The wintertime is about grounding, building and nourishing. It is the kapha time of year which means that the elements of earth and water predominate, think slow, heavy, dull. This is a wonderful opportunity for hibernation, reflection and deep self-care.
While more dynamic yoga disciplines generally work the superficial muscle groups, Yin goes deeper, to target connective tissues, ligaments, bones and our remarkable fascial network, by passively holding and relaxing into static postures. On entering into a pose, and finding the ‘edge’, or manageable amount of sensation; emphasis is then placed on finding stillness and softness.
From this Thursday as the doors to our yoga centre temporarily close for a month, all of our online offerings will continue - multiple daily yoga classes, themed workshops, courses, and special events - beamed from our brilliant teachers homes direct into yours, and we will keep holding the space for our amazing community in the virtual sphere with much needed connection and supporting of each other.
The truth is, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to which time of the day we should aspire to roll out our mat. Each of us have different rhythms and energy patterns, which can change and fluctuate depending on our individual circumstances and the time of year, therefore it’s essential that we take our own personal wants and needs into consideration, when deciphering what time we should aim to set aside for our yoga practise.
Alternatively, taking the moon day as an opportunity to work on a different sequence might provide some insights that could inform your usual practice. On this note, I was introduced to Matthew Sweeney's moon day sequence some years ago and often practise a shortened version of it on moon days. In this sequence, much less emphasis is placed on the upper body in terms of the weight bearing on the hands that you find in the Ashtanga Primary Series or other common vinyasa sequences, providing a way of practising with less pressure being placed on the wrists and shoulders, and with more focus on the hips, lower back, and in opening the front of the body.
Often referred to as ‘winter depression’, triggers can include a disrupted body clock, high melatonin levels (which can cause fatigue), and extreme weather. However, there are measures we can take to combat the often-difficult symptoms linked to a low mood during the winter months
Sometimes when we meditate we feel the need to push away thoughts that arise and this year in particular, I know many people have felt this sense of disturbance when taking their seat and literally spend the whole time being caught up in the thinking mind. However we know that meditation and yoga is not about the complete absence of thought but more about the process of finding a place of stillness where the thoughts are still there but they do not concern or require our full attention.