Although December is a busy, extroverted time of year for many of us, the Earth, the trees, and the natural world around us are drawing deep into a necessary cycle of rest: replenishing and repairing from the past year, gaining fresh vitality for the coming cycle of growth and magnificent creation.
Pressure to constantly produce, improve, and consume are very real in our modern world, but we, too, need real rest and dormancy. We need time to relax, feel, integrate, and restore, not only our biological being, but also our minds and hearts. Healing cannot be rushed.
Too often in our culture, wellness is associated only with diet and exercise, a paradigm that can drive us to conform to an externalized unattainable image of “health,” rather than a feeling of joy and vitality that comes from inside. While vigorous asana practice has many real and immediate benefits, we need yoga’s quieting, internal, meditative practices just as much.
In deep rest, we shift into the parasympathetic nervous system. We become more able to respond with awareness. Our approach to life becomes adaptive, informed, creative, rather than reactive. Pain and inflammation decrease, our blood pressure, metabolism, sleep cycles and hormones have a chance to re-balance. Our cellular structures cleanse and rebuild. Our emotions become more stable, tranquil. We discover the sacred clarity and grace that was there all the time, veiled behind the stress and fatigue of our busy minds. Yoga is a practical path of moving inward towards this quietude and a balanced, happy life.
As we come to a close of this year and prepare to enter a new decade, at this pivotal, potent time on the planet earth, I hope you find ample time to rest, reflect, recenter. May we discover again and again the guiding light within.
Yoga for the Hibernation Season
by Avery Kalapa