Ancient practices for a modern world
Lammas / Lughnasadh - 1st August
Late summer is an important transitional season, a time to re-centre, create stability, balance and comfort, in preparation for the cooler yin stages of autumn and winter.
In yoga we focus on core stability, connecting to the earth and feeling centred.
The first harvest; and the corn is being brought in from the field and apples are ripening. During the season of harvest, we take time to enjoy the feast that nature has laid out before us.
Although it is high summer, autumn is visible on the horizon. The sun is gradually waning and losing its power; the days are getting shorter. The energy of the Earth is changing from: fire to
water; yang to yin; outer to inner, sun to moon. if we can flow with this change of energy, and gradually shift from outward pursuits to a more inward focus, then it can be a wonderful way of keeping our life in balance.
we all have a harvest and now is a good time to consider what you are harvesting and have been investing in. Look back over the year at where you have been putting your energy. Your harvest may be the fruition of a project, hobby or work achievement. Perhaps it’s that you’ve managed to maintain a regular yoga or movement practice. Maybe, it is literally a harvest from your garden. Now is the time to reflect on your efforts and celebrate what you have achieved
The reaping of the harvest is associated with the theme of sacrifice with the grain-harvest in its passage from corn to loaf of bread. This is a good time to consider what needs to be sacrificed to ensure the success of your harvest. Sometimes to move forward with your passion, you must let something go.
What are the seeds that you wish to store over the autumn and winter, ready for planting out next spring? The autumn and winter aren’t the best time for action, but they are the perfect time to dream and make plans.
And why not in tradition of harvest, bake bread!
During the period of first harvest, we remember to say thank you to Mother Earth. One way of thanking the earth is to treat her with kindness and respect by embodying the yogic principle of non-harm (ahimsa). We can do this by considering what impact our actions are having upon the environment and aim to act in a way that does least harm. Some choose to be vegetarian or vegan, and some just cut down on meat and eat more vegetarian meals, some may lessen the use of plastic etc…. If we all make some small changes to the way we live, then environmentally it can add up.
Another way to thank Mother Earth is to simply notice the beauty that spreads before us at harvest. We can get so caught up in the busyness of our lives that we forget to look around us and appreciate the beauty of the season.
Lughnasadh is the Celtic name for Lammas, time of the 'first fruits' of harvest. Lugh (Lleu) is an ancient god associated with the time of harvest, horse and livestock fairs, often held on hilltops.
Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, "loaf-mass"), also known as Loaf Mass Day, is a Christian holiday celebrated in some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere on 1 August.
Our yoga practice in summer to autumn can focus on cultivating contentment, gratitude, happiness, foundation, feeling centred, connecting with the earth, and rooting down.
Use Mula Bandha (pelvic floor) and Uddiyana Bandha (upward abdominal lock) for stability, strength, and focus. Side bends and poses that allow you to surrender to the earth are great at this time of year.
Bring in a more lunar energy to your practice such as moon salute variations – moon salute, lunar salutes, water salutes, earth salutes.
Exercise at this time of year should be slightly less energetic than full summer, concentrate on building muscle tone, core stability and balance. Strengthen your legs which are your support and connection to the earth.
Boost your lymph by doing inversions or just by having your legs up the wall.
The element for late summer is EARTH and this rules the Stomach and Spleen, the two primary organs of digestion.
The STOMACH not only receives the food we eat but it also processes emotional and mental food. - think of the phrase, ‘food for thought.’
The SPLEEN is the largest lymphoid organ and responsible for filtering blood. It plays a major part in our immune and lymphatic system, by removing bacteria and waste, releasing iron back into the blood system.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed to be the invigorator, lifting our energy and spirit, affecting our mood and health.
Health & Lifestyle
Look after your immune system to ward off infections and maintain a healthy digestive system so it doesn’t have to work overtime to do its job.
The colour for this season is Yellow, so ensure you eat foods in season such as peaches, squash, peppers, apricots, all of which contain anti-oxidant beta-carotene and vitamins C & E, essential nourishment for the immune system.
Late Summer is a damp time of year so avoid processed or stale foods. Food should be cooked on a low flame or sautéed to bring out the sweetness of the food.
Include lemon, parsley, celery, and drink plenty of green and jasmine tea.
Make some time for yourself after the busy summer holidays. Take a step back and just find some balance and harmony in every day.
Celtic Tree Wisdom for Summer to Autumn
Go for a walk and notice any colour changes in the trees. Actually look. We spend so much time now always wanting to capture an image of something, that we have forgotten to really absorb something into us through our eyes and other senses.
Spending time around trees is the perfect way to connect to the abundance of the season of first fruits and harvest. When you’re out walking look out for the signs of the fruitfulness of trees: acorns forming on oak trees; conkers on horse-chestnut trees; berries on
the hawthorn tree. Mindfully observe a tree that you feel drawn to with an open-mind and curiosity. Use your five senses to enjoy and appreciate its fruitfulness.
Absorb the image in your mind so that you can recall in within your yoga practice. Being in the fields, amongst the trees in the woods, the sun catching the eater of a stream. It will uplift your yoga and bringing a different essence to the practice. It will also help you to strengthen your connection to the world around you. Yoga is union.