Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is an opportune time to restore to your very foundation. In the traditions of China and Japan, the solstice is an important day because it is when the chi in our bodies recedes to its deepest levels. In this way, the body resides in a place of the deepest yin.
Yin and Yang represent the fundamental forces in the natural world and within our bodies. Being yin is to sink into your roots as if sinking into the earth. This should be nourishing, however given that winter is cold, we need to find balance by eating heartier foods and doing practices that help gather inwardly.
In your yoga practice, focus on a sequence that restores your kidney vitality. Include forward bends, gentle backbends and a slow flow of standing poses.
One of my favorite recipes for this time of year is my Creamy Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup. This dish will help you center inward and replenish the deep yin. The golden hues in this soup cast a glow of warm light on this shortest day of the year.
- In order to nurture your true yin on this Winter Solstice I recommend the following:
- Rest deeply and go to bed as early as you can.
- Practice Restorative Yoga gathering and storing chi in your lower dantien. As you drop deeply into yourself
you will avoid depleting your active yang chi and support your nervous system to rest.
- Include Yin nourishing foods in your diet, in particular dark/purple foods such as black beans, aduki beans, lentils, seaweeds, kelp, blueberries, black berries, goji berries, millet and barely grains, coconut milk, red potato, sweet potato, fish and the sea food family.
- Lastly, create a meaningful routine that allows you to slow down and reflect. This could include walking in nature, writing in your journal, meditation, listening to soothing music, resting with breath awareness in savasana, or taking soothing baths using essential oils— lavender, sage, rose or spruce.
May your Winter Solstice be the day of the year you restore your bones and revitalize your essence.