Our first week back after the new year, I read this poem by ullie-Kaye in class. So many people wanted to have it available, I decided to include it in my blog post for the month…
piece of fire.
i have no new expectations for the year ahead. just let me live the way that i know best. let me feel the earth on my feet and rejoice that i am still standing. let me listen to the waves of the sea and find peace in knowing that the tides always return to wash over me. let me dream about sunsets that are not promised and skies that are not always blue. let me make love to conversations that bring me closer to knowing myself and closer to believing in something much bigger than the four square walls of my own chest. and let me rest. oh lord, let me rest. and should i be so blessed to have this place where i can grow, let me remember to give more than i receive. to listen more than i speak. and to understand that everyone is searching for a little piece of fire. may i take part in building that.
It seems like so many of us still need permission to simply be. Winter is a natural time of folding into ourselves, and our daily, long stretches of darkness here in Bellingham lend themselves to spending more time at home, inside, cosy and warm.
In Ayurveda we are in the season of vata. This means cold and dry, which can result in feeling ungrounded, with scattered thoughts and potentially anxiety. The medicine to balance this excess of vata are practices that promote steadying, warming, slowing down, and getting quiet. Vata is soothed by regular schedules for sleep and eating. Lean into foods that are rich in protein and fat, and have sweet, sour or salty taste. Avoid dehydrated or cold foods. Be sure to include plenty of liquids, as you’ll need that extra juiciness to combat the dry air, inside and outside.
Here are five more practices to calm the vata mood:
Sleep more. Deep sleep will allow you to heal your whole self. It’s already dark outside, so go ahead and get in bed early. It’s said that the hours of sleep before midnight are more beneficial than those after. Ayurveda suggests you are asleep by 10pm to catch the good sleep wave.
Take a bath. Soaking in warm or hot water is relaxing already. Why not make it even more nourishing by adding essential oils, epsom salts, candles or even music to your bathing ritual? Keep the lights low, for sure, to discourage visitors and increase your sense of ease.
Enjoy warm drinks. For relaxation, stay away from caffeine and overly sweet drinks. Herbal teas can soothe and relax you. Some go-to calming herbs are camomile, lavender, valerian, passion flower and ashwaganda. Avoid those last few if you are pregnant, but otherwise, enjoy holding the warm cup, watching the steam rise, and caring for yourself with the earth’s gifts.
Receive a massage. Healing touch can soothe your entire self – the physical aches and tightness can find ease, your mind and nervous system relax, and you can connect more readily with the subtle parts of yourself that get closed off when you’re stressed. Consider calling on one of the amazing practitioners at Veritas, right here in the studio. If you prefer self-massage, look into abyanga, the ayurvedic warm-oil massage you can give yourself at home. Watch this short video to learn more.
Practice Restorative Yoga. This can be a very simple practice, such as lying on the floor and elevating your legs on a chair, or taking them up the wall. Make your practice space soft, warm and quiet. Don’t pretend you can relax in the middle of your busy household. You can deepen your experience by covering your eyes. For a fully supported practice, come to my Restorative class at 3 Oms, 5:30 on Thursdays.
Beyond being granted permission to slow down and do less, it’s highly recommended! You don’t need to wait to get a cold to take more time to nurture yourself. In these inward months, in these introverted practices, you may come upon emotional or mental material that you dropped off last summer. This could be an excellent time to explore, in a supportive, confidential environment. Consider scheduling a Yoga Therapy session. Contact me to learn more about this deeply nourishing practice.
Meanwhile, get your cosy on! Pull out the comforting blankets, the favorite teas and dim the lights. It’s time to draw in and rebuild.
Cat has completed over 800 hours of training, and is a Certified Yoga Therapist. She is deeply committed to yoga as a holistic path to freedom and joy, and feels blessed to have studied with many senior teachers including the Iyengars. Her classes begin with spiritual philosophy and pranayama to support the exploration of asana. In her teaching Cat brings precision to the physical practice and devotion to the spiritual and philosophical components of yoga. Her intention in teaching is to help students to see themselves authentically, with compassion and patience.
Click here to learn more about Cat and see her teaching schedule.