Winter: The Season of Yin

In Northeastern Ohio, the winter season beings in December and continues thru the end of March. Our winter in Cleveland is cold, wet, and dreary. 

Like many, I feel overwhelmed and struggle with motivation, productivity, and overall cheer when it’s cold and gloomy. I know warmer seasons are coming and I see signs of sunnier days ahead, yet winter lingers…

In these cooler months, I try to remember that winter is a season of rest and replenishment. I offer myself grace as I notice my downcast mood and turn instead toward relishing the opportunity to slow down.

Winter is a season of hibernation, dormancy, stillness, and underground activity, and not above-ground growth. 

Winter is not a season for pep talks, goal crushing, and project launching. 

Nature calls us to settle, nurture ourselves, and rest. 

Recently, I’ve started to learn more about energy medicine philosophy as I’ve grown a partnership with the talented energy medicine practitioner and my Simply Grounded Spring Renewal Retreat co-host, Beth of Roots & Wings Energy. With work so well aligned, this winter we have spent time co-teaching in my online meditation sessions

Beth teaches that “energy medicine is one of the quickest, easiest, and safest ways to reconnect with your body’s needs and affect positive change—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It integrates a wide range of techniques from ancient traditions that have been recognized for thousands of years.”

Energy medicine observes seasonal shifts in the natural world and reminds us: 

  • The season of Winter is the season of Yin.
  • Yin, in energy medicine philosophy, signifies the dark, cold, slow, inward energy cycle.  
  • This time of year, we are naturally pulled to strengthen our body, mind, and spirit.
  • Our energy levels fluctuate in accordance with the natural changes in our environment and we can trust how our body feels each season. 

Energy medicine associates winter with the kidneys which are believed to be the house of our “essence.” Without awareness, throughout the busy seasons of the year, we constantly burn through our essential energy reserves.  If we do not truly rest, we get sick… or, at the very least we feel run down and crappy. Resting our body and mind helps stimulate energy flow throughout the body and is a good practice to remember when we feel the urge to push ourselves.

With these concepts in mind, I’m choosing to respond differently this winter. Will you join me? 

Instead of checking in on your new year’s resolution progress, consider taking on less…

This is challenging, I’m right there with you. I’ve committed to spending any pockets of spare time resting, reminding myself to come back to my breath and consider thoughts burgeoning beneath the surface. The type of thoughts that can only rise above the fray when I make time to slow down…

Most days, throughout the seasons, I encounter a busy mind, with thoughts racing through my daily tasks.

Upon waking, I consider my morning schedule, which child needs transportation, what can we eat for dinner, what healthy options can I squeeze in my meals today, how will I move my body, how will I connect, and when oh when will I find the time to thoughtfully plan my next online yoga session? Sometimes, more expansive thoughts arise like the new idea I had for a meditation session or the new yoga theme for next month, and, then I struggle to jot these ideas down before I forget them! 

Instead, I’d like us to consider… 

Rather than hustling along against the seasonal current, join me in taking a collective deep breath, consciously slowing down, allowing thoughts to percolate over that cup of tea or coffee, and gently head toward Spring with me. 

Let’s do less in the remaining cooler days. Stay quiet, settle in, rest, and rejuvenate because you’ll need your energy reserves in tip top shape for the longer days ahead. 

Right now, nature is not quite blooming, animals are still hibernating, and much of this part of our country is still cool with intermittent sleet and snow. 

A strong meditation practice helps replenish and balance the nervous system, strengthens our inner resilience, and quiets the mind. Focusing on what is right in front of you, helps ease stress levels and restore energy. 

And… You can always take your practice with you. Wherever you are, so is your breath and introspection. Winter is a good time to practice while nestled inside, in a carpool line, while waiting your turn…

Let’s shift our thinking and see ourselves as part of the bigger picture.

I invite you to join the earth in rest and restoration mode… Hold on to the time of earthly quiet, and sync our breath patterns with this season of rest. 

Take a moment and practice along with me in my short Yin Winter Inspired Breath and Meditation Video. 

Would you like to learn more with me about the power of meditation and yoga as we move throughout the seasons? If my thoughts resonate with you, I would like to hear from you!  Connect with me, learn more about my Online Yoga and Meditation Membership, and join my newsletter list for the latest updates.