This is the time of year when the trees draw their energy deep into their core, and the scarlet, gold and russet leaves carpet the earth. The squirrels collect nuts and berries for their winter store, and the small creatures seek the comfort of warm hiding places. The nights lengthen, the mist thickens, and we become aware of the closing of the year. This is a beautiful time of clarity and stillness, and we turn our attention inwards to consider our lives and where we are going next. We may decide we need to challenge ourselves to learn new skills, to become stronger, more flexible, and more confident in our physical bodies. But equally, we might realise that meditation and mindfulness might bring us what we most need - stillness, focus, and a quietening of the mind.
This seasonal contemplation may bring you to yoga, as a good yoga practice helps you discover all these aspects of yourself. Yoga brings the mind and body together with the breath, encouraging us to keep our awareness in the present moment. The physical side of the practice brings many benefits such as strength, flexibility, better balance, joint health and increased immunity, but yoga is more than just an exercise! Yoga also means meditation and gentle practices that help you feel calm, centred and empowered.
As you contemplate the new year, consider how you can best develop and strengthen your body, mind and spirit. Seek new ways to start your day, exploring an early morning practice. Try varying your meditation practice by experimenting with the moving meditation of Qi Gong or Tai Chi. Discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in your every day life. Develop your physical practice by challenging yourself to learn new postures and new styles. Rise above limitations with Gentle or Chair based yoga - there truly are no limits to what you can do. If you can dream it in the deep midwinter, you can achieve it!