Hibernation mode is on. I’ve been in this mode since Friday afternoon and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After traveling for nearly a week from Asheville back to Charlotte then on the road again to Atlanta; I was DONE!
I was done with the holiday madness that I was experiencing through angry people out on the roads making poor decisions in their driving, being flipped off for trying to protect myself and the overall stress that the holidays tend to bring out on people. My own issues around the holidays and loosing my father 5 days after Christmas tends to surface more at this time of year. It feels completely natural for me to want to hide and hibernate. As an introvert by nature, I like this feeling of isolation. However, I long for the light, beauty and expression of spring.
It is during this time of year (as well as other seasons) that I notice my yoga practice shifting. As I get older, I have found that my yoga practice shifts more according to the needs of each season. During the winter, I allow myself just as much time for rest as I do exertion. I find that in the winter my focus around exertion is important because of winters natural ability to making me feel more lazy, but I value the nature of rest during this time because it is the season of “looking within.” Where as in the summer, I focus on cooling down and resting because of the seasons natural ability to make me feel more fired up and on the go, which I also value because of my natural love for play & adventure. Most importantly, I focus on balancing each part of myself during each season. It is through this that I can thrive and feel my best all year long…
One of my favorite books about the seasons & yoga is “THE WAY of the HAPPY WOMAN” by Sara Avant Stover. I have not only read this book, but I live this book. This book has taught me a lot about making seasonal changes in my life and the importance of balancing my energy throughout the year in a way that allows me to thrive & live my best life. Here is one of my favorite passages from this book that I have been reading over the past few days while in hibernation mode:
‘Winter, while it can be one of the hardest seasons to embrace, has a lot to teach us about true beauty and wisdom. Stripped of her flowers, leaves, and warmth, the earth reveals her naked self through her skeleton branches and barren ground. She becomes completely simple, having discarded everything but the bare essentials. Her scarcity and fierceness command our respect and attention, and, without apology for not being a warm and gracious hostess, she retreats into frozen silence. When we look to nature as our teacher, we see that she’s reflecting back to us a prolonged opportunity to hibernate and renew. Arriving with the shortest day of the year on the winter solstice, December 21, winter slowly grows brighter from this day on as the sun’s presence gradually beams stronger and stronger until its apex on the next summer solstice. Hannukah, Advent, Christmas, and Kwanza, along with many other holidays and rituals, celebrate the return of this light. We’re reminded to connect with the sun within us, which is the bright potential of our souls, even amid the darkness and the holiday frenzy. We also celebrate New Year’s, a call to reflect on the past, appreciate the present, and dream our future. This truly is the time of year to go inside and ripen in our womanly wisdom before stepping out into the world again.’
When I went into hibernation mode last week, it was perfect timing. I wasn’t just escaping the holiday craze, but it felt like an initiation & preparation for both the new moon and the winter solstice. Rather than me feel bad about feeling sorta lazy, I have embraced this time of rest and renewal.
‘If we don’t take time each year for deep rest, then authentic healing, rejuvenation, wisdom, and softening are not possible. It takes so much energy to burst forth into the world and to birth something new. This winter, treat yourself like a pregnant mama. Rest, nurture yourself, rebuild your vital life force, and prepare for the coming of new life. And if you don’t live in an area with a pronounced winter season, you need to be more disciplined about getting quiet. This is also an opportunity to listen to the subtler rhythms of nature.’ -Sara Avant Stover
I wish you a very peaceful and rejuvenating winter season. May you find quality time to rest, reflect and dream.