Winter: When soft exhales meet frigid air + run away together in milky steam…
Winter is here. The season of natural stillness. The turn of the world slows. We hold our breath trying not to let the frost into our lungs. The natural world curls into a long slumber, not to be disturbed until the ground thaws. Within our own bodies, the organs that keep us alive slow down. They rest. Whether we like it or not, we are a part of the season, both inside, and out. So how can we truly resonate with what this season truly has to offer? Through ceremony + celebration.
Winter Celebrations + Important Cosmic Dates
Winter Solstice/Yule, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and other widely celebrated Winter-time celebrations take center stage this time of year. Below, you’ll find wise traditions tailored in a modern way to honor this incredible season.
Yule, The New Year, The Road Unknown & More ++
As we transition from 2018 to 2019, we are asked to look back on a year that may have been just a tad bit overwhelming. We had so many ideas and plans for the future but not much support in making tangible physical and energetic progress. The inner work had to come first, and now in 2019 our hard work will become a reality. 2019 will be different, so make sure you really take your time in wrapping up all your loose ends of 2018.
Yule, or the Winter Solstice is the first event in the magical transition between the death of our current year and the birth of the next. On December 21st we celebrate this Long Night—the shortest day and longest night of the year. However you celebrate this sacred day, whether it be by lighting a candle and getting cozy, or taking a walk the dark woods, note that at this point in time the dance between light and dark shifts. After the longest night of the year, the days then begin to grow longer again, minute by minute. Through this darkness, we again see the light.
After the holidays and around the bend of the New Year, we meet a crossroads. We have two options: to continue down the path we’ve been traveling, or take the unknown road. What awaits you on the road unknown is a mystery that you have the power to write. You can decide to shake things up, leave behind what is no longer serving you, and create a reality greater than the one you’ve written for yourself thus far. Which road sounds best to you? I know I’ll be traveling along the road unknown…
More so than any other time of year, rituals in Winter are the most meaningful. Working with intention, whether moving through our morning routine tailored for Winter or treating ourselves to warm body oiling after a long day, is what makes these practices truly magic.
Winter's Morning Routine
Winter’s Morning Routine
Everyone’s got a morning routine whether we own it or not, but the way we get going in the morning is very different this time of year than the hot and sunny Summer months. That’s why tailoring your morning routine specifically to the needs of Winter is just about the most delicious and inviting way to start your day.
5 elements to incorporate in your Morning routine
For the sake of your body, your mind, and your spirit, you must slow down. You must find sweetness in all the frozen moments. From the moment you open your eyes, choose not to rush!
As you peel back warm covers, pull a pair of warm wool socks over your toes. Imagine the soft fabric as a warm embrace on this chilly morning.
If possible, wake up a little later than usual. Your body knows the sun isn’t up so early so why rush it? If wake up time is out of your control (hello fellow mamas!) grab your kiddos and have them snuggle into the big bed and hang about for just a few moments longer before the day begins.
Start the day with a warm beverage. This could be as simple as hot water with lemon or perhaps a warm herbal infusion. Warming an empty stomach kick starts digestive power that may be trying to hibernate this season.
Relax the body. When chilly winds roll through we tense up like icicles, and cold and drafty homes may leaves us constantly in a twist. Turn the heat up, relax the body, and stretch it out!
Warm Body Oiling
Warm Body Oiling
The ancient practice of Ayurveda focuses on the seasons, and how to bring our mind and body in resonance to a particular season. Integrating a daily herbal oil massage – known as Abhyanga – using a warming oil helps get your blood flowing to effectively warm every part of your body and stoke your cellular fire. Plus, these special oils add a ton of moisture to your skin, helping to reverse the drying effects of the Winter air. Read on for easy-peasy instructions on how to incorporate this practice, and two of our favorite warming oils perfect for Winter weather.
Take your bottle of oil (this one’s our favorite for this practice) and place it in a bowl of piping hot water until the oil is warm, about 5-10 minutes. Usually I take a big pyrex and fill it with water from the kettle and let my bottle of oil sit in it.
Pour a good amount of oil either into your hands or directly on your body, and begin massaging in small, circular motions. If you are feeling particularly chilly, briskly massage using quick motions to really get your blood flowing.
Although there is no right or wrong order to massaging the body, typically starting from the feet and working your way up to the neck is best.
When you feel complete, jump into your coziest pajamas, snuggle up in bed, and drift to sleep.
PRO TIP: Before body oiling, take a warm bath. Submerging the body in hot water helps to improve blood circulation and temporarily raise body temperature. In the evening, fill your tub with warm water and enjoy a long soak. Although your body temperature will return to normal soon after, you’ll feel incredibly relaxed, and warm body oiling will be a practice of ecstasy!
Winter Activities for Connecting with Nature
Winter Activities for Connecting with Nature
Depending on your current geographic location, Winter may look like snow covered streets or endless plant growth. Either way, deepening your connection with nature during this sleepy and reverent time of year comes with ease when you have the right set of practices…
When the morning sun finally breaks through the cold grey skies, go for a walk. Bundle up and enjoy some time outside. You don’t have to be out for long if the weather is less than ideal, but make sure you taken enough time to breathe in fresh air, take a look around, note the composition of the ground beneath your toes, and see what the plants are up to.
If you are lucky enough to live where it snows (or can travel to where it does!), reconnect with your inner child and play in the snow. Catch a snowflake on your tongue. Build a snow man. Have a snowball fight. Make a snow angel. Your soul will thank you.
Get your daily dose of sunshine. This is super important for everyone, but especially for folks who are challenged by the Winter blues. If you see the sun shining, use this as your permission slip to stop whatever you’re doing and stand in the warm sun rays, even if you are indoors!
Tend plants. This can be as simple as greeting chilly plants on your daily walk, or tending an indoor herb garden. Keeping your communication skills going with the plant world is more important now than ever.