In the cold winter months, the days are short and the natural world is still, retreated, depleted and restoring at root level – nourishing its potential for the livelier seasons to come. While our busy lives go on regardless, it pays to manage our energy in a similar way. Invest it well and spend it wisely.
It’s a great time to retreat inwards and give yourself regular you-time. At this time of year we become more aware of the relevance of daily mindfulness.
This season, the yin season, is likened to the Water element (in TCM) – the clear, reflective yin element that flows around obstacles and always finds its level no-matter how it’s contained or what resistance it meets.
It helps to mirror the qualities of water in our attitude where possible. Let go a little. Go with the flow. Resist less. Relax more. Look for an approach that allows us to feel leveled no-matter the external forces in our life right now.
‘I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking. Swim in silence and the truth comes to me…‘ Albert Einstein
Practice a daily still-time and tune into our inner compass as nature does at this time of year.
Meditate, vision and tune-in to where you are at in your body and mind. There’s a nourishing quality to being in that space.
For as little as 5 or 10 minutes a day. Like floating on water between sets. Like sitting on chairlifts between runs.
When settling into still time, it helps to think of the surface of the mind being like the surface of a lake. As you steady your breath and the wind eases, the lake becomes still and clear.
In that mental state we are better able to see things for what they are, discern our truths, vision for our future and set intentions for the month and year ahead.
‘Take 5 minutes to center yourself. If you don’t have 5 minutes then you don’t deserve the life of your dreams…‘ Oprah Winfrey
Winter Yoga Practice
Balanced winter yoga involves flowing mindful movement with the support of diaphramatic breath. Moving in gentle flows, such as moving meditations and deepening the practice with repetition and ease and using gravity, props and supports for deep release.
Use shapes and postures that support the endocrine system (hormone producing system), induce a state of relaxation, alleviate stress and tension and target the kidney and bladder meridians because the water organs – kidney and bladder – are looking for attention at this time of year.
Practice calming Inversions which calm and support the nervous system and stimulate the pineal, pituitary glands and crown chakra energy centre such as Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand/Legs up the wall), Halasana (plough), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward dog)
Practice gentle forward bends to stretch and release the back of the body to target points along the bladder meridian such as – Balasana (childs pose) -Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) – Tarasana (star pose)
Practice therapeutic backbends to stretch and release the front of the body to target points along the Kidney meridian and the adrenal gland such as – Salamba Bhujangasana (sphinx pose) – Bhujangasana (cobra pose) – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward dog) and Setu Bandasana (bridge pose)
If you’re a little frazzled, or your obligations disconnect your from experiencing your natural slow down and winter rhythm, you can re-balance simply by being near water, oceans, streams, lakes, waterfalls, or SNOW (clearly my favorite) or simply take a bath (with mineral salts and bubbles to lux it up)
And stay hydrated through the winter months. Drink water any way you can. When it’s cold outside we are less inclined to drink a cold glass of water, perhaps reaching for a warmer beverage with sugar and caffeine.
Go for room temperature water or Herbal teas, Tisanes, Miso soup instead.
Signs of Winter Burnout
This is a time to take more rest and more sleep.
Failure to do so can directly affect kidney health at this time of year or lead to conditions associated with kidney energy imbalance. These include
Insomnia, panic attacks, fear and anxiety;
Craving salty foods;
Ear infections, conditions, tinnitus;
Problems with bone health or teeth.
If you’d like more guidance on restoring Winter Balance feel free to contact Bec Black or read more about Meditation, Energy in seasons, Yoga for skiers and snowboarders and more on Winter Balance in the Blog