In the still, dark night
we rest, dream, and regenerate. As we enter the late Autumn, our days become shorter, and the nights longer. We are called to sleep, and to let go of all that is not essential. In many agricultural spiritual traditions, the period between November 1st and December 21st is like "time out of time"—space in between, when one thing has ended and the next not yet begun. We are still many weeks away from the Long Night of the Winter Solstice.
What should we do? What will a yoga practice look like at this time?
It might look like sleep. Just sleep. Just rest. Allow this for yourself. You may take this time to dream, to explore your inner self. A physical yoga practice for many is slow, deliberate, meditative, and deep. This time of year is also traditionally when one might re-commit to a meditation practice.
As one of my teachers has said, practice saying "No" to all that is not essential, so that your "Yes" comes from a deep well of reserve.
I am taking every opportunity I can right now to notice stillness. I live in a busy home at this time in my life, and much of my energy is bound to the external world in raising children and teaching outside the home. I am committed to allowing stillness into my life through engaging and meditative pursuits like knitting, or reading. I am trying to make some time for reflective writing, so that I can practice deep listening. I am taking more time with loved ones, and reducing commitments that require a lot of energy and don't provide nourishment.
I am allowing my garden to die back, and to rest. There are bean leaves slowly disintegrating on top of the soil, and everything has been cut back to rest. As a wise woman said recently, "A garden forgives"—I have taken stock of all I will do differently next year, saved seeds I will replant, and now, it rests.
What do you take with you into these long nights, what do you fold into your heart to nourish and protect? How will you allow yourself to be present with your own intuition about what your deepest needs are right now? Where will you find stillness?