Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is on her way! The longest nights of the year bring with them the shortest of days. Inner Harmony is bringing energy into these cold days with it’s tradition of 108 sun salutations on December 17th at 10:00 am.

These long nights can be hard on our emotions. It’s important to ask ourselves, how are we feeling? As our bodies slow down, fatiguing from lack of light and warmth, it can be easy to lose track of that very important question. How are we feeling? Sometimes, what we need isn’t what we find ourselves turning to. Do you want to turn on the t.v. and munch chocolate cake on the couch? Is that what you need? Will that make you feel better than you feel? Or, maybe, will you feel better getting out your mat, and finding your way into some deep stretches to bring warmth back into the body? Maybe, if you spend those empty spaces with something that fills you up, you might feel better than you did only 20 minutes before.

Isn’t that awesome?

We actually experience this. It’s what brings us back to our mats. It’s what calls us to join together in a practice that asks us to become better humans. That’s what we are reaching for; becoming kinder. More patient. More authentic. Better humans. It’s not just about being able to cascade to your toes in a never ending fold (though that feels great​). It’s not just about the
powerful strength and openness found in camel (mind-numbingly empowering, yes?), or the ability to balance in crow (don’t you feel awesome in crow?). It’s about so much more than that (admittedly cool) stuff. It’s about how it makes you feel. How it makes you, a better​ ​you.

When we take a few moments to just...breathe, it opens a space in the mind that feels like the pause at the bottom of a breath. There, we can ask ourselves if there is anything we need to do. Not something you want, necessarily, but...what is it that you need? If we focus on centering, we can hone in on a simple ujjayi breath. It’s such an easy place to be in stillness. We practice the breath is stillness so that we can keep track of it when we move back into asana. When the movement begins, we notice that the breath becomes more robust, especially as we find ourselves moving into more difficult postures. Going deep into the larger muscles of the body, we create heat, and movement and stillness in a balance. We give space to the breath and continue finding the ease within that breath.
Losing the breath can happen, but, when it does...back up. Go slower. Pay attention to holding that ease and if it gets compromised, simply shorten your stance and regather yourself.

We do this because yoga is found in the breath. We don’t want to start huffing and puffing...we need the tether of the breath between the mind and body. As we move into the complicated simplicity found in one-armed-balance-wrapped-foot-to-head-backbend-the idea is to be able to breathe, no matter the pose. The idea is to find the ease in the pose that we might look to find the ease in our lives.

In practicing breathing with ease and simplicity, we find stillness. We find the pause. When we begin the asana, look to continue to find ease in the postures. When we look for ease, we can think about the toddler who tries to jam a square peg in a round hole. We all know there are poses where we feel that way. The simply don’t make sense. Yet. The breath starts to become pressured.

When you feel like that in yoga, in life, back up a little bit and see if you can find peace in the moment. That’s what we want: to find peace in the postures. In our lives. We don’t want to force. We don’t want it to be complicated. We need simple. And to find that simple, we need to breathe.

Bring your hands to your heart and ask yourself what you are grateful for. Let’s give thanks beyond the holidays, it doesn’t have to be a special day to give thanks. It can be today. Tomorrow. The next day. Every day...