The word ‘equinox’ is Latin for ‘equal to night’. Twice a year, at the spring and autumn equinox day and night are equal in length. When I view the phenomenon of the autumnal equinox (today) with my yoga goggles on, I can’t help but think this is a powerfully symbolic time. For Hatha yogis, yoga is all about finding balance – between solar and lunar energies, for one. Solar energies corresponding to activities that are extroverted, strong, forceful and muscular and lunar activities being those that are more passive, cooling, restorative and introverted.
A time of equal balance between light and darkness; solar and lunar energies; a time to balance between the extroversion of summer and the introversion of the coming winter. All of this is reflected in ‘samatva’, a Sanskrit word that means evenness or equanimity – the quality of having a a balanced attitude and approach to life.
Here are some ways that you can play with evenness both on and off the mat:
Intention/Affirmation: “I respond with openness and equanimity (rather than reactivity).”
Breath: Sama Vritti (Even Breathing). Inspiration and Expiration last for the same amount of time.
Meditation: Mindfulness Meditation
On the Mat: Notice whether you have a tendency to over/under effort when you practice yoga postures. As a fun exercise, try ranking your effort on a 1-10 scale in each pose 1 = no effort; 10 = maximum possible effort. See if you can work at a 5 (balanced effort) in each pose.
Off the Mat: Allow the unknowable, uncontrollable nature of life to just be. Wherever you find yourself – whether in circumstances pleasant or unpleasant, remember that every challenging situation also has a gift and a lesson in it. You can’t know what the ultimate consequences of your current situation will be. Try to keep a balanced, open mind.