Seasons continue to inspire us in poems, stories, and songs. The four phases of the year stir different emotions and feelings within each of us.
Summer and winter are seasons of destinations, arriving at the hottest and coldest times of the year. Feelings of relaxation and ease are associated with the hot days of summers. Winter, depending on where you live, is associated with quiet seclusion peppered with gatherings for holiday feasts and parties.
Spring and autumn are seasons of transition—spring with a tenet of increased activity and autumn with decreased activity. In poems and songs, spring is a transition from the stillness of winter to a reawakening, as new life abounds and the earth is revived. Creative energy is required for this massive transition. In autumn, the spent energy of summer comes to an end and the earth settles. Autumn is the transition from the high movement of summer to the stillness of winter. The expression “the autumn of your life” refers to aging and preparing for death.
Do you notice how the seasons reflect your asana practice? Do you live differently in the seasons of destination and the seasons of transition?
In many ways, the seasons represent aspects of your asana practice. The poses are like summer and winter: destinations. High energy poses such as warrior might resemble summer, building heat and using your breath to find ease in the difficulty of the pose. The stillness of mountain or corpse pose might resemble winter, falling into the stillness and depth within your soul. The flowing movements between poses are like the seasons of transition, sliding from one pose to another.
The gift of living in the present moment provides the presence of mind to fully live and relish the transitions of our lives as much as the destinations. In spring and autumn, the joy is to live in the energy of change without anticipating the next season. In summer and winter, the joy is to live in the subtle energies of flow. In our yoga practice, the mind-body connection is continuous when we can be fully present in both the poses and in the transition between poses.
By not rushing through transitions, we allow the energies of transition to gracefully bring us to each moment of our life. The arrival of each moment is intentional, yet not forced; anticipated, but not demanded.
In your yoga practice, move from one asana to another with mindfulness. When you’re off the mat, move through transitions and changes with calm awareness. As with spring and autumn, you may find unexpected discoveries by focusing on what is rather than on what was or what will be.