Everything is a balance, and while we tend to only recognize the extremes, these extreme moments would not exist without the other. We cannot experience the power of joy, without knowing sadness, the notions of excitement without experiencing boredom, and no one truly knows the strength of love, until they have encountered loneliness. The same goes for the seasons. While we tend to emphasize the glory of summer, the easy laid back days, the warmth, and lush green - especially here in Vermont - winter has its importance to. We cannot have light without darkness, and while winter is not an easy time for anyone, it offers its own breadth of lessons.
Winter is not a season that is easy on anyone, including the plants and animals. The days are short, the nights so long. We see little sunlight, minimal growth, and experience the deepest levels of darkness. The earth is cold, and very still. It is a time for hibernation, and going inward. A time to go inward. To plant new seeds of awareness, and ground oneself in order to set a solid foundation in one’s life. It is a time for contemplation, and manifestation. It is a time to instill new discipline, structure, and routine in order to fulfill one’s goals, allowing them to reach their greatest potential, and be the best versions of themselves possible.
However, as said before, winter is not easy. Instilling new discipline, starting positive routines are not easy steps to take, and never simple. But yoga is a helpful tool in guiding one towards what they need. There are many yogic tools and steps one can take in order to begin the healing process of moving towards the light such as mediation, journaling, pranayama, asana, and relaxation. Practice daily meditation. If you are just beginning, set a timer for only a few minutes (3-5), over time you can increase the time. By practicing meditation it allows one to go inward, contemplating their deepest questions, in a calm, clear state of mind. Take some time for journaling. By writing, one slows their thoughts down enough more deeply understand what they are thinking and how their thoughts, emotions, and actions relate, allowing for deeper contemplation. Take the time after journaling to sit in meditation once again and manifest whatever it is in your life you may need in order to become a better version of yourself. Pranayama are yogic breathing techniques meant to purify, calm, and balance the body and mind. These techniques not only aid in concentration in meditation, but purify the lungs, and calm the mind. By practicing asana (physical yoga practice) one is able to release physical, mental, and energetic blockages throughout the body, not only relieving stress, tension, and discomfort, but also promoting a healthy state of mind. Relaxation is key. It is essential. By consciously taking the time to lie completely still and relax each part of the body, and then the mind, one is able to let the body and mind go, allowing it time for healing and restoration. All of these steps are healthy to begin implementing into ones weekly if not daily routine, and in combination with a healthy diet, practicing ahimsa (compassion) towards all beings, and a whole lot of smiling, it can be easier to ward off those winter blues.
For more on the relation of yoga and winter, how to wash the winter blues away and move towards the light, begin a healthy routine, and feel more grounded and structured, join us on February 24th, 2018 for our Heart of Winter Yoga Workshop: Moving Towards the Light. The workshop is complete with guided group mediation, breathing techniques (pranayama), physical yoga practice (asana), yoga music and chanting (kirtan), a healing sound bath, winter dinner (vegan soup, salad, tea, and dessert), and open healing sessions (including ancient Hawaiian massage, tarot card and crystal consultations, and reiki).