The light within
As we get closer to the shortest day of the year, I want to take time to reflect on the light within. I feel like I'm surrounded by darkness during the winter. I leave the house to go to work when it's dark and return once the sun has gone down. It feels to me to be the most essential time of year to find time for my yoga practice, to find some light from within.
A natural time for hibernation?
I spend much of the winter months in a form of hibernation because of this darkness, it feels like the most natural state for me. It's a time for introversion (despite all the Christmas parties we might attend). If you're like me, you find all the socialising at this time of year overwhelming. It may drain your energy and leave you feeling fatigued.
This is why it's important to make time for yourself. Yes, Christmas is a time for giving but how can you give properly if you're forever exhausted?
But what about if you're too busy to get on the mat?
Winter might be the perfect time for your yoga practice but it can also be the busiest. You might not have time for long yoga practices in between all the socialising and family time. This is why I've decided to share a simple mindfulness practice with you.
I love burning candles. I love seeing the flame flicker. I love the process of lighting a match and then waiting for the wick to spark up. I find it mesmerising. And it's a connection to one of the elements.
The element of fire is designed to purify and detox. For example, we may practice more vinyasa flow in the winter to create more heat within us to reduce the chance of a sluggish digestive system. But if you're swamped with Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and family visits, getting on your mat might feel like a huge effort.
A simple solution for winter
This is where this simple practice comes in. Sitting in a comfortable place in your house, set out a few candles of any size in front of you. Light a match and watch as the spark catches it alight. Watch the flame flicker on the end of the match and the dance of the blue and orange tones. Slowly (but carefully so you don't burn yourself) light the candles, one by one.
Watch as the wick lights up, the flames rise and shrink, as they flicker and dance. Your aim is to connect as much as you can to this element of light and purification. Try to feel the light within you doing the same thing. It's rejoicing even if it's hidden under many layers of a busy and distracted mind.
Even in the darkest months, the light within remains and we should celebrate that in any way we can.
Our yoga practice doesn't always have to be practising postures on a mat. If you're feeling exhausted, too exhausted to roll your mat out, rest assured that taking five minutes to connect mindfully to something is just as good as time on your mat.