December 21st - March 20th
Winter is a time to rest and restore, a time to conserve energy in these colder months, 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.
The Winter season is related to the Water Element so think of this as a time for containment, concentration, stillness & creating tranquility.
The kidney and bladder are the organs governed by the water element, and these are responsible for regulating the water in our body.
These organs 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 chanels) 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.
These channels need to remain unblocked and so by movement, breath and mental focus, these water organs are nourished and re-charged.
At this time of year in the natural world, most plants and animals have slowed down, they seem to be resting, taking a well deserved break. This is exactly what we should be doing in our yoga practise too. Slow down the pace, maybe introduce some repetition so that the body can absorb the benefits of the poses. Include lots of forward and back bends which will help strengthen the spine and which are grounding and cleansing for the kidneys and bladder. Inversions help to rejuvenate the brain and nervous system, which will increase focus and relaxation - all wonderful for winter!
Rejuvenate and bring a sense of calm by using breathing techniques and daily meditation. Become aware of your breath, try to 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.
Rest! Sleep longer if you can. Avoid being stressed and try to stay calm and warm.
Start your day with a five minute meditation, thinking positive thoughts of peace and calm.
The colour for the winter is blue, and this is associated with cool, calm and inspires mental control and creativity.
Take responsibility of how you feel but be careful and 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, FIND TIME TO REST AND ZONE IN TO SOME WINTER YOGA