The Winter Solstice is upon us - it’s official, we’ve made it to the most yin time of the year. We in the West tend to consider this point the “beginning of winter” considering our coldest days tend to be in January and February. Energetically, however, we’ve been declining since the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year. For some, the decline into yin is welcomed, and for others it is wholly avoided.
Whether you love winter or dread it, one thing is certain: our society does not winter well. With the craziness of the holiday season, it's even more important to embrace the quiet, still, yin-time and settle in for a chance to rest and renew.
Take a look outside: the trees are bare, the water is starting to freeze the earth, the animals are less active or in hibernation. It’s colder and darker, so our instinct tells us to cozy on up to the fire and be still. A farmer doesn’t work his land in the winter - he prepares it for rest so that it can be fertile and ready for new growth in the warmer months. However we can, we should be doing the same for our bodies, minds, and spirits.
TIPS FOR STAYING WELL THIS WINTER
1. Make more time for YIN. Lucky for you, we at SHIFT YOGA have many beautiful opportunities for you to be more yin. When you’re feeling the urge to be still, maybe swap a more vigorous flow for a slower, quieter flow or yin practice.
2. Winter like the Danes. Practice HYGGE: don your favorite fuzzy socks and get cozy by the fire. This also means less screen time and more quiet time.
3. Eat warm, nourishing, seasonal foods. Options like cabbage, sweet potatoes and other root veggies, lemons, brussels sprouts, nourishing soups, stews, and broth - choose what makes you feel warm inside.
4. Listen to Mother Nature - she knows best! It gets light later and dark earlier for a reason. It's time to come inside and REST! Tune in to your internal body clock and sleep a little later, retire for bed a little earlier, and slow down wherever possible - even if only for a few quiet moments.
5. Cover up! Make sure you are well prepared with hats, scarves, gloves, and warm shoes every time you venture outside. There are areas of the body, such as the back of the neck, that easily allow for cold and wind to enter causing seasonal sickness such as the cold and flu. If nothing else - WEAR A SCARF!
6. Get out in nature. Bundle up, get outside somewhere away from the hustle and bustle, and enjoy the season! Notice the natural stillness around you - soak it in.