As you approach any new season or life transition, it's always beneficial to reflect upon the coming change, allowing yourself time to note new energy or thought patterns and ask yourself what types of support you will need. Winter represents a cozy time of hibernation, withdrawal, dormancy and stillness; however, for many, winter can seem dark and oppressive. If you live in an area that has a long winter season (December 21st is the official winter solstice for those who are local), now is the time to create the necessary lifestyle and attitude changes to enjoy an uplifting and calming winter season.
Begin by just considering your ideas about winter. What is the Story you tell yourself about winter? What were your winters like growing up as a child? How did your family or friends feel about winter? What does this time of year represent for you? What are your assumptions and expectations around this season? Begin to understand the WHY behind your true feelings and allow yourself to gently explore which ones are worth keeping and which ones do not serve you moving forward.
Energetically, winter offers us a symbolic respite. If you think about it, doesn't it feel a little slower? Nature gives us cues to use winter as a time to develop, go inward, rest and reflect.
Steps to enjoy a more restorative winter season:
1) Develop or keep a sense of purpose. A routine helps one to stay grounded through the winter and to resist falling into a pattern of too little activity. Search for ways that you can stay active and calm without filling up space with busy-ness.
2) Invite warmth into your body and mind. Practice ujjayi breathing, keep your neck and head warm with scarves and hats, enjoy activities that make you feel light such as laughing with friends or dancing to your favorite song.
3) Socialize and retreat. Find balance between quiet time and savoring your relationships. Winter can tend to feel isolating for some people, so if so, make a point to reach out and connect with those around you. Learn how to pay attention to your energy and say "no" when needed.
4) Modify your physical practice. On days that feel dreary and heavy for you, invite expansiveness and light energy to your yoga practice or exercise routine. On the bright, crisp winter days that already feel more energized, feel for balance by practicing restorative, gentle or restful postures.
5) Meditate and reflect. Fall is a time to "reap what we've sewn" energetically and "plant seeds" to incubate over the winter. Think about how you would like to enjoy your winter and what you would like to prioritize to cultivate for spring.
This Tumeric Milk recipe is rich, unique, bold and sweet. Try is as an invigorating warm drink in the cold winter months to help balance your system.
Tumeric Milk Recipe:
Serves: 2 • Prep time 5 minutes • Cook time 10 minutes
2 cups of milk (any kind)
1 T. raw honey (optional)
1 T coconut oil (optional)
1 t. ground tumeric
1 cinnamon stick or 1 t. ground cinnamon
1 cardamom pod or cardamom to taste
Pinch of ground pepper and fresh, grated ginger
1) Pour all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a light boil. Whisk, reduce to low heat and simmer for up to 10 minutes.
2) Strain the milk if you've used full cardamom pods or cinnamon sticks, etc.
3) Serve warm or cold with a dash of cinnamon.