Turns out, I *like* winter. The snow makes 19-degree temperatures in Northern Colorado somehow worth it.
I spent a good deal of yesterday mesmerized by the snow falling on the empty branches of a tree just outside the window where I teach yoga. I probably quote too much from it, but Katherine May’s book Wintering has stayed with me more than any other book I’ve read in the last year. As I stared out at that tree, my mind kept returning to something I’d learned from it: When trees lose their leaves in the fall the bud for the new leaf is already there, hidden just beneath the scales on each branch.
It’s been a hopeful metaphor for this month, when much of the time my mind has just been blank and I feel like there’s no forward action.
I started the month with ambitious new-year-type plans for my own goal setting and for classes that would build heat and energize – you know, really kick us into January. But a week in, the exhaustion so many of us are feeling as we move toward year 3 of the pandemic was clear.
So rather than fight the exhaustion, we will take our cue from the season and use our practice to support our overtaxed nervous systems. This month, we are exploring belly breathing and twists which can both support our lower back health and bring us into a more balanced state of being.
Practicing twists and focusing on our naval center also builds internal heat to transform stagnant energy while helping us digest our experiences and extract wisdom from all that we’ve collectively and individually been through the last couple of years.
If you’re feeling that collective exhaustion, rather than force yourself out of this fallow season. what if you gave into the rhythm of winter, allowing yourself space to move slow into the new year? Can you trust that something new is budding beneath the surface?