So Much Snow…

As I sit to write this blog, I am distracted by the beautiful scenery out my window; it is snowing-AGAIN. As picturesque as this looks, I am not a snow lover, nor a winter lover. I love the sun, heat, and long hot summer days. But I take this vision in, appreciate the beauty, and am thankful I have this quiet time to just be. With incense burning, Snatam Kaur playing, hot tea brewing, my lightbox shining, heat warming my body, and watching snowflakes fall, all my senses are calmly heightened and engaged. Creating this soothing environment helps me deal with this weather and helps me stay positive.

These cold, dark winter months, are not much of a “wonderland” for me. As I wrote back in October, I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that affects my mood, energy, and appetite during the fall and winter months.   I am able to manage it the best I can, especially with the help of my lightbox, daily practice of yoga and meditation, and being around others. I have to say, despite this record snowfall winter and visits of “artic blasts” and “polar vortexes”, I am doing well. Since I got my lightbox a few years ago, I have been much more “tolerable” according to others, yet I still would have my lows, especially in January. Though this year, I noticed a calm within me. My thoughts constantly point to the positive, “well at least 35’ feels warm”, and I notice I am generally happy. I keep thinking reassuring thoughts such as “we are going to have an early spring”, or” winter is almost over”, and though everyone laughs and tells me I am foolish, it helps me accept the weather now.

While being stuck inside due to the snow this week, I had an “ah-ha” moment. I was in a pleasant mood, and even braced the cold weather each day to walk my dog. I began wondering why my SAD hasn’t reached an all-time low, and I got it. I truly believe it’s because I have been meditating daily since the New Year and because I am part of a community at Sangha Space. Both of these are new in my “beat the winter blues” toolbox and I love them.

I have been meditating regularly, something I have not done in previous winters. Though this practice to quiet the mind, be in stillness, and develop compassion, kindness, and love is challenging; I find that I am craving it, and enjoying the benefits of precious me-time. I read a valuable article that said winter is supposed to be a time to quiet our minds, turn inward, and take the time to slow down.   I feel that meditating has allowed me to take advantage of what winter brings and it has made a positive impact on me this month.

It seems that giving myself a balance of quiet, me-time and being part of a community is really what has been the difference this winter. Though, I have been taking classes at Sangha Space for a few years, I am committed to going each week because of my yoga internship. Looking back, I am certain I would not have come much this month because of the weather if I didn’t have to. I think that has helped me immensely. It’s not so much the practice of yoga because I would have continued my home practice, but I believe it is the sangha that exists at Sangha Space. This inspiring community of beautiful fellow yogis in a space full of positive and uplifting energy has truly brightened my days. Walking up those steps that lead to the studio, I feel lighter, freer. Dr. Andrew Weil, my personal hero, suggested one of the ways to “beat the winter blues” is being part of a community.   I never paid much attention to that because I thought I was a part of one already, but, I was not truly part of community like I am at Sangha Space. I believe with all my heart it has been helping me face this winter with a positive and grateful attitude.

So I can proudly say, I am beating the “winter blues” with my dear allies- yoga, meditation, and Sangha. This blend of powerhouses for the body, mind, and soul provide me with love, balance, calm, and joy. I couldn’t be more thankful for these gifts given to me by the universe, and I can stare at the snow and feel the cold on my skin, with compassion, acceptance, and peace.

“No winter is too cold, when you have enough love.” ~Anonymous

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