The cold is settling in. Fog lingers until the late hours of the morning, whilst the sun retires earlier and earlier. Winter is creeping up on us. In the beginning this comes as a relief. After the hectic schedule of summer and autumn, winter’s hibernation feels like a breath of fresh air. In the cold I go out less. My daytime activities, other than working, are centered around finding a spot of sun in which to sit quietly and drink in its warmth. The cold invites me to withdraw, to quiet and slow down.
Winter is a time of turning in–physically, mentally and spiritually. It is a time of quieting and learning to make friends with stillness and darkness. For many of us this comes, at first, as an experience of rest. After the outward activity of the earlier months, winter’s hibernation offers rest and a space to slow down. However, for many, after some time, stillness becomes uncomfortable. The slow pace goes against our mindsets to keep “doing”. In the quiet we come face to face with ourselves and the harvest of earlier months. Do we like what we have sown and gathered? Does it support us during the dark and quiet of winter? This harvest is as much material as it is emotional and spiritual. What feeds us when we are in the dark? How comfortable are we with ourselves, as we are, when there is nothing to distract us from ourselves? Who are we without creating something or having something to show for?
Winter is a time of simplicity. There is little outward production. This simplicity, this lack of outward manifestation, is part of the cycle of life. It is essential to creation. Rest and retreat allow for us to gather strength, to learn to pace ourselves, and to reassess. In the act of not-doing, we create the space for the new to come. Without an end, there is no beginning. In the Christian faith the birth of Christ, the Lord of Light, is celebrated in the Winter months and coincides with the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. It is only when we reach the darkest point of the year that the tables turn and the Sun begins his return. After the Winter Solstice days become longer, and we know that Spring, the promise of new life, is on its way.
It is in the dark that we need to be reminded of the light. It is in the dark that faith–the light of our heart–is born. It is at the most difficult times of our lives when we are initiated into our strength and recognize the need of support and of community. Darkness is a gift. So are stillness and quiet. May we learn to embrace them. And may we allow them to dance us back to our own inner light and to find the light of love in community, family and friends.
In preparation for winter, Isha is offering the following Yoga Retreat at the beautiful Chandra Ban Eco Resort. Details are as follow. We look forward to seeing you there!
As the darkest time of the year nears, the temperature drops and the natural world around us retreats into herself. Just as Nature draws inward, so do we follow her calling to rest, store and prepare. The colder, darker months are a time to ground, internalize and find our ease and place in the stillness around- and in us.
Join us for a restorative and informative weekend retreat. Learn the practical tools that keep our body healthy and our mind and heart balanced during times of winter hibernation.
This weekend retreat includes:
-daily asana and pranayama practice for stoking the internal fire and encouraging suppleness
-daily meditation: yoga nidra (deep relaxation) and mindfulness tehcniques
-introduction to simple dietary and daily guidelines that, according to yoga and ayurveda, nourish and support our systems in the colder season.
-discussion/meditations to uncover how to bring these holistic tools into our daily life
-delicious vegetarian meals
-quiet time for reflection & rest
Level: All welcome. No previous experience in yoga or meditation required.
Location: Chandra Ban Eco-Resort, Kathmandu
Information & Registration: Please contact Amrit at 98510-73559 or firstname.lastname@example.org