Thursday, November 4, 2010

Falling Vs. Letting Go

I always assumed this season is named “Fall” because leaves are falling off the trees, withered and blown off the branches by the cold, dry wind.  I was fascinated to learn from NPR recently that something else is happening.  It’s dangerous for a tree to carry leaves during the winter; they get weighed down with snow and tear off branches, or they die when it freezes and hamper future growth.  So as the days grow shorted and colder, deciduous trees produce a chemical signal that causes branches to sever their connection to the leaves.  Then all it takes is a slight breeze to finish the job.   In other words, trees “push” their leaves off before they cause trouble.  The beauty of fall is an enjoyable side effect of trees adapting to the changing season.

How do we humans adapt to this change?  Do we feel like victims of the cold, dry wind, helplessly blown towards flu season, less exercise, and the busyness of the holidays?  Or can we make choices to adapt, like the trees?  Before electricity and urbanization, our pastoral ancestors in temperate climates had no choice but to adapt to changing light: more time inside, less work, more rest.  Our animal bodies still react to the change of seasons, but modern times demand that we continue our lives as usual.  In fact, we tend to be busiest around the winter solstice, when our body’s instinct is to rest and restore.

Since most of us do not have the luxury of hibernation, we should consider how we can support ourselves in continuing our daily tasks within a new season.  Starting now through December, we’re going to be crafting our yoga classes to help your body and mind stay balanced and healthy as winter approaches.  As warmth disappears from the outside world, we’ll cultivate our inner fire and prepare our digestion for heavier winter foods.  As the wind blows and schedules get crazy, we’ll explore our connection to the stable earth.  As the trees release their leaves, we’ll take up meditative practices that support letting go of what no longer serves us.

This was originally sent in our monthly newsletter, to which you can subscribe through by following this link.

No comments:

Post a Comment