Our ancestors, who were in close contact with nature and its cycles, were highly aware of the importance of changes in nature. Being in tune with the latest happenings in nature was what brought them peace and harmony in mind, body and soul and this is what it can still do for us in this day and age.
Equinox and Solstice
There are two major events that occur whilst the earth travels around the sun, which influence nature and our lives. These are the equinox and solstice. An equinox is a time when the sun is nearest or spends the same amount of time at the horizon or the equatorial plane, giving equal lengths to day and night; whilst a solstice is a time when the sun is furthest from the equatorial plane, causing the longest nights and days.
Both, equinox and solstice happen only two times a year (spring and autumn equinox and summer and winter solstice). Our ancestors used to say that after the autumn equinox the sun starts to get weaker and weaker and this kills the sun king, leading to shorter and shorter days. Then during the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year), the sun is born anew and starts to grow in its power. At spring equinox, the sun becomes stronger, resulting in equal lengths of days and nights. Its power grows until in the middle of the summer when it reaches its highest peak which is the longest day of the year (summer solstice). Then the sun slowly starts to lose its power, leading to the autumn equinox, when day and night are equally as long once again. This cycle repeats again and again, year after year….
Between equinoxes and solstices, seasons come to life and each season offers something different. Spring is connected to new and fresh growth. Winds help to spread seeds around the surface, so new life can emerge. In summer the element of fire gets stronger and the sun gives power and energy to the plants so they can grow and mature. The autumn is characterised by picking our fruits and crops we planted in spring. We celebrate and cherish our mother earth and remember our ancestors, who passed away, like the beginning of autumn when nature comes to rest and everything is slowly dying. Winter is linked to the element of water, which comes when the first snowflakes cover the earth and it is the time for us to turn inward for reflection, rest and restoration, and to deal with our emotions.
Just like each year has a cycle, each day also has a cycle. During different periods of each day the predominance of certain elements changes. When we tune into the energy that is strongest during a certain time of the day, we can significantly improve our efficiency and let go of stress.
In the morning your body and mind might feel a bit heavier due to the predominance of the water and earth elements. This is a great time to engage in gentle movement/exercise and to have light food. Towards the middle of the day, with the increased power of the sun, the fire element arises. This stimulates your digestion, making it a great time to have strong lunch and rest. Afternoon, with the active elements of air and ether, represents a perfect time to engage in creative activities as well as to relax. Then once again the cycle starts anew with the predominance of water and earth, representing a perfect time to calm down, unwind and prepare for sleep. It is very important to be asleep latest by 10pm as this is when the element of fire awakens again, resulting in action. When this fire element occurs during sleep it actually helps you to cleanse your body internally, so you wake up refreshed and filled with energy. With the predominance of ether and air elements, the early morning represents the best time to meditate and to turn inward, rejuvenate and to get ready for a balanced new start. To read how to create your daily routine, please refer to the section on Ayurveda.
Daily cycles by hours:
|6–10am||Element of Earth and Water||6–10pm||Element of Earth and Water|
|10am–2pm||Element of Fire||10pm–2am||Element of Fire|
|2–6pm||Element of Air and Ether||2–6am||Element of Air and Ether|
When you observe these cycles and start to adjust your daily schedules according to the daily/seasonal elements present, you benefit enormously. Your body gets into a healthy natural routine, which allows it to get a proper rest and to rejuvenate deeply, consequently leading to more energy, better focus and creative ideas, whilst at the same time feeling more relaxed.
In the following articles, we will explore each season separately with recipes and useful hints for activities that will make you get the best out of each season.