Winter days can get really dull and dreary at times. Getting out into the cold air and frigid temperatures can be deterring. Sitting in front of a fire sipping a warm drink and reading a book or watching something interesting is more enticing than performing any type of physical activity. The shorter days and longer nights make us feel that we don’t have enough time in the day for being active. The shorter days of sunlight can also mess with melatonin production which can lead to “winter depression” for some. The persistent grey weather can also lead to loss of motivation for general activity. So what we need to watch out for is too much of sitting, eating and listlessness in general. Getting up and moving around and being in the sun (even if it is reflected sunlight) as much as possible to keep the biological rhythms (sleep, digestion etc) in order is important.
However, winters can also be a time to open other doors, ones that we don’t think about during the normal day to day rush of things. Summer is a buzz of activity both in nature as well as for us in terms of all the active goals we want to accomplish for ourselves during the brief reprieve we have from the winter. As winter sets in things naturally slow down and confine us indoors. This is a good time for relaxation, reflection and connecting to the source within. It is time to shift gears from outer activity to inner activity – one where you let the mind and body settle, nourish the spiritual nature so you feel your inner-self, which normally we don’t pay attention to when bustling with activity.
So how do we go about accomplishing that? By drawing on the natural support that winter offers us. As everything has slowed down, including our bodies, doing a slow paced yoga practice helps keep up with the rhythm. To prepare for this, take a warm shower, dress warmly and find a warm, cozy, semi-lit room in your home. If needed, light incense to create the mood. Ensure that your phone is off. Set your yoga mat and sit for a few minutes cross-legged with eyes closed and take a few deep breaths. Notice how your mind and body feel relaxed and rested. Now you are ready for these slow routines below.
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