The harvest is officially home on October 31st. This day is Halloween for most people and for my ancient friends it is Samhain. A holiday which celebrates the last days of the Harvest season and the witch's New Year. I know you're probably saying to yourself "What about Thanksgiving and New Year's day? Isn't our American harvest holiday in late November and our New Year begins on January 1st?" Truth be told that the United States celebrates the harvest season weeks after the fields are cleared and the barns are closed down for the winter. I believe some governing official way back when felt it would be a great idea to create a holiday during the end of the year where the focus is on food, family and gratitude for the many gifts we have received.
How does this help our country? It gets the collective consciousness to perk up with a positive air of thanks as we close the year down. Plus the day after Thanksgiving and weeks following our turkey and pilgrim celebration retailers are eagerly waiting for us to charge into the malls and do plenty of shopping. Whoever decided this meant well for the economy yet in my neck of the woods, New York City, shopping is becoming a dying habit as health is emerging as the new wealth and eating is the new fashion.
The generations old tradition of starting the New Year with a few unwrapped things to keep us occupied for the first few days of the year can be fun but the reality is it makes us feel ecstatic for a moment like having some fine wine, decadent chocolate and experiencing post yoga class bliss. How do we feel great and stay there without giving into consuming all the stuff that numbs us this coming holiday season?... Ahhhhhh! Here's the work. Are you ready?
I guess we can start by slowing down and becoming mindful. Watching and I don't mean TV. I suggest keeping it simple and paying attention to nature as a first step in developing a mindfulness practice.
October's Full moon is called the Hunter's moon or by some the Blood moon. Now that the fields have yielded their last fruits hunting season begins in preparation of the cold winter season ahead. From a cruelty free point of view I like to absorb this full moon's hunting energy and visualize what I would like to attract in the New Year ahead.
Each day in October into November and until December 21st the sun is setting earlier and earlier each passing night. Our ancient ancestors in the Northern Hemisphere celebrated the end of the year now because we are in the darkest time of the year. When the sun is reborn during the Winter Solstice December 21st and days lengthen in light the New Year begins for our ancestors. I find it interesting how in the modern calender all festivals of light including Christ's birth is celebrated around this time.
For me the darkening days have always been a bit of a thrill for me because Halloween/Samhain celebrates my birthday. Plus I've always been a fan of this season's color, magic and mystery. The spooky aspects of Halloween are derived from the fact that on this night, the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest. What does this mean? Well, if you feel air blowing by your ankles even though you're wearing boots take it as a sign that someone from the other side is trying to get your attention. Don't be afraid! It could be a fairy. I'm sure there's some wisdom they're wanting to share with you.
I love this stuff. It must be the Scorpio in me. When the sun shines in Scorpio during Oct. 23- Nov. 21 do know whether your Sun sign is in Scorpio or not to be ready to experience a higher dose of Scorpiononic traits such as truth seeking, more drama in your life and having stronger psychic muscles.
|An easy seated spinal twist wearing tights bought from Maria Luisa's boutique in Nyack, NY|
If any of this resonates with you maybe you'll like where my fashion's trend and yoga postures are going this season. By way of fashion you will be seeing darker colors accompanied with orange highlights, gold and brass hardware, amber colored jewels and piles of layers to peal off to accommodate this season's cooler mornings, sunlit warm lunch hours and chilly evenings. When it comes to the physical yoga practice we will focus on opening our lower bodies with deeper and more difficult to do hip openers, twists and forward bends. Energetically we will pay attention to twisting and wringing out the old dark cobwebs of our body's lower energy center's while making space in our consciousness to connect to our higher energy centers. This is where light likes to collect.
|Lengthen your neck spine while wearing a turtleneck www.gap.com|
When you look at any artistic rendition of the chakra system you will notice how our first three chakras found in our lower body are represented in blazing autumnal colors while the energy centers in our upper body are cooler glacier like colors that mutate into white light beaming out of the crown of our head and into the cosmos.
Here's a little energy center overview:
Red: Our 1st chakra governs all emotional issues regarding our survival, home, food, work, money in addition to our relationship with our parents and children. This is a heavy center with pretty strong patterns to bull doze through.
Orange: 2nd chakra is where our creativity is born and where we store all our feelings related to our sexuality.
Yellow: Our 3rd chakra is where our will and desire to do anything in our life forms. When off balance our ego runs the show. Meaning we keep busy doing this or that, mostly obligation driven, while never tapping into whether we truthfully want to do it or not. You can experience the polar opposite feeling where you never put feet on anything. The key to balancing this center is living your dreams but making sure they are your dreams and not coming from someone else.
Green: I like to divide the 4th chakra into two chambers. The high heart chakra which I personally see above the heart center and below the throat is a pink spiraling light. This space governs our emotions related to our self care and self esteem. The low heart center located in between our chest radiates green light. This is where we choose to embrace or run away from engaging with the people in our world that we don't know so well yet see often. I'm referring to the person you don't know personally yet you see them in almost every yoga class you take or the person who serves you coffee nearly every morning.
Blue: Our 5th chakra is our throat center where our voice is born. The element of ether runs through it. When this center is clear we speak our truth not worrying how our words are received by others.
Indigo/Purple: Our 6th chakra is our third eye center. This is where our ability to see things as they really are originates. Our belief system is formed here. If you hold onto a concept such as never date someone younger than you, never wear socks with sandals or something else that's silly that you attach to realize that it comes from your third eye and how you perceive the world. The good news is you can change your belief system with a little self work. When you do you will see the world with more open and radiant eyes.
White light comes from our 7th chakra. This center is best visualized as an antenna that connects you to your highest self, the cosmos and beyond. You know how disappointing it is to turn on your laptop and connect to the Internet in what you just realized is a non wifi zone. When this happens you look around, see if anyone else is connected, you try again and if you don't connect you leave in search for a connection.
I believe staying connected to your highest self and beyond 24/7 is being in the yoga zone. Is this possible? To connect to your spirit all day? I hope so. This is where the Masters reside. Many enlightened beings have expressed we too can live in connected mode if we practice mindfulness and work on it daily.
|Rugged boots to toughen up this sleek Cirque d' Soleil look www.forever21.com|
I take color very seriously and I've always been mindful to wear color that not only goes with the flow of the season but also amplifies my mood. Notice my choice is pumpkin orange bringing attention to my 2nd chakra along with drab brown bringing attention to my shitty mood. I will admit that I was very sad when these photos were taken. My melancholy vibe came from my own mind. You see I've experienced great trauma with men throughout my life and now after a decade and more of feeling and healing it I've thankfully attracted an honorable husband. Although he loves and treats me with great respect my problem is I still bring my past fears and hurt into the present and screw up a great time. I'm sharing this because I'm done with this pattern of mine. Notice the ownership in my words. It has taken me a long while to genuinely get to this point. I can wholeheartedly say that having a mindfulness practice along with great mentors and friends for many years has helped to chip open my emotional healing process.
|Kali the fierce Hindu Goddess of change. I love her skull jewelry, perfect for Halloween. She is an excellent Goddess to call on to burn away old and out dated wounds associated with the 2nd chakra as well as usher in new life.|
This season I'm calling on the Goddess Kali to assist me in burning the victim mind pattern I've been holding on so tightly to. I want to move into what the Mayans call the New Age. The age of living in truth, love and light. Where any way we may have misinterpreted our highest self's purpose will be in our face to move into. Any white lying we've been doing to look good on the outside will be extinguished. As difficult and magical as this sounds I can't help to express how freeing and exciting this period of time is. Did you know the last day of the Mayan Calender is October 28th?
The time is now.
For a while I've been feeling something big is coming. I'm not sure what but I feel now more than ever change is on the horizon as the old world paradigm is dismantling, our wounds are being felt whether we like it or not and everything is realigning.
|My new hip pixie haircut which I'm loving from Gil Hidalgo & color by Jeff Saunders @Elaine's in Edgewater, NJ|
My second chakra has been the center of most of my healing for several years. Scorpio's are renowned to have reproductive organ issues that can flare up into a whole slew of conditions such as urinary tract infections, herpes, ovarian cysts and cancer, miscarriages... to experiencing painful periods. Whether you are a woman or a man, you feel the emotional pain that comes along with these conditions..
Year's ago I've experienced having an ovarian cyst which was so big I was encouraged to immediately have surgery to remove it. Although it was removed, each time my right ovary works during my moon cycle I'm doubled over in pain from the throbbing scar tissue moving around my working ovary. Not only is it painful but the stabbing pain triggers me into feeling something very bad is going to happen like I'm going to one day be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and die.
The fear of being unhealthy while alive mind pattern. Kali! Help me make this burn away too.
I'm sharing this because I know there are a lot of you ladies and men who know ladies that suffer with such issues.
|Vintage tunic from a boutique in Bombay, India|
What I've come to learn from my personal experience is that although the physical disease, the cyst, is no longer present within my body and I don't have cancer, the residue of the cyst's origin still lingers within my consciousness. As much as I feel the emotions that come up with my pain and breathe it in, the suffering never seems to completely go away.
Like a ghost it haunts me.
What keeps me inspired that I will crush this mind loop that keeps me in my pain body is hope. I feel hope is a fitting theme for the Harvest season. Hope carries the vibration of knowing I will have exactly enough of what I need. Isn't this the time of the year when hope and fear of what's next collide?
The 2nd chakra is not only where our intimate sexual relations reside but also the energy center from where our creativity sits. If you're working towards clearing your 2nd chakra you may also want to ask yourself if your tapping into your creative self.
|Necklace and earrings gifted by Amit.|
My ego tricks me all the time to think that I'm so creative. I find my ego reminding me that I'm being creative when I guide yoga classes, cook nice dinners for my family or I'm changing the flower arrangement in the vase on the window sill.
Our ego's don't want us to move in deeper and to play with the lighter and highest side of ourselves. We are more creative than our practical mind could imagine. Our ego is quick to put our creativity into a box like we do when we meet someone new. Isn't it easy to meet a house wife and see her as a house wife and that's all? To perceive a chef as only a chef and a police officer is only a police officer.
|The cape I'm sitting on is from Really Great Things, New York City|
So how do we manage our very loud ego, heal our wounds and move into our highest potential?
Remember my advice from earlier... keep it simple.
Slowing down and grounding like I'm doing here allows us to pay attention to the moment at hand. Here is where we can start practicing cultivating mindfulness.
When we're connected we can see the bread crumbs on our path and be led back home.
|Smokey quartz cocktail ring. An excellent crystal to wear to ward of negative energy.|
As you move into the light try not to ignore your shadow side when it calls for your attention to breathe in and heal as well as keeping the skeletons in the past where they belong.
|Knee highs www.aerosoles,com|
After all the internal washing and rinsing from the seated twists, agonizing ankle to knee hip opening along with forward bending, resting on my back while lifting my weary legs towards the cloudy sky shifts my heavy lower body energy and moves it up and out towards my higher energy centers.
Softly interlacing my hands as I ground the back of my arms and shoulders into the earth allows my legs to fold over my head in plough pose.
I suggest doing this pose with 1 or more, I like 3 folded Mexican blankets under my shoulders and arms for support. Since I'm out in nature taking these pictures I'm not featuring the blankets yet the soft miniature golf station along with my wool cape under me provide some cushioning for my shoulders.
Here is a beginner to intermediate variation of shoulder stand. Notice the bent knees, doing so makes my legs feel lighter. Also note how my hands are supporting my back pockets while my lower spine is dog tilting.
Here my legs are extended which is a slightly more difficult variation however notice how my legs are slightly leaning towards my head. Doing this takes some weight off my wrists.
Here is a more advanced variation of shoulder stand. Notice how my hands are now supporting my low back ribs. Soften your chin away from your chest. Here I'm focusing on lengthening my tail bone up towards the sky while moving my thighs away from my face so the creases in my front pockets begin to iron out.
Here is where the lower body's cobwebs gets a little extra sweeping and a few more rounds of fresh breath to clean house.
One hand is supporting my sacrum, our middle back pocket while the opposite arm is extended and grounding down for balance and support.
Notice how the twisting theme found in the seated postures came back.
After doing both sides come back to plough pose with bent knees to ease your spine and center.
To come out of this press your hands into the earth and push them down along with the back of your arms as you slowly move your hips back to the ground.
While you're on your backside during this posture series be sure to never look from side to side. Keep your gaze centered.
Come into a neutralizing pose like this one where your feet are positioned slightly wider than your hips and your knees knock in to touch.
Place your hands on your belly and watch the gentle rise and fall of your breath. Doing this will keep your mind in the moment.
Looking at this picture I can say it worked. I look lighter.
Practice paying attention, being brave enough to hear your truth and move your wounds into the light.
This is an exciting time in earth's history. We have an entirely new and improved age to experience with a lighter consciousness. Enjoy it!