In 2020 at 03:50 am on March 20 (in Ireland and the U.K.) the sun was aligned directly with the equator and the axis of the earth was perpendicular to the sun’s rays. This creates a phenomenon where in all parts of the world there are approximately 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. We get the name equinox from the Latin equus = equal and nox = night. And it marks the official change of season and the first day of spring.
A time of renewal, rebirth, renovation…
Throughout times and traditions, the spring equinox has been a marker for cleansing and fertility. A time to identify and ‘root-out’ old habits, patterns and beliefs, and plant the seeds of the new; as well as starting to witness the new shoots of those seeds we planted back when winter began at the hibernal solstice on the 22 December 2019.
Let’s not forget the meaning held implicit within the word ‘equinox’, which is about the equality or balance of light and dark, and this special time calls us to find this sacred balance within ourselves.
Right now, in March 2020, the world is in a state of chaos and upheaval. In Spain, the government declared a State of Emergency and since the 16th of March we have been confined to our homes. In the U.K. and Ireland there is still some public liberty, but many people disagree with the government policy and call for stricter, clearer guidelines. There is much fear and speculation circulating and many people are frustrated and anxious. This is the same in many countries and it’s apparent that it doesn’t matter what the external circumstances are, it’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.
For me, personally, it feels like an opportunity to reflect, reset, rest and recharge. I feel positive, optimistic and inspired. For this reason I have been offering free yoga classes in Spanish since the day of the Equinox, Friday 20th March and during the following 10 days on my page Andi Lunamor, on Facebook Live. The videos are there and can be accessed at any time. I am working on content for my YouTube channel, Andi Lunamor and will soon be uploading more videos in English and Spanish. I give yoga classes where the focus is on exploring your whole self and growing in consciousness and also guided meditations. We have the opportunity to harness the energy of the emerging spring season, get rid of old patterns, create new healthier habits and find balance within ourselves.
There are many ways to harness this energy in our everyday lives. Here are a few ideas which can allow us to connect with the wonderful energy of renewal and re-growth which are on offer at this magical time.
The equinox and other turning points in the year, such as the New Moon each month are great times to cleanse your-self of negative patterns and this simple ritual can help:
- On the day of the equinox (or New Moon etc.), sit before your altar or any space that feels sacred and special to you. It can be out in nature where you are surrounded by the elements or at home, using a small table or shelf where you can place something to represent each of the elements: a candle for fire; a feather, incense or even an empty bowl for air; a glass of water; and any stone, rock or crystal for earth. You can place photos of loved ones, a vase of flowers or other special objects in your sacred space.
- Allow yourself to become mindful of the thoughts, habits or behaviours you want to release, and write each one down on a separate piece of paper.
- Place a glass or metal bowl or pot in front of you. Then take each paper individually, unfold it, then touch it to the candle to set it on fire. As it burns, hold the intention of this habit/pattern/behaviour being cleansed, and allow it to fall back into the bowl/pot as it burns. Repeat this with the rest of your papers.
- Once all the papers have been burned, say thank you to the universe for accepting your negative practices. The ash should be deposited back to the earth to close the process and end the ritual.
Creating Conscious Intentions:
Although the winter solstice is the time traditionally associated with intention setting, the spring equinox is also a fruitful time for this and is especially effective after our mental spring clean, since we have the space to allow the new to take root. In the yogic tradition intention is called SANKALPA
- Sit in a quiet place, maybe in front of your altar or if possible in nature.
- Connect with your heart and ask your heart what it needs in this moment so that you can feel more at peace.
- Be mindful of the new habits, patterns or behaviours you want to nurture and take root.
- Allow your mind and heart to work together to create a phrase which encompasses your needs.
- Write this phrase down, in positive, affirmative and present. As you write, allow your vision to expand and encompass the feeling of how you will be changed once you have embodied this new way of being.
- Once you feel like you’re done, close your eyes and imagine the returning of the sun and the light, with gentle spring rain to nourish and nurture your new intentions.
- The paper can be buried in the earth and if you like you can sow a seed or bulb and watch your intentions germinate and grow.
- Say thank you to the universe for facilitating this process.
Alternate Nostril Breathing is a great way to bring balance between the masculine and feminine that exists in all of us; the yang and the yin; the light and the dark; the left-brain and right brain; the scientific and the creative; the material and the spiritual. It is a great exercise in these times of uncertainty to bring calm to the mind and the whole being.
- Ensure you are seated comfortably, a meditation cushion or pillow is great for this, with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Or you can use a straight backed chair if you prefer.
- Close your eyes. Observe yourself from within and take a few slow, deep breaths, breathing in and out through the nose and all the way down into the belly.
- When you feel sufficiently relaxed, prepare your hands: the left thumb and index finger touch and the other fingers stretch out, with the back of the hand resting on the thigh, this is called Chin Mudra (or Gyan Mudra), the right index and middle fingers are pressed into the palm (Vishnu Mudra)
- After the next full exhalation, use your right thumb to close your right nostril, breathe in through the left nostril for a count of 4, then pinch your left nostril closed with the right ring finger and hold the breath briefly. Release your right nostril, and slowly exhale for a count of 8.
- Reverse the process and now inhale through the open right nostril for a count of 4, close both nostrils, hold the breath briefly, then exhale on the left for a count of 8.
- This is one cycle and can be repeated 5 to 8 times observing sensations throughout the process.
- Once you feel comfortable with the practice, you can hold the breath for a count of 8.
- The final and optimum ratio is 4:16:8, inhale:hold:exhale. This should only be explored when you have been practicing for a few weeks.
This PRANAYAMA exercise can be used daily to great effect, and is an excellent way to prepare for meditation.
Vrksasana – Tree Posture
The posture known as the ‘Tree Pose’, or Vrksasana, is one of the best ways to achieve grounding during this time of re-birth and renewal:
- Stand comfortably, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed. Keep your gaze steady on a fixed point.
- Allow your weight to shift to your left foot, and slowly bring your right foot to any comfortable position on the inside of your left leg (avoiding the knee-joint). If you can comfortably reach your inner thigh while maintaining your balance, this is the optimum position for this posture.
- Be mindful of your overall posture, lengthening your spine and softening your shoulders. Hips should be level directly below the shoulders. Ensure your foot is steady by firmly pressing the corners and sole into position. Although you will feel movements in the foot as it works to keep you balanced.
- Once you are sure you have achieved a comfortable, stable posture, bring your hands together at your heart in prayer position.
- Hold for one minute if possible; if not, do whatever’s comfortable for you. Your breathing should be steady, slow and deep throughout.
- After you have held the pose, return both feet to a solid position and take several deep breaths before repeating on the other side.
The spring equinox really is full of bountiful promise, and just waiting for you to harness this cleansing, nurturing energy.
If you have any comments or questions you can leave them in the space below, or contact me via email for a private consultation.
With love and blessings, Namaste.