as “cellulite”, and unobservable places such as in the organ (such as a fatty liver), and the bone marrow (as yellow marrow) limiting function of the system. Fat is the most stable substance, and the body can be trained to store and pack it away. The good thing is with a harmonious nervous system, the body can be redirected to burn and transform the fat; caution as the elimination process which requires fire, is necessary for the “release” of the toxins from all aspects of your mind and body.
    • Consider your state of stillness. Constant movement significantly affects the above functions. Movement is not just physical, as our emotional stability is essential – “e”motion. As one of my clients stated “Emotions are like a moving truck going downhill, once you get it moving it is sometimes hard to stop, especially when it is loaded.” Movement is associated with wind. What does wind do to a fire? Wildfire!!!! or lets put it another way…..Burnout!
      One of the best stances is Goat Pose for cultivating stillness. Click here to read about it.
    • Consider your ability to stay grounded, rooted in your center. The bones, especially of the legs, allow us to maintain spinal stability, balance and supported. If the nervous system senses it is not supported, it will pull the supportive tissue systems up to create stability, producing tension in the mid and low back which significantly disturb the fire. The leg bones also pull the fire downward, through the grounding force, apana vayu. Apana vayu, one of the subtle winds in the body, governs the health of the digestive fire, pulling it in a downward direction for proper digestion, assimilation, and elimination. See article on digestive fire.
    • Consider your tolerance to stressors. We adapt all the time to stressors. Our body has incredible capacities. And we have a threshold to the amount of stressors we can adapt to. This is a given threshold at birth. Some of us have more of a threshold than others. The key is to not go over the threshold, which is a state when the body begins to degenerate, and signs and symptoms of a dis”eased” body show up. You can prevent this with many modalities such as self care routines, working with a practitioner on supportive preventative means of health and well being, a routine practice such as Yoga, and of course the cleanse you are ready to embark on. See article on the body’s adaptability.
    • Consider the driving force in your body – Prana. Where you direct your attention, your mind, your senses, your intention . . . . Prana will follow. Prana is the driving force of life. AND it is in service to the transformative element of fire, Agni. Click here for more.

From an Ayurvedic perspective all physical dis-ease (diseases) have their root cause in disturbance of Agni (S. Blossom). As stated by Dr. Robert Svoboda – “it is the condition from which all other disease conditions arise. In a sense indigestion, the inability to digest any physical, mental, or emotional input, is the sole disease of living beings. It usually begins in the mind as an “offense against wisdom” and is projected from the mind into the physical body.”

I wish you well in your transformative cleanse.

Enjoyed this article?
Here are some recommendations of related interest:

Harvest Time & the Arrival of Fall

Our Time is Now  inquiry about stillness

Bearing Your Burden about the bones and goat pose

A forest’s transformation