By Jane Clapham, Dru Meditation tutor
Yes, Autumn has arrived again. As Brits, we often approach autumn with mixed feelings – it’s a bit like marmite – you either loved it or you hate it. On one hand, it’s the romantic season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’. On the other hand, it signals the end of the summer and the onset of the colder winter months – and so can be depressing for many of us.
Dru meditation is one of the most effective ways of keeping you feeling cheerful, no matter what the season (or the weather!) When we move from summer into autumn, the energy changes from being very yang (male, hot, strong, fiery) to become more yin (female, soft, wet, colder). As the energy changes outside us, we can use meditation to help us adjust internally, so that we can appreciate the gifts that autumn brings, rather than mourn the passing of summer.
Autumn is a time to slow down and literally gather the harvest of the year so far. This might mean pausing to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned this year. It might mean taking time out for a retreat in new surroundings and nurturing ourselves with relaxation and therapies. It’s a great time to start a new yoga or meditation class, following the new school term. It can mark a time of change for the positive – and meditation can help us create the right attitude about the changing seasons. If we approach autumn in the right way, it can bring us a sense of fulfilment which we can carry forward into the winter.
During this season, getting enough rest is important, and doing a daily savasana after your yoga, and before your meditation practice will help you easily make the transition from summer to winter.
Lie in the supine position (on your back) and cover yourself with a blanket to ensure that you are warm, as the body temperature does drop during relaxation. Arms should be placed slightly away from the body, palms uppermost. Feet should be shoulder-width apart to ensure a good flow of energy to the legs. Before closing your eyes, raise your head to look towards your toes and check that the body is aligned symmetrically. Lower your head and release any tension around your neck by gently rotating it from side to side before finally allowing it to rest in a central position. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing, allowing yourself to breathe in accordance with your body’s needs. Give yourself the sanction to be still, to be silent and to relax.
Aim to lie still for at least ten minutes. Try not to move, as it is the stillness which will help your body to relax. After the ten minutes, gently become aware of your body and the ground underneath you, then stretch and open your eyes when you’re ready.
Many meditations in the Dru tradition activate the seat of compassion and inner joy, the heart chakra. With an open heart, embracing the changing seasons becomes easier, and a cause for celebration rather than regret. On the Dru Meditation training course, I encourage students to always start and finish their meditation practice by bringing their awareness to the heart. This is very centering and grounding and in my experience helps them to integrate their meditation practice better into their day-to-day life. Try this 3 minute Dru heart meditation and fully embrace the coming of autumn!
Sitting either on the floor or on an upright chair, extend your back up so that you’re nice and tall. On the in-breath lengthen your spine, on the out-breath relax slightly.
Bring your awareness to your heart centre at the front of your chest. As you breathe in, feel the energy in your heart chakra expanding, and as you exhale feel it spreading throughout your body. Continue to breathe gently, on each exhalation imagining that the energy of your heart is growing, filling every cell of your body. Imagine yourself being saturated with the energy of compassion, hope and joy, and allow this feeling to settle for a few moments before you bring your awareness to your body once again.
Stretch and open your eyes, ready for another beautiful autumn day.
For details of Dru meditation retreats and training courses, visit druworldwide.com