This Friday 21st December 2018 marks the Winter Solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year. While Winter is a time of darkness and a time to rest, restore and rejuvenate, the Winter Solstice also signifies a gradual return towards the light. This day has been celebrated by cultures all over the world for thousands of years as the start of the solar year and a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. At this point, darkness has reached its peak and from now on the days will gradually begin to lengthen and warmth and outer growth will begin to return to us and to the Earth.
It can be hard to believe that the Light is returning as the ‘feeling’ of Winter will clearly still be with us for some months to come but we know that nature and the Earth are moving towards the Light, as are we, and so symbolically there is an opportunity for us to mark this transition both through our yoga practice and also through setting intentions.
It is always auspicious to mark these seasonal transitions with our asana (physical yoga) practice just to help us stay physically in tune with the rhythms of nature and to turn our awareness inwards. In addition, it is an ideal time to take stock of where you are at in your lives and with falling towards the end of the year, it is the perfect opportunity to stop and look back at the year as a whole and think about what you have achieved: what has been positive? What would you like to leave behind? What experiences were enriching? Take a moment to cast your mind back over the year and think about how you want to move forward. This is similar to why we set New Year’s Resolutions for ourselves but think of it as positive intentions to incorporate into your lives between now and the Spring Equinox in March.
I have included a yoga sequence that I filmed at the time of the Winter Solstice last year as a means of encouraging you to get a little yoga practice in today. You can use this or just slow down and tune into the postures that your body needs today.
Wishing you all a Blessed Winter Solstice!