Well dear friends it seems that Winter is well and truly upon us. There is a chill in the air (brrrr), the days are short and the nights long with darkness creeping in later in the mornings and earlier in the evenings as mother nature is making her retreat inward. Winter is a beautiful time of the year and although we might need an extra layer (or five) when we head out for a stroll, there is so much of this season to embrace and, dare I say, even enjoy! So pop on your favourite woolies, grab a steamy hot cuppa and a bowl of soup and settle in to find out how to make Winter work for you this year…
Winter is our time for hibernation, for slowing down the pace of life from the brighter and sunnier months so that we can rest, rejuvenate and replenish our energy. It’s the season to fill your own cup more than ever, to refuel your energy tank and to charge your batteries on a deep level. This doesn’t mean a cheeky sleep in or going to bed early one night but rather a sustained and ongoing commitment to rest. Trust the body’s natural call during this time for more easily digested warm foods and drinks, for more sleep (yes please!) and time simply just ‘being’. This may require you to resist the urge to fill your days with busyness, jobs, catch ups and ‘stuff’ which we have so often become accustomed to. But if we are able to create this space, in the quiet it offers we can notice what arises from within and learn more about ourselves on a deeper level. Through listening and receiving the messages from within, we can connect with the heart and ensure that we are aligned with our true path in life and our deeper callings. As always, be gentle and kind with yourself this season as in all and know that you are supported throughout (Five Element Healing).
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective Winter is the most yin of all seasons, its energy is dark, slow, cool and inward and reflects the notion of hibernation. It is aligned with the water element and the meridians of the kidney and urinary bladder. Nourishing these from a yin yoga perspective includes poses such as butterfly, caterpillar, sphinx and dragonfly. If these are safely in your practice you may like to include them a little more over the colder months or set yourself a challenge to do at least one yin pose a day throughout this season. Just a few mindful minutes in a carefully supported shape can have truly positive benefits.
In your yoga practice you may also feel called to move at a more leisurely and considered pace and if this is the case be sure to honour that call. Your sun salutations may be slower as you look to smooth out the edges between the shapes or even take an extra breath as needed. Using ujjayi breath is beautiful and warming and including restorative poses such as viparita karani (legs up the wall) in your practice are wonderful for replenishing energy and is great to do at the end of busy day. A nice, long savasana is also on the cards (hoorah!), perhaps snuggled in under a blanket or two to keep you warm and toasty.
So this Winter lovely friends, find rest and rejuvenation within yourself and rejoice in the dormancy of this season. You deserve this time or reflection and quiet solitude and be sure to nurture yourself as best as you can, not just to see what light is resting deep inside but also to allow for greater growth and expansion in the sunnier months to come.