How a Yogi Survives the Winter Shut Down
As the air is still sharp with the winter cold the sun tells us that spring is underway. Snow is still on the ground, yet below, seeds start to stir. The new year still fresh, it is a great time for new beginnings.
Coming out of the tail end of winter it can be pretty rough. Every time we feel spring is popping up, we get another snow storm. For some people this can feel like the most difficult time of year. Deprived of the sun and warmth for so many months, every day tasks can feel impossible to finish. We are in transition; truly starting to wake up. As we drive in our cars, walk from point A to point B, we are starting to feel the sun warming up. It is a perfect time to take a moment and just appreciate the rays when we can get them. The sounds of the birds waking up from their winter slumber, fill the air. Their sounds are as rich as the light that surrounds us. Once again, it is a perfect time to take a moment and appreciate it.
As I’m writing this, we are in the midst of some more winter weather. I’m thinking about how much I appreciate the few days of warmth that we have had, but also the excitement of how in a month, all of this instability will be more consistent. It is difficult to break the mind set of griping when things don’t go our way, like the weather. The thing I have found is that my life has gotten so much easier when I started thinking differently. I came to the mindset that things in this world are out of my control, but the thing I can mostly control is how I respond. Getting frustrated at the weather seems to be what is normal, and the anticipation of the warmth is what most of us are looking forward to. Letting that stop us from enjoying one last snow of the year is only affecting our happiness day-to-day, and not changing the weather.
To me, having the ability to be happy in weather that I do not favor is something of a personal accomplishment. Winter has always been a rough time period for me, and usually I would shut down. For years I had tried so many remedies, but none seemed to help. I started really listening to my body, even talking to it. Giving it the things it was craving, not what I was craving, communicating to my partner when I was having a rough day, making sure I still was diligent with my yoga and workout, but also gave rest when I needed it. One of my favorite sequences for my self reflection is the warrior flow. Going from one very strong pose to the next-Chair pose, to Crescent flowing in to Warrior II- in the midst of the flow I enjoy the focus on small tweaks and corrections I need to make. Then after I am sturdy in that pose, holding it, it is in that strength where I can reflect. I think about how my day was, how I reacted to things. Not becoming emotionally invested there, but seeing myself through a perspective I don’t normally see myself. “Let your thoughts be like clouds. You see them, but let them pass.” Finishing the whole Yoga flow and then recalling what I had observed. From that, I can hear what my body is asking of me and what I feel I could do better for the world around me. It can be difficult to balance. By this winter I have finally started listening to my body, and changing the way I think. Adopting an attitude of gratitude and being thankful for any given day, even if it is a rough one.
So, I’m enjoying one last snow storm, even if today is not the last one; and at the same time I am taking comfort in the idea of the warmth that is right around the corner.