I know them all, those voices in your heads. Ok, maybe not all of them, but at least the ones that stop you from stepping onto your mat or taking a seat on your meditation cushion during the dark season.
It’s not easy – I struggle with maintaining my spiritual practice during the winter as well, I can tell you that. But I choose not to listen to the voices that want to sabotage me. Before they can convince me that a hot bath would be much better than braving the cold on the way to Yoga class, I’m faster: I pull on my hat and shoes over thick wool socks and dash out the door. No time for excuses! You have to catch the moment when your ability to resist those voices is highest and go with it.
It might sound like I’ve got it all figured out, but I’m not trying to brag – just to inspire. If I can do it, then you can, too! Thanks to the internet, we don’t even have to leave our own four walls to enjoy some Yoga or meditation. It’s so easy. But it can seem so hard.
The perfect time to sort yourself
Wintertime is perfect for introspection. I enjoy the darkness in the morning, the world so still and peaceful as I drag myself onto the mat. I also enjoy practicing in the evening during this time of year. Instead of mindlessly ending up in front of the TV, I prefer to see what reels are running on the inside. Of course, I’m not opposed to the occasional TV time, but then I don’t want to hear that there’s just no time in the day for meditation.
During the holidays, most of us are racing from here to there, exhausted and stressed out – this is when we need quiet and restful moments the most. Meditation. A bit of stretching. Breathing. This is meant to be a contemplative time, a holy time, but that’s not the case anymore. We are pre-programmed for stress and strife and forget to stop now and then and just breathe.
Be mindful how you start your day!
Did you know that the first 120 seconds, so the first two minutes after you wake up, will set the course for your entire day? So, if the first thing you do in the morning is to grab your phone to let the world know that you’re alive and well or to check if Donald Trump is still president, you’ve already lost the game. You mind, most delicate and receptive in the early morning hours, will be stuffed and clogged with all of the useless information that internet provides us with.
Instead, how about focusing on your breath for those precious two minutes – doing a few stretches, repeating a mantra or jumping out of bed and – ha ha! – into a cold shower? Feels great in the winter as well, by the way, very stimulating and I promise you’ll feel wide awake and refreshed. The first couple of days it takes some willpower, but after that…wonderful!
Brave the way through the icy cold and to your Yoga studio. And if you can’t convince yourself to leave the house, then practice at home. There’s something so wonderful about opening and stretching the body every day. The dark season invites a bit of neglect and atrophy, and asanas, pranayama and meditation remind us to stay open, strong, soft and most of all loving. So, practice!
© Maria Schiffer