Shifting my focus from Christmas to the winter solstice has helped me to rediscover meaning in a holiday season that had become depleted.
The winter is a reminder that our lives are part of a natural process, always changing, always renewing. It brings the focus back to a connection with nature, family and time to rest. Turns it into a time of feeding the spirit and feeling good, rather then emptying our wallets and stressing us out.
If you could relate to my last post The Christmas Struggle is Real, then this post may give you a new way of understanding and celebrating the holiday season.
Winter solstice in its simplest form is the longest night of the year and a celebration of the winter season. This year it falls on Saturday December 21. Spiritually, it’s viewed as a time for introspection and a sign of good things to come.
Ancient Pagan beliefs are that the Winter Solstice marks the day the Moon gives birth to the Sun. Hence, more sunlight from that point forward.
Fun fact: A lot of Christmas traditions like the yule log, mistletoe, wreaths, and caroling, were adopted from pagan customs. Read more about that, in this article at Holidappy
The winter solstice is a time to examine and let go of our past, sit with the present, and make changes within ourselves to prepare for the future.
This is where the yoga comes in to play.
Svadhyaya is one of the niyamas, or recommended habits, that are part of the 8 limb path of yoga. It roughly translates to self-study, and represents our search for meaning.
When we start paying attention to our habits and ways of thinking, we may realize that the things we say and do are not always in alignment with who we truly are.
Which brings us to question, do we even know who we are?
Svadhyaya helps us to tell the difference between our ego aka our monkey mind, from our true inner self. It begins with the realization that we are not our thoughts. We are the one who observes them happening.
Remember, you don’t always have to unroll your mat and twist your body up, to do yoga. Through this process we become more aware of unhealthy patterns and what changes we can make, in order to shed what weighs us down. Practicing svadhyaya is practicing yoga.
Crack open one of these books and get a little self-study going this winter:
A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by: Eckhart tolle
Inner Engineering, A Yogis Guide to Joy by: Sadhguru
I like to pull one off the shelves, and read from whatever page I randomly open up to. Assuming whatever section I land on is the message I need to hear for that day.
The winter solstice also marks the beginning of Capricorn season which will last until Jan 20, 2020.
Capricorn is symbolized by the sea goat, a mythical creature that is half fish, half goat.
This symbolism describes the nature of Capricorn: persistent and driven, with the ability to step off the gas and to go with the flow when needed.
Mastering this balance is what Capricorn Season is all about.
This is the perfect time to set goals, make lists, and plan for the future. Which is very fitting for heading into the new year. But don’t go getting all goat and forget the going with the flow fish part. By this I mean, remember not to get too attached to the outcome.
Ask yourself, what are you working towards? What is motivating you? Is it really the path you want to be on, and better yet is it serving you?
Take time to listen. What's calling you?
Who are you really?
We’ve got all winter.
“In yoga, and in astrology, the sun symbolizes the soul. The word 'solstice,' in Latin, means sun standing still, so in a sense, we could say the soul stands still on the solstice—maybe even long enough for you to catch a glimpse of it, as some legends say you can at this divine time of year.” -Diane Booth Gilliam
Last but not least, here are 10 ideas for celebrating the winter solstice!
I hope this post inspired you to observe this season through a different lens. Let me know how you choose to celebrate.
Happy solstice, thanks for reading :-)