Yoga to keep your Awesome during the winter months
(for Australia and the Southern hemisphere)
As the colder winter months are here in Australia and the Southern hemisphere, we naturally have a tendency to hibernate, become couch-potatoes and eat heavier foods to feel comfort. We often become in-active and moving our bodies less.
We tend to cuddle up indoors, becoming slightly more disconnected from the outside world. We move way less, we often stop body movement activities that we through other seasons enjoy to do. We may venture out as far as to walk out of our home, in to the car to land in our office, not seeing much of the light of day or feeling the winds breeze on our skin or tasting a fresh breath of air.
Without thinking about it and by natural occurrence, we tend to disconnect from nature and from Mother Earth. And we absolutely tend to disconnect from us and our own health that we gain from movement. Here are some thoughts and insights on how to keep your Awesome through it all.
Our bodies and Beings slightly shut down as we seek the well-deserved warmth and rest. And that is all good, it is what the winter season proscribes for us, as nature takes a rest, so should we but only if we do not get stuck in the comfort of it all a little too much.
It will only be good for us to rest and slow down if we manage to balance it out with some exercises and outdoor activity. To get our bodies to breathe and move. Allowing our Being to connect to Nature.
We need to assist our systems in providing health and happiness. We cannot fully shut down the shop and think that we can successfully open up for healthy business when spring arrives. It is a lot about putting some Yang to the Yin.
In my yoga practice I like to start winter with a thorough long Yin Yoga session that works with the meridian lines associated with the winter months – Kidney and Urinary bladder. These two meridian lines are the Yin (Kidneys) and the Yang (Urinary bladder) to each other and are both linked in the water element. They show similar symptoms when out of balance and can be stimulated in to balance by acupuncture as well as the deep movements of Yin Yoga where we reach the deeper meridian lines.
In Yin Yoga we work with myofascial meridian lines – they are deeper and broader and can be reached through stretching in to the areas where the lines are running. Yin Yoga is a different way to reach these meridian lines then the traditional way of acupuncture that works on a dermal level (more to the surface of the body as the needles goes down through the skin).
To briefly explain where these meridian lines are to be able to implement the correct moves in your yoga, the Kidney meridian line runs from the outside little toe – under sole of foot – runs up the inner leg and continues up groin and in to the kidney and the organs and up along the front body (tummy and chest) ending by the root of the tongue.
The Urinary Bladder meridian line runs from the inner eye – across the forehead and head – down neck and along your spine. It also goes in to the urinary bladder organ with a branch- but myofascially runs down back of buttocks and legs all the way down to foot where it runs outer ankle edge of foot and ends in little toe.
The Kidney and Bladder are working to eliminate any waste products in our body. By stimulating these meridians when heading in to the winter months we give our bodies the heads up and a chance to kickstart the actions and energy needed for us to cleanse our bodies and boost our health from the consumption of heavier foods, less exercise and most likely a decreased usage of our lung capacity (when we do not move as much our breath becomes shallower, less powerful and we therefore have less energy flowing through our bodies, yet more stale air being trapped).
If the Kidney and Urinary bladder meridian lines are in disharmony we may suffer from gynaecological problems, genital disorders, frequent urination. If we are often up at night peeing it may be a sign that the bladder tries to get toxins out. This disharmony may also show in a sore throat or ears and lower back problems.
Emotionally we may be fearful and easy frightened with a sense of worry of being rejected.
The kidneys are closely connected to the adrenals (physically the adrenals sits on top of the kidneys) and the adrenals secret a wide array of essential hormones that regulates areas like our metabolism and immunity support.
The urinary bladder is the master in excreting waste products. The urinary bladder meridian line is associated with the autonomic nervous system. Stress and tension play a big role when the urinary bladder chi is dysfunctional – have you ever had a ‘nervous pee’ or needing to pee when stressing too much?
When these meridian lines are in balance, you will emotionally feel fearless, stronger and more secure and have will-power to groove with. Your immune system will be boosted and your insides will be happy and cleaned from toxins. Your energy levels will be increased since the sluggishness of toxins and stagnation is decreased because your body is working in harmony and flow.
A great Yin Yoga winter practice should therefore focus on warming the body (particularly the lower back and kidney area and this can be done by raising the energies in this area through moving deep with Yin Yoga asanas as well as through tapping and rubbing. We also want to stimulate and open through the kidney and bladder meridians, and we do so with the help the Yin Yoga poses that opens the deep tissues where these meridian lines are running through the body.
Mobilising the joints through going deep in Yin can help to release trapped colds and old stagnation that may slow your immune system down or cause dis ease. The slower deeper Yin practice connects in with our winter hibernating tendencies and is a wonderful way to rejuvenate yet energise to promote optimal health for you.
Our Yin yoga practice is perfect for theses colder months, practicing in the warmth of your home or studio, cuddled up with blankets and bolsters, moving deep to keep the energy flowing within. But remember to balance the Yin with the Yang, even though it may be cold outside, dress warm and head out for a walk, do some more vigorous Hatha practices and exercise sessions and make sure to get some deep breaths of the fresh air, feel your heart beat and get that healthy glow of rosy cheeks and sparkly eyes.
Enjoy winter and keep your Awesome!