This time of year, around the winter solstice, has been a celebrated occasion for thousands of years. Pagan traditions celebrated it as the rebirth of the sun, a time when we are moving into longer days of light and all that it brings. It’s at this time that the earth begins to rotate back around bringing more light to the northern hemisphere once again.
Summer solstice begins the time when the light progressively diminishes. By autumn we lose enough light to alter the physiologic resources we have available to us. Vitamin D and serotonin levels decrease and our body is now working harder to keep us warm. If we follow the built in process of our circadian rhythm (dictated in part by our surrounding environment), we would do well to get a bit more rest and move inward. And when the winter solstice arrives, we take the time to plan for the possibilities that the newness of light brings.
Some of the greatest teachings of yoga are presence and acceptance. It seeks to keep us in the present moment in the only place we can make a change. However, our hypervigilant minds attempt to draw our attention to the past and present to deal with possible problems similar to what we have experienced before. And we are challenged to accept our current circumstances by avoiding feeling discomfort even though it is present with us. So not connecting to our bodies in the present in order to push away the discomfort doesn’t make it go away, it simply masks it until an inevitable future date.
So what if we saw our challenges in a new light? What if we chose to feel our present moment through our senses and accept the feeling whether elation or discomfort? The experience for our nervous system and emotions would be infinitely more authentic and peaceful. It is ironically a place of more creative problem solving as well. To engage intuition in the process of challenge resolution settles stress hormones by regulating the nervous systems’ control of them. Barring life or limb threatening pain, it doesn’t serve us to disembody ourselves and pretend we aren’t affected by dis-ease.
The alternative of connecting through our senses is powerfully effective in changing the course of our behavioral challenges. Find a quiet place for a few moments and allow me to guide you through this process…