UTTARAYANAS / SVADYAYA
Winter Solstice / Self Study
Om asatoma sat gamaya
Lead us from the darkness to the light
The Yogins believe that each of us embodies an entire universe inside of us, -the sky, the planets, mountains rivers, seasons, – moving with the rhythm and flow of the cosmos. During the Fall Equinox, the days get shorter giving us longer periods of darkness and night. December 21st, the Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, but with it comes the celebration of the sun’s return. The nights will gradually grow shorter and the light of the day will return. This ebb and flow of the darkness and light brings us back to the balance and impermanence of nature. Yin and yang infinitely at play as we move from one extreme to the other; we are always brought back to the center. We come and we go, we inhale and we exhale, we give and receive. And so it goes, the ever-changing balance of life.
As the Winter Solstice is a time of slowing down, it brings an excellent opportunity for reflection; to go inside, to take time to breath, to prioritize what’s important, to reflect on our life’s journey; for Svadyaya. Are we making intuitive decisions? Are we finding joy in our journey? Are we moving through life with balanced awareness or perhaps in an unconscious karmic pattern?
Though by our inner nature we intuitively need to slow down during this season, with all the hubbub and much ado of the holiday season, it’s almost an impossible feat to accomplish. Instead of getting quieter, the fun of the holiday season creates inner conflict that can easily throw us out of balance. Here’s a few way to bring yourself back into balance:
- Eat warms soups and stews to keep up the jatharagni- the digestive fire inside.
- Include warming herbs in your diet such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic and turmeric.
- Give your friends and family the gift of your presence rather than standing in long lines fighting traffic to give them a material present.
- Find some time to wrap yourself up in a comfy blanket and sip on hot tea with an inspiring book.
- Volunteer somewhere where you can make a difference in someone’s life.
- Insist on finding time for meditation. Meditate to find the peace and joy in your heart, so that you may spread that peace and joy to others.