This time of year can be challenging with the long nights and short days. These days I winter in Mexico, but I remember as a kid walking to the bus stop in darkness and returning home from school in darkness. It seemed wrong! Even in Mexico we feel the transition, the days are so short we often feel ready for bed at 6 or 7pm. Every year I research what we ‘should be doing’ for the winter solstice and I think it’s important to remember the meaning so that we can better cope with the darkness. The sun is now finishing its journey south and will seemingly stand still before it begins its return north. It’s a turning point… the birth of the sun. Interesting how in Christianity, winter solstice is celebrated as “the birth of The Son”. Ancient traditions referred to night as ‘mother darkness’ who gives birth to the light. The return of the light brings hope and newness. Above all at this time of year we need rest. No need to hustle, stress and work long hours. Something to keep in mind is to not be busy with resistance. There is beauty and magic to be had if we will allow it. Sleep, limit screen time, walk, meditate, do yoga etc. The solstice is a gateway, look for subtle shifts and openings. We too can ‘stand still’ and contemplate changes in direction, and also recognize and honour the things we have completed.
At our home in Mexico the snake has come to visit. There were two different snakes sighted in our garden (for the first time) on the winter solstice, and we found a snake skin which had been shed in our yard. The timing is interesting… snakes hide in darkness and emerge to bask in the warm sun. They shed their skin when the new skin underneath is ready. Snake calculates patiently and strikes with precision. They also represent kundalini energy, the life force energy which runs up and down our spine. So the snake is a perfect totem for the winter solstice transition.
Marisol likes her gift from the snake but says she still wants my little ponies for Christmas!
Our neighbour who revealed itself on Winter Solstice.
Some yoga tips:
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
It can be a wonderful chest opener, mild back bend and can help the lower back if done consciously and correctly. It’s good for respiratory ailments, sciatica, shoulder and arm strengthening. Be careful! This is one pose which seems easy and simple but can hurt your lower back or neck. Remember, it’s about opening the chest.
-note where you are grounded (your pubic bone, the thighs, your hands)
-check the neck for tension, if there is tension, lower your gaze until the tension is gone
-keep the buttocks relaxed
-don’t pinch the lower back, keep the spine long and free as in all poses.
-start with the modified version, arms bent, elbows on the ground, and keep it to a short time just to let your body feel it.
-watch the masters do this pose: babies! they do it with ease and joy.
Here is a kundalini image representing the energy force in our spine. Not coincidentally it looks like a DNA image. The Indian sages used recognizable images to help explain energy and science.
Have a great Winter Solstice and we can all look forward to longer days! Happy Holidays.