The autumn equinox, considered by indigenous cultures to be one of the most important days of the year, is soon upon us, falling this year on Sunday 23rd September. Kathryn McCusker explains the importance of this day and how we can celebrate this powerful time with Kundalini yoga, meditation, music and mantra, and the healing power of sound.
Today is the last day of my summer holiday. Here on Salina, my favourite island getaway, the harvest is in full swing and the workers are busy picking the grapes that make the wonderful sweet Malvasia wine the Aeolian islands are famous for.
Harvest time heralds the change of seasons, as summer gives way to autumn. Here in the northern hemisphere, the autumn equinox will soon be upon us. Falling on Sunday 23rd September, the autumn equinox is when the day and night are again equal in length, and the sun and moon find their equilibrium.
Traditionally, indigenous cultures celebrated the equinoxes and the solstices with dance, meditation and ceremony and recognised these events as the four most important days of the year. Being aware of these poignant times in nature and how they influence us helps us to tune in and connect with the natural rhythms of our own bodies and psyches.
Personally, I feel this harvest season is a chance for us to reap what we’ve sown, then cleanse, reflect, restore and refocus. As we transition into autumn, we turn our attention within and prepare for the more reflective and cooler months ahead. It’s a good time to find our own balance, and to finish up old projects or plans and plant our own seeds for changes we want to manifest in our lives. It’s also the perfect opportunity to release old habits and patterns that are no longer serving us and nourish the body and mind in preparation for winter.
To celebrate this autumn equinox, and to help you focus on and benefit from this powerful transitioning time, I will be leading a special workshop combining Kundalini yoga, music, mantra, meditation and gong at triyoga Camden. This is the third in a series of four workshops I am leading this year around the equinoxes and solstices, and I look forward to sharing it with you.
I am excited that my friend, fellow Kundalini yogi enthusiast and musician, Kat Drake, will be joining me and playing her beautiful music to support us during this workshop. The power of sound is an important healing tool and an important part of Kundalini yoga, which we will use at this time to raise our own vibrations.
During the workshop we will practise mantras to awaken the life forces of the human soul. The Sanskrit word mantra means “mental liberation”. This sound, or combination of sounds, sets the mind free from its worldly conditioning and limitations, though we can chant in any language, anything that our heart desires. Through chanting mantras, we are harnessing the power of not only our breath but also our own vocal resonance.
The workshop will also end with a beautiful meditative gong bath. The gong is the most sublime instrument of the yogi. It is a musical instrument, a healing tool for the nervous system and a cauldron in which you can create alchemical blends of qualities that open and develop the Inner Self. The sound of the gong creates deep relaxation, releases you from the torrent of thoughts and stimulates the glandular system to a higher level of functioning.
I look forward to sharing these practices with you and harnessing the power of the autumn equinox, the power of the harvest full moon and the healing power of sound.