Namaste Dear Sonic Community,
October is a powerful paradoxical time of change and inspiration. As we pass through the Fall Equinox in late September and begin the transition towards deep fall, we are all affected by the complexity and power of nature unfolding around us. The challenge is how can we learn from her, to heal and grow, to lower our stress and improve our health, to expand our capacity to love and to connect more deeply with one another.
As many of you know, I am currently healing from a major surgery. As my teacher Shiva Rea calls it, I’m going through one of life’s “initiations”. Which I am realizing is a gift that has allowed me to sit back and truly observe the unfolding of time and space around me. My usual fall agenda is maxed out with planning, movement and doing. Now the healing process that I am going through has forced me to be still and to rest in the moment.
These great lessons are sometimes forced upon us. As Yogis, we all know and understand the healing value of rest and stillness. We appreciate the balance of Yin and Yang of activity and receptivity, the necessity of balance of these opposite polarities. Yet our culture, our society makes it very challenging to live in this more subtle and natural rhythm.
I am truly blessed to have been guided and inspired at this time by my teacher Shiva Rea and the Hindu Festival of Navaratri. This experience allows us to transform the shadow world, celebrate the abundance of now and move gracefully towards subtlety during the difficult transition of the fall season. I have experienced this cycle many times before, but none has been more potent than now.
The nine-night festival celebrates the Goddess Shakti in her triple form. The first three nights honoring Durga, and the practice of letting go, of surrendering, releasing unnecessary stress and all that does not serve us. The second three nights are a tribute to Ma Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and beauty. This time has been a deep realization of gratitude for my life, for my loved ones, my community and all of the love that I am surrounded by. And working through the challenges of receiving that love and feeling deserving of it.
The final three nights beginning today are dedicated to Ma Saraswati, the goddess of inner awareness, subtle creativity and refinement. The energy of Ma Saraswati supports movement towards deeper internal practices at this time of year allowing us to connect with the presence of Ma Shakti and cultivating deep peace and stillness within our heart and souls.
October is also harvest time in the Hamptons where I live. It is mind blowing to see the abundance of amazing nourishing food bursting from the farms. In that same way many of you may be feeling your own inner fullness and growing
agendas. As we move into Vata season and the winds of the mind blow, many of us are effulgent with ideas and plans for expansion in all areas of our lives.
And as we move from the new moon last week towards the full moon on Oct. 8th we can especially feel this micro cycle and the shift towards energy building. This powerful peak experience is reflected in the brilliance of the autumn sunsets and the clarity of the cooler night skies.
Yet there is a paradox happening at this time. At the same time that nature is peaking and showing us her grand finale, she is also preparing to lie down and rest for winter. The leaves on the trees are drying and the days are growing shorter. As we pass through the Fall Equinox, we begin our journey towards the darkening days, leading to the shortest day on the Winter Solstice Dec. 21. There is a natural internal pull that is drawing us inward at the same time as we feel the external expansion and busy-ness of our lives.
This creates a challenge for us to move through this shift with grace and ease. Nature is a pro, she has been doing it for eons, but for many of us it is difficult. I encourage you to be gentle with yourselves now, to ease up on your agenda, to contemplate deepening your internal attention, to move more slowly, do less and be more. Take time to be still, to contemplate the inner world. To move with grace and ease, and to look into the eyes of your friends and loved ones. Tell them how much they mean to you. Live this moment as if it were your last.
Now is the perfect time to begin a Gratitude Practice as we move towards Thanksgiving in November. This very simple practice has done miraculous healing for myself and everyone I know that commit themselves to it.
Take 5 minutes each day to list 5 thing that you are grateful for. If you already have a meditation practice you can take mental note at the end of your practice or you can write them in a journal. You can do this first thing in the morning or at the end of your day. Or both.
If you don’t already have a meditation practice now would be the perfect time to start.
Begin with creating a simple core practice like 10 minutes of Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) a day, followed by 5 minutes of simple mantra. Work with repeating So – Hum, I am all that is. Or Om Shanti – Peace. For deeper instruction, come to any of our Free Meditation classes at Sonic.
I am so looking forward to celebrating and dancing with you all at our Sonic Yoga 14 year Anniversary Community Celebration on Nov. 14th
Until then be gentle and love deeply.
With Peace + Love Lauren
OM SHRIM HRIM KLIM CHAMUNDAYEI VICHE