Winter Solstice

We are approaching the end of the year (thank goodness I hear you say!!). Winter Solstice is on 21 December and this is the shortest day so the good news is the days start to get longer from here on!

As we start this new season, we return to our Seasonal Yoga practice. Seasonal Yoga is designed to reflect the energy of each season to help us adjust to the change in the year. We work on energy channels and yoga poses that are linked to the respective organs related to the season. By practicing Seasonal Yoga we can teach ourselves to listen and respond to our body’s needs instead of pushing through as we find ourselves doing in this modern life.

Winter Season

The winter season is associated with the element of water and the kidney and bladder are the organs governed by the water element. These organs are responsible for regulating the water in our body and are linked to the fight-or-flight instincts of our adrenal glands and hormones of the endocrine system. Water is also associated with the emotion of fear so check in on how you are feeling or dealing with any stressful, anxious areas in your life. Try not to over-worry about ‘what might happen’ in the future, or over-think the past – concentrate on the present moment, find your inner wisdom and release any fear.

The meridian lines (energy channels) for the kidney run from the base of the foot, up the inside of the leg and up the middle of the chest, ending in the collarbone. For the bladder, trace a line starting from the back of the head, down the sides of the spine, back of the leg and ending on the outside of the foot. With movement, breath and mental focus, we can keep these energy channels unblocked and the bladder and kidneys nourished and re-charged.

Winter Yoga

At this time of year in the natural world, most plants and animals have slowed down and are resting. In a similar way, winter yoga is about being kind and respectful to your body, repairing and preparing for the spring days ahead. We slow down the pace and introduce some repetition so that the body can absorb the benefits of the poses. Forward folds and back bends help strengthen the spine and are cleansing for the kidneys and bladder. Inversions help to rejuvenate the brain and nervous system helping us to focus and relax. Rejuvenate and bring a sense of calm by using breathing techniques and daily meditation. Detach yourself from external sounds and direct your breath and thoughts internally to relax muscles, reduce anxiety and still the mind.

Pranayama – Bone Breathing

This exercise can help the mind heal the body and also helps keep the mind in the now. It is also a wonderful aid to promote deep, restful sleep. Imagine you have little holes in the ends of your toes and as you breath in, breathe light through all the bones and joints in your feet and legs up into the thighs. As you exhale, imagine all the tension and toxins being washed away. Repeat several times. Next imagine holes in the ends of your fingers and as you inhale, bring the light into the bones of your hands, wrist, arm and up into you shoulder blades and as you exhale, feel it wash away the tension and toxins. Lastly imagine inhaling light into tiny holes in the crown of your head and then exhale it out. Repeat several times and notice a sense of calm and lightness throughout the body.

Winter Lifestyle

Winter is a time to rest and restore, a time to conserve energy in these colder months, to withdraw, reflect, replenish and relax. Discover courage and take responsibility of how you feel and let go of any fear or unnecessary anxiety. Don’t hold onto the past or worry about the future. Stay present and flow gently in these winter months.

Rest, stay calm and keep warm. Start your day meditating for five minutes, thinking positive thoughts of peace and calm. The colour for winter is blue and this is cooling, calming and inspires mental control and creativity. Take responsibility of how you feel but be careful to take care of yourself. Eat hearty hot food to keep warm. Stews, soups with seasonal root vegetables, seaweed and fish. Try to avoid excess salt and cold foods as these chill the kidneys. Use essential oils such as juniper and ginger and rub oils into your skin to boost the blood flow, create heat and stimulate your lymphatic system.

Slow it down, allow the breath to flow freely and find time to rest with some winter yoga.