winter solstice yoga

“You are what your deepest want is.
As your want is, so is your intention.
As your intention is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed, so is your future. "
–The Upanishads

The new photo voltaic 12 months is simply across the nook because the earth begins to face the solar once more, signifying the completion of one other life cycle earlier than the arrival of spring. For hundreds of years, the winter solstice has been celebrated around the globe. The shortest day of the 12 months is acknowledged as a return to the sunshine, a return to innocence. a rebirth on the wheel of life as the large world goes on turning.

This non secular homecoming has became what we in western cultures know as December 25th Christmas. Long earlier than that, the pagan competition of Saturnalia had marked the start of winter, as had the birthday of the “invincible” solar god Sol Invictus throughout the golden age of the Roman Empire. In historic Egypt, January sixth was first acknowledged as a winter competition, which was later adopted by Christianity because the Epiphany.

At the current time, this standstill on December 21st coincides with the beginning of the Capricorn season in astrology. During this cycle, we’re invited to realign ourselves with our targets and beliefs as we glance to the approaching New Year – regardless of the chaos of the vacation season when the calendar turns. Capricorn is symbolized by the weird sea goat paradox, proof of the enduring vitality of this formidable however grounded earth signal. The Capricorn, dominated by Saturn, the tough instructor planet identified in astrological lore as "Father Karma", reminds us that whereas it’s okay to have lofty goals and nice visions, it’s okay to have nice goals and nice visions too Reality should be rooted.

By setting intentions for the winter solstice, we are able to clear them up throughout the Capricorn season and past. As we set the framework for our plans, we’re constructing a pathway that illuminates the trail via the darkness of winter and guides us into our brightest future. By frequently refining our targets, a willingness to know that errors shall be made and that we may have to vary course, intentions are little stepping stones that information us like a compass to our highest potential. An intention is the start line of a dream; What makes the unconscious acutely aware. It is the artistic drive that fulfills the wishes of our coronary heart, be it profession or relationships, cash or materials issues, private or non secular development. In essence, an intention is a revelation in motion. Aha!

Similar to our yoga practices, our intentions are at all times in flux – and alter from second to second. Through the ritual of follow, the intentions we set in movement inevitably grow to be second nature as outdated layers, habits, and selves fall away on this nice decipherment to self; our truest nature. And like a seed, an intention should be planted, nurtured, and made affected person. But an intention can’t develop if we maintain on to it – it should be launched externally with the intention to make itself identified to the universe.

Activate your New Year intentions by turning inward and awakening your internal fireplace. by studying to see within the proverbial darkness. Imagine the winter solstice because the fourth and remaining motion of your 2017 Life Symphony and take a look at these six yoga circuits: a sequence of dynamic core-propelled sequences to develop your follow. Synchronize your breath with a motion that’s highly effective and intuitive. Go slowly and let go of what now not serves you so you’ll be able to clear the slate for no matter comes your approach.

SEQ I. Ancient eye activation

Movement: Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward canine) has been divided into excessive lunge variations.

Extend your entrance leg to lift your arms above your head and lookup on the sky. Bend via your entrance knee once more and let go of your arms outward on both facet to look into the longer term. Repeat, then straighten your again arms once more and return to the excessive lunge. Rotate the navel in direction of the backbone. Put your left hand down and attain your proper hand up.

Optional: Place your proper palm behind your neck and lean into it for assist in order that extra space can move into your coronary heart. Bring your arms down to border the forefoot, then step again on Downward Dog Split earlier than reducing your foot to modify sides.

SEQ II. Pyramid Force

Movement: Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose) variations to discover the hips and hamstrings with buoyancy.

Twist into a large stance and fold ahead, then cross your left elbow over your proper and rotate your internal elbows outward. Twist your heels out and in. Root to Stand Up: Bend your knees and keep an extended backbone as you look ahead. Grind into your fingertips and ankle balls and acquire earthly vitality.

Optional: transfer your arms to the forefoot earlier than switching sides, or transfer your arms all the best way to the left to border the rear foot and get to the opposite facet.

SEQ III. Rising of the Phoenix

Movement: Utkatasana (chair posture) tied to warrior variations.

Sit deep and dive ahead, sweeping your arms behind the sacrum, crossing your fingers and pulling the heels of your palms nearer collectively. Lift it midway, then switch your weight onto your proper foot. Wrap the again of the left hand over the proper facet of the waist with the arms nonetheless clasped.

Root to Stand Up: Bring your left knee to 90 levels to lift, then step again right into a excessive lunge along with your arms at your proper waist. Use your left forearm as a shelf to assist your decrease again for a slight bend. Lift your self excessive via the center, then with the again of your left palm, carry your hips to the left and open your arms huge in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II). Reaching as much as Flying Warrior along with your arms, straighten your legs, after which decrease to bend your entrance knee once more.

Reaching up first after which backward and lifting via the center for Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior). Windmill shifting arms ahead for assisted Virabhadrasana III, fingertips to earth. Spine elongates; Kern is busy. Use your breath to carry your knee in direction of your nostril. Root to Stand Up: Return to standing, then sink again into Utkatasana to organize for the opposite facet.

SEQ IV. Fly like an eagle

Movement: High lunge on the proper facet when elevating and reducing to Garundasana (eagle pose).

Eagles wrap arms (left over proper) as they increase and decrease. Stabilize your hips and transfer ahead like an eagle. Bring the knee to the nostril and the foundation to face up. The left knee rises 90 levels.

Slowly descend in Garundasana and wrap the left leg over the proper. Relax and ship your left foot again, holding your coronary heart up. Land in a excessive lunge and untangle your arms above you. If at first you don't succeed, bear in mind: repetition is a chance to attempt once more. Switch sides.

SEQ V. Center of the cyclone

Movement: Variations from Natarajasana (dancer pose) to half moon (Ardha Chandrasana).

Shift your weight into your proper foot and lift your left knee 90 levels. Stabilize your self and swing your foot again to reach in Natarajasana. the calm of a warrior in the course of the storm. Activate the standing leg quadriceps to bend the knee. Bend your knee slightly extra and bend your coronary heart ahead.

Extend your torso and the hinge on the waist additional to decrease your fingertips to the bottom. Hold your left foot or ankle in place and twist your chest up for chapasana (cane pose). Open to Ardha Chandrasana. Supported Warrior III sq. hips activated by the information of all ten fingers because the breath guides the knee again in direction of the nostril. Root for getting up: return to a standing place.

Optional: Swing your foot again and repeat the method, observing what you discovered alongside the best way. You may simply shock your self. Switch sides.

SEQ VI. open Sesame

Movement: A core strengthening transition from Downward Dog to Camatkarasana (Wild Thing).

Out and in, open and shut. In a excessive plank place, hover your hips in step with your low ribs. Take the pose out of your torso and prop it via your stomach wall into your legs. Discover a slight knee flexion. Feel bouncy and limitless. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and shift your weight into your proper hand, stack your hips and twist the underside of the decrease proper ribs beneath, elongate via the crown and step into vasisthasana (facet plank). Stop, then step again with the ball of your left foot and bend via the leg as your left hand goes up towards the sky. Embody your internal rock star.

Optional: Place your left palm behind your neck and lean in for assist as you provide your coronary heart's wishes to the universe. Keeping your proper shoulder regular over your proper wrist, press it into all 4 corners of every palm. Turn round and return to Downward Dog. Repeat on the opposite facet.

Rest now Open the doorways to internal consciousness and sharing. Reconnect along with your reserves and rejuvenate as you put together for partying and hibernation.

Photography and video by Beth Kessler

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Andrea Rice is a author and yoga instructor. Her work has additionally been printed within the New York Times, Yoga Journal, NY Yoga + Life, SONIMA, mindbodygreen, and different on-line publications. Connect with Andrea on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and her web site.

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