Our bodies and minds reflect the seasonal shifts happening around us; we can align with the peak energy of each season to pause and reflect. Aligning with the qualities of the season allows us to honor them, simultaneously staying grounded and harmonious.
Summer Solstice is the accumulation of a gradual building of light. It is the longest, brightest day of the year a time to honor solar consciousness. With the sun at the highest point in the sky, we embrace warmer temperatures and outdoor activities. We are also gifted with a higher-functioning agni, digestive fire. These shifts can feel like a relief following the cooler, darker days of spring and winter. It’s not uncommon to reach up towards the sky or lift your face towards the sun; we embody the warmth of this season by exalting our bodies, lengthening and opening the side bodies and opening the chest, literally receiving the sun’s energy.
This makes it an excellent time of year to externalize intentions, take action and engage in fulfilling tasks and relationships. Lean into your strengths as you are strengthened by the warmth and power of the fire element. Visualize the fire of your digestion like a campfire. It must have a structure around it to ensure that the fire can thrive, while making sure it doesn’t grow and burn uncontrollably.
One way to create this structure is by balancing the heat and activity of the season with cooling foods and practices so you are comfortable and energetic. Mother Nature is so intelligent that she provides us exactly the food we need to stay vibrant each season. In summer, focus on incorporating juicy, sweet, hydrating foods such as berries, melons, zucchini, coconuts and coconut water. Spend time in or near water if possible, and make sure to air out your physical body with side-body stretches, gentle twists and wide-legged forward folds.
As summer’s fire dwindles down and its activity wanes, we are left with ash: subtle, dry and cool. These qualities govern the fall season and are associated with the air and ether elements. This season is all about inward-facing prana. What fall may lack in external energy, it makes up for with introspection, reflection and self-connection. Our sensitivity towards spirit is highest this time of year, as anything excessive or undigested is released. We are more susceptible and receptive to change. Things slow down, dry up, let go and move within. We observe this process in nature as trees shed their leaves and embrace their bareness. However, right before the leaves fall, there is a huge burst of prana: the brightest, most colorful leaves of the year.
This wisdom symbolizes Autumn Equinox perfectly. A balance point between seasons with equal amounts of light and dark, we feel transition strongly and drastically in fall. We are in a liminal space and asked to shed what is no longer serving us, so that we are not bogged down when it is time to settle and sustain ourselves in winter. By releasing attachment to things that are outdated, we are better able to access our spiritual and creative gifts this time of year.
Nature recognizes the immense effort it takes to let go and move within, so she nurtures this pranic demand by offering foods that will stabilize us. Focus on cooking meals with nourishing oils and favor soft, dense foods this time of year, like root vegetables, sweet potatoes and squash. Warming spices like cinnamon and ginger can do wonders, too. (Pumpkin spice is all the hype in fall for good reason!) Enjoy rhythmic movement and emphasize the lower third of the body in your movement practice to promote warmth and suppleness.
BALANCING HERBAL INFUSION COOL + CALM INFUSION
• 3 Tbsp tulsi
• 2 Tbsp peppermint
• 1 Tbsp marshmallow
Infusion time: overnight* A cold infusion keeps you cool and allows extra nutrients and oils to be absorbed into the tea blend. Place herbs into a clean quart-sized jar or French press, fill with cold filtered water and cover. Steep overnight and strain out the loose herbs when ready. Enjoy!
*Ice can weaken the agni.
Photo by Chris Lawton.
Originally published in Summer + Fall 2022 Issue.
Marissa Angeletti, M.A., LPC, is a somatic therapist, Ayurvedic counselor and therapeutic movement educator andpractitioner. She is committed to sharing the spirit-forward practices of Ayurveda and somaticsthrough divine daily rituals. The insight that comes from listening to the body and its innate wisdom is incredibly powerful, and Marissa believes that cultivating a more harmonious connection to the body creates a ripple effect for harmonious connectionselsewhere. She has been published inBody, Movement, and Dance in PsychotherapyandYoga Alliance.Marissa has been featured on The Spirit Sessions podcast with Katie Silcox and is a member of the Shakti School faculty. Find out more at inlokahmotion.com and @inlokahmotion