I am a decidedly yang, summer person. I love hot weather, a high-energy practice and an active lifestyle.
I'm also a Midwesterner.
This means, every year, I wake up and see some variation of this:
Grey skies, a frozen creek, hibernating trees and temperatures in the 20s.
Give me lions and tigers and bears instead. Oh my!
This year, I was lucky enough to go on a Yin-Yang retreat with two brilliant teachers, Silver Kim and my dear friend Donna Seed.
For those who don't know, Yin is both an energy and yoga style that focuses more on introspection, cooling, finding ease, etc. Yang, as I hinted in the beginning, is all about heat, extroversion and getting pumped. We practiced both yoga styles at the retreat, but the overall goal was to help us prepare ourselves for the yin time of year - winter.
Cue House Stark.
At the retreat, I learned that instead of resisting winter (or my yin), I need to embrace it to become more balanced. I set a simple intention to listen to my body and follow my yin impulses instead of repressing them to follow my preferred yang lifestyle.
It's only been a few weeks, but I'm already reaping results. When I want to relax, I do it instead of pushing myself to accomplish just one more thing. This means I'm going to bed at a more reasonable hour and have more energy when I wake. If I'm feeling sore from a yang practice, I let myself take a more restorative practice the next day, which means I feel physically better. I could keep going, but you get the idea. I'm paying more attention to my physical and mental needs,and my body and brain are shouting thank you.
So how does this all link back to the weather? I am beginning to appreciate that the colder temperatures and longer nights give us an opportunity to rest and enjoy inward focus. Plus, by being completely present during winter, enjoying the good things (hot chocolate) along with feeling the discomfort of the bad (icy roads), we are preparing our minds to be fully present and alive during the superior season of summer.
Yes, I went there.
Stay warm and namaste!