Winter Season & The Water Element

Winter is the time to relax, rejuvenate and replenish your energy and let go of fears and worries. Winter also represents the water element in the yogic terminology, water stands for equilibrium and static energy, so it can be the best time for stillness and tranquility in your life and in your thought process.

Kidneys and bladder are the two most important organs when it comes to water regulation in the body, therefore the health and vitality of these two organs should not be ignored during the winter months. It is important to keep yourself hydrated during the colder months. If drinking water is a challenge, try herbal tea.
Just like other living beings in the animal and plant kingdom that go to hibernation mode during the colder winter months, your body deserves a break too from year-round stresses and work load. There are stretches you can do to improve flexibility and circulation of fluids in the body, your kidney and bladder are guarded by the spine, do a lot of bending forward and backward to strengthen your spine. Do meditation daily and calm your senses by doing breathing exercises. When you breathe in imagine all the light is going into your bones and is cleansing away toxins as you exhale.

Start your day with yoga and meditation, and when it comes to diet, enjoy warm foods, cook fish, seafood, steamed vegetables, stews and soups. Avoid excess salts, and use essential oils to massage your body and warm it up.

Winter Yoga

At this time of year in the natural world, most plants and animals have slowed down, they seem to be resting, taking a well deserved break. This is exactly what we should be doing in our yoga practice too. Slow down the pace, maybe introduce some repetition so that the body can absorb the benefits of the poses. Include lots of forward and back bends which will help strengthen the spine and which are grounding and cleansing for the kidneys and bladder. Inversions help to rejuvenate the brain and nervous system, which will increase focus and relaxation – all wonderful for winter!

Zone In Yoga suggests trying these winter yoga poses:

Uttanasana (Standing forward fold)

Baddha Konasana (bound angle, soles of feet touching)

Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Sugarcane)

Anjaneyasana (Low lunge)

Setu Bandasana (Bridge Pose)

Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold)

 

Rejuvenate and bring a sense of calm by using breathing techniques and daily meditation. Become aware of your breath, try to detach yourself from external sounds and direct your breath and thoughts internally to relax muscles, reduce anxiety and still the mind.

Winter Pranayama – Bone Breathing

This exercise can help the mind heal the body and also helps keep the mind in the now. It is also a wonderful aid to promote deep, restful sleep.

Imagine you have little holes in the ends of your toes and as you breath in, breathe light through all the bones and joints in your feet and legs up into the thighs. As you exhale, imagine all the tension and toxins being washed away. Repeat several times.

Next imagine holes in the ends of your fingers and as you inhale, bring the light into the bones of your hands, wrist, arm and up into you shoulder blades and as you exhale, feel it wash away the tension and toxins.
Lastly imagine inhaling light into tiny holes in the crown of your head and then exhale it out. Repeat several times and notice a sense of calm and lightness throughout the body.

Winter Lifestyle

Rest! Sleep longer if you can. Avoid being stressed and try to stay calm and warm.
Start your day with a five minute meditation, thinking positive thoughts of peace and calm.
The colour for the winter is blue, and this is associated with cool, calm and inspires mental control and creativity.
Take responsibility of how you feel but be careful and take care of yourself.
Eat hearty hot food to keep warm. Stews, soups with seasonal root vegetables, seaweed and fish.
Try to avoid excess salt and cold foods as these chill the kidneys.
Use essential oils such as juniper and ginger and rub oils into your skin to boost the blood flow, create heat and stimulate your lymphatic system.

 

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