Winter Balance – Reflections and Resolutions

WINTER RESOLUTION

If you practice yoga with me you will already know that I don’t believe in ‘New Years resolutions’. That, despite the ‘new’ year, winter is the WORST time of year to START something new.

The winter season is, instead, a time to undo ~ to pause + reflect + listen deeply ~ to strengthen our mind + balance our nervous system ~ to tend to our subtle body + replenish our energy reserves + intuitive wisdom ~ to create space for what is to grow in the spring.

It therefore follows that, to feel balanced through winter + prepared for the year ahead, we should mirror the slow, deep, still quality of energy that thrives in winter. The greatest Yin (‘Tai Yin’) is the energy in season that we can benefit most from.

Read more about WINTER BALANCE HERE

Nevertheless, if you have already resolved + dived into change, or a new regime, discipline or habit crunching resolution ~ Well done ~ I salute you! But this is what I have learned over the years ~ if you want to grow, to optimise your health, talents, purpose + wellbeing and make lasting changes, there is just ONE NEW YEARS RESOLUTION that I recommend:

STILLNESS ~ in its simplest form.

It is so easy but yet so hard to make it happen! We are so accustomed to distraction with our busy smart connected lives that being STILL + being PRESENT can feel very alien. However by committing to being still for short periods, regularly, without external distraction from electronic devices, or other people or things, while being comfortable with the possibility of boredom, we allow for mindful TRACTION to set in (the opposite of distraction).

This one resolution ~ SIMPLE STILLNESS ~ cultivates MINDFULNESS. Like a muscle in the body – the mind can be trained, strengthened, reshaped + defined with regular discipline + practice. Mindfulness practices strengthen our interoceptive skills, our awareness of our inner capabilities, our emotional intelligence, concentration, memory, energy levels, nervous system function + brain health.

This undistracted stillness practiced regularly builds the mental traction to shift us forward into a mindset of clarity, purpose + intentionality, which enables quality decision making + purposeful action for this year to come.

But who even has time to slow down, unwind, be still + prioritise positive mental traction!? in It’s all part of the ride~ it’s all about balance. There’s no doubt that our busy lifestyles, responsibilities + commitments divert us away from slowing down to a more natural, restful winter rhythm so here are 3 short mindfulness practices to help us be more efficient with our time + energy.

Chose to do all 3 daily or practice each for 2 weeks at a time:

BE STILL WITH YOUR SENSES

Take time daily (5-10mins) to BE STILL + explore your space (inside + out) with your FIVE SENSES.

What do you smell?…….. What can you taste? ……… What do you see? with eyes open……with eyes closed?……

What do you feel on your skin…. beneath the skin…. What sounds do you hear?…..

Any time, any place, anywhere whenever the opportunity arises. On the chairlift, in the shower, before bedtime, commuting to work, during lunch-break, in the car waiting to pick up…etc.  Attune to the experience of stillness all your senses (what do you hear, see, touch, taste, smell?) + observe the aliveness that lives within + around that stillness.

BE PRESENT

Practice BEING PRESENT + aware of being in your body + mind + environment in ad-hoc situations.

Choose mundane tasks that you do regularly + commit to be 100% focused + attentive to that activity. Such as Brushing your teeth, Eating something, Waiting in line, commuting to work, riding your bike etc. 

Become practiced at moment to moment awareness so it starts to become familiar + easy to be in the moment with all your attention.

BE GRATEFUL

Practice Gratitude – before going to bed each night bring to mind the circumstances of the day (eg. felt experiences, conversations, actions, connections, opportunities taken or missed). Bring to mind anything or anyone that shaped your day ~ even if it wasn’t a particularly good day.

Gather any insight + note each with appreciation + thanks. Search for fresh perspectives that can help you to feel grateful for the wins + the struggles of the day in equal measures.  This can help induce clarity of mind, induce a restful sleep as well as grow an attitude of contentment.

Winter REFLECTIONs

These Stillness practices can be done anywhere at anytime + can help us to tune-in to winter vibes, slow down + tune-up, rebalance + restore for the year to come.

After a few weeks of winter mindfulness you may start to notice new or inspiring thoughts + ideas derived from your STILLNESS.  The more you do it, the more insights you gather. The more insights you gather the more you will have to reflect on. NOTE or journal your insights, experiences + reflections for the best results.

This clarity puts us in a position to evaluate + to FEEL what inner changes + annual resolutions we want to make to enhance our lives.  Through this winter still-time we can plan + design our truest goals + intentions from a calmer more intuitive + fertile head space + be resolute to put them into practice as winter wanes.

Pondering specific questions through the mindfulness process can shape specific + measurable resolutions (‘Sankalpa’) that are more likely to run the course of time.

Here are some SUGGESTIONS as to WHAT TO ASK YOURSELF that have been tried + tested to reveal a clearer picture as to what positive changes, action, ambitions you want for the year ahead.

Self Inquiry

Sit with some (or all) of the following questions perhaps ONCE A WEEK + take note of your responses, insights or lack of, throughout winter. 

There are no correct or incorrect responses. The idea is to simply collate patterns of thoughts, without giving it too much thought. Note any recurring feelings or random insights coming to you over the winter weeks of self-inquiry.

How do you want this year to feel?

What do you want more of in the year ahead in terms of quality of life?

Is there a marker or synchronicity that keeps catching your attention?

Is there a wish that you keep wishing?

Is there a dream you keep dreaming?

Is there a strong desire in your heart?

Can you engage with it? Can you discern its relevance? Give it a voice? Bring it to life?

What were the main personal or collective observations, learnings + lessons of last year?

What strengths, skills or insights can you expand on as a result of last years experiences?

What held you back that you don’t want to bring forward into this year?

Is there a sense that a new path or opportunities may be opening up?

Is there a potential new opportunity, journey or change in approach to embark on?

Can you imagine where it might take you?

If  yes can you engage with it / speak to it / discern how to bring it can come to life?

Tips / Guidance ~ Try not to try too hard to find answers ~ Responses need not be logical. Free thinking often doesn’t make immediate sense ~ Let your imagination go wild. Do the self inquiry when you feel calm e.g. after a run, a yoga practice or winter mindfulness practice so that you’re already in the vibe for introspection.

Journal

KEEP A JOURNAL for review over winter + keep adding to it as you ponder away. Note down anything that comes to mind (or lack of as the case maybe).

Do not settle for logical or cerebral responses – this is not a test – it is an adventure. Allow for your inner wisdom to speak up. (If your answers are ordinary and make perfect sense they are probably from the head not the heart!)

Inner wisdoms will start to develop and be seen clearly to form your intentions. Intentions that derive from our depths instead of surface improvements or goals which don’t reflect our talents, voices, creativity and intuitive minds .

By the end of winter, you will be more than ready to form heart-felt ‘Sankalpa’ – resolution – commitment – determination that supports us to become or do what we truly feel is right for us in the year ahead.

More on ‘Sankalpa’ as Winter begins to fade. Keep an eye on the Blog for more.

Feel free to connect with Becs to keep it real and true. It is a solo adventure but it can be nice to share our experiences to help see the bigger picture. Happy journeys into Winter Balance x

If you want to explore more about meditation read the Meditation Explained from the Blog

If you want to dive deeper into self inquiry you can explore the inquiry prompts above in relation to each of the categories highlighted in the Balancing Act blog post.

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