Can you feel the change in the air? December 21, 2016, marked the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. What exactly is a solstice? “Solstice” comes from Latin: sol meaning "sun" and sistere meaning “to stand still.” The Winter Solstice is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and create our dreams and intentions.
This date reminds us there is a sacred cycle to our life—a meaning and purpose deeper than our individual existence. People around the globe celebrate the day the Sun turns around and darkness transitions to light. It marks the longest night of the year and honors nature’s cycle of increasing sunlight each day until the Summer Solstice in June 2017.
Don’t fear the darkness—instead regard it as an opportunity to renew our energy. Ancient cultures created sacred monuments like Stonehenge in England to align with the sun at particular times during the day. Feasts and celebrations occur all over the world to honor this annual universal shift. When we align with nature in our daily lives, we have the opportunity to reaffirm our connection to the earth.
How do we incorporate this respect for nature’s cycle of change into our lives both on and off the yoga mat?
In terms of ways to celebrate this quieter time, we may choose to focus upon the power of the moonlight. Try Kristin Gibowicz - Moon Salutations (FREE) on the longest night of the year.
Or, look at this special time as an opportunity to tap into your heart chakra and energize with a variety of back bending practices like the new classes from Les Leventhal - Anahata Chakra Vinyasa, Michelle Marchildon - Wisdom Warriors: Steady & Strong Backbends and Cheryl Deer’s Forrest Yoga: Safe and Intelligent Back Bending.
Off of the mat, it’s a great time to tune into and direct your attention inside. Find the light by focusing inward to discover your gifts, your confidence, and sacred stillness. Review the past year and observe what lessons you’ve learned, what changes you’ve incorporated, and offer gratitude for your blessings. It’s the perfect time to create a vision board, journal, or set goals. Enjoy!