Winter Solstice Practices
Following are a couple of Ayurvedic Winter Solstice practices you can take in within the comfort of your own home.
Candle Gazing (A form of meditation)
An Ayurvedic practice known in Sanskrit as Trataka, meaning to gaze or stare. This meditation involves staring at a single point of focus, such as the flame of a candle. This method of meditation has the ability to provide answers to questions or queries one is seeking by becoming quiet, still, and focused.
What you will need to gather:
-Your favourite candle, preferably beeswax or naturally derived.
-Your favourite grounding essential oil such as spruce, cypress, frankincense or yarrow.
-A journal and a pen. You may wish to record insights, inspirations, or messages you receive during your meditation.
-Get seated comfortably.
-Light your candle and set at eye level.
-Place a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil in your palms, rub your hands together, then cup over face and breathe in deeply.
-Shift your gaze on the candle and focus on the flame without blinking.
-Allow the flame to fill your mind, body and breath. If the eyes begin to feel tired, close them and relax the space between your eyebrows, return to the flame and continue.
-Once you are finished, record any insights in your journal.
This winter solstice practice offers a tool for connection to the earth along with cultivating a practice to connect with inner self. You may be surprised at what unfolds during this deep focus.
Restorative Yoga Practice
You may wish to take in a restorative yoga practice before or after the candle ritual. This is a great practice to ease into winter with, particularly during the typical holiday rush. Making time for self care is paramount. Find a quiet comfortable and warm spot with dim lighting, if you don’t already have a dedicated yoga area. Dress warmly. The aim is comfort, relaxation.
Keep it simple with only 3-4 long relaxing poses. Get your props ready; bolster (or big pillow or two), blankets, blocks, and yoga mat. Eye pillow, or face cloth. Ensure you have wall space near you for support. This is meant to be an easy unwinding and relaxing series. If you are looking for a longer sequence, or instruction, you may want a class setting, or a book with pictures and full descriptions of the poses.
-Start in child's pose, then sequence into each of these poses, and hold for a few minutes in each.
-Simple bridge with block or bolster under hips.
-Supported bound angle pose. (Bolster lengthwise down spine, hips remain on floor. Soles of feet together, drop knees to sides). You may wish to drape a blanket over you, as you get into position.
-Reclining hero pose (with bolster support, lengthwise down spine).
-Legs up the wall.
-Supported child’s pose.
-End in Savasana. With a blanket and eye pillow (or face cloth).
You will need a mat, bolster and/or blankets, blocks, eye pillow if you have. Prior to settling onto your mat for nidra, do a few stretches, or yoga postures, just enough to warm you core and limber you up. Once ready click here.
Wishing you peace and calm throughout the holidays!